Interview with John Carrington

John Carrington is a telecommunications pioneer and business developer. His career began at the GPO (General Post Office) in 1967 and included positions as PA to the chairman and Deputy Head of the Finance Function for Post Office Telecommunication Internatioal.

He joined BT in 1979 as Director of Commercial Strategy and became the first MD of BT’s cellular project in May 1983, which led to Cellnet being launched in 1985 as one of the UK’s first mobile phone networks.

Cellnet’s early success convinced John to promote the need to work with European operators on a Pan European cellular standard and in 1987 John was a signatory of a four-way inter-governmental agreement which led to the European cellular GSM standard.

Soon after we started work on what became Cellnet we realised that the phone in your hand was going to be as important as the phone in your car and were the first people in the world to build a network which would take and deal with hand portable telephones

Leaving BT in 1989, John joined Cable and Wireless to head up their bid for a new personal communications cellular licence. The company, founded by John as CEO after getting a licence, launched in January 1993 as Mercury One2One.

In 1995, John left Cable and Wireless to join his friend Mo Ibrahim at Mobile Systems International (MSI), where he spent four years as Group Managing Director.

He has since developed a portfolio career, involved with a number of companies, mostly start-ups, helping them to develop and then find an exit.

John is now retired and is Chairman of AIT’s Board of Trustees.

Interview conducted by Alan Crane on 28 September 2016 at the WCIT.