Spitfire Aims High

Spitfire Aims High


Spitfire began life as a one-man enterprise when Justin Orde established the company in 1988 selling fax machines and mobile phones from home. Today the company has an annual turnover of £12 million and employs 70 staff. The company is also one of only 29 CPS (Carrier Pre Selection) network operators in the UK and is also an ISP with membership of LINX – the London Internet Exchange. Few independent voice and data solution suppliers can claim such a standing in the industry.

The drive to become a top tier network operator and major ISP as well as a phone system vendor has come

from Justin Orde’s conviction that you must be a part of the industry at the highest levels if you are to have any control over events. To this end Justin sits on a number of industry committees and was recently made co-chair of the BT Openreach Mass Market Communications Group. He is also on the board of the Federation of Communications Services and Ofcom’s Network Interoperability Consultative Committee.

Committee work is never a thrill but it does mean Spitfire punches above its weight in an industry dominated by rapid technological change. Changes in technology also mean that the economics of the industry change rapidly, so it pays to understand how the telecoms industry is being shaped. Tom Fellowes, Sales Director for Spitfire confirms this “Being a CPS Operator means we are buying at regulated interconnect prices. But it also means we understand what is happening in the carrier network market and have some input into the decision making.”

To reflect the range of services offered by the company the Spitfire Technology Group is structured into three operating businesses: Spitfire Network Services Ltd which provides carrier network services and Internet connections; Spitfire Digital Networks Ltd designs and supplies voice and data networks, including phone systems produced by a number of leading manufacturers; Spitfire Telecommunications Ltd is a 24/7 support and maintenance provider for telephony and data networks.

Through these operating divisions Spitfire Technology Group can supply a comprehensive service for customers, that extends from designing and implementing a telephony and data communications network to providing line rental and call billing, with complete after sales technical support and customer service.

For voice and data communications Spitfire Digital Networks partners with a number of leading vendors to provide customers with the best and most cost effective solution for their business communications needs. In the data arena Spitfire is a Microsoft Solutions Provider and Cisco Premier Partner. For telephony Spitfire supplies, installs and maintains phone systems manufactured by Avaya, Nortel and Panasonic.

Based in Vauxhall, central London, Spitfire has many national account customers but focuses its attention on the SME market in the London region. “Lots of vendors talk about the SME market when they mean 50 employees and above, but we are genuinely interested in the small business with half a dozen employees and call billing of £200 a month.We can really help these companies with a full package of services they may not have considered such as a Blackberry wireless solution for sales staff. That’s where the breadth and depth of our expertise comes into its own”, says Tom.

One of the reasons that Spitfire added Nortel to its product portfolio in 2003 was to meet the needs of SMEs. “There are an incredible number of legacy Norstar systems out in the market and being able to offer a Nortel product migration path to those customers can be crucial to making a sale, because they can retain handsets and other investment in the original system. Plus the Nortel BCM offers excellent VoIP features at an affordable price”, Tom explains.

As a result Spitfire achieved top Nortel reseller status for 2005 from Crane Telecommunications with Spitfire selling more Nortel BCM phone systems than any other Crane Telecommunications partner.

When asked how both Spitfire and the market are developing Tom replies, “There is no doubt that we are moving towards IP telephony and BT’s 21CN programme for an IP based telephony network is proof of that. Helping customers move towards converged VoIP solutions that meet enterprise performance standards will be our greatest challenge over the next five years. To do that we need good people with the skills and work ethic to match the dedication of the existing Spitfire team. That is our greatest challenge and anybody who wants to develop their career with a converged solution supplier in central London should contact me”.


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