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NTA: 20 years running, and here’s to the next 20 years! How it began

In November 2001, Nationwide Telephone Assistance was established. Created by Paul White, NTA has grown from strength to strength over the past 20 years. The vision for NTA was to create cloud based products and services that were designed to be easy to manage and more importantly – easy to sell.

Back in the early 2000s, as hosted technology came into its own, so did we. We began developing a service with the vision of creating a cloud based telephony platform. Paul decided to call phone lines SIP Co-Lines – as you can probably guess, the name never took off but SIP Trunking did. In the early days, creating VoIP products was an uphill battle as traditional phone companies simply didn’t see the vision of cloud based telephony. This struggle eventually led to the now common staple of hosted handset technology.

In 2005, we began applying for our own number ranges, becoming one of the few companies that offered this and bringing us that bit closer from the transition of reseller to provider. This allowed us to provide customers with more freedom and flexibility to have and choose numbers based on aesthetics. We began building a platform from the ground up using a cloud based solution that would include all of the traditional features of ISDN lines without taking up the space. It was vital that the system was built to withstand the vast amount of connections with both high uptime and reliability.

The next step was to build the networks. Ten years ago, we proudly became an ISP. This gave us the opportunity to own our own IP ranges and peer with other networks. Owning our networks was the final step to becoming a true cloud based network and the transition between reseller to provider.

In 2012, we took the final step for our reseller network by becoming truly white label. Not only could we offer a branded portal, we were also able to brand hardware in-house. This allowed our partners of all shapes and sizes to have access to white labelled products with no minimum order at a competitive price.

Our 20 year philosophy

By providing partners with white labelling, they are able to present a product and service as their own. On the surface this may seem unimportant. However, by white labelling products it allows partners to better position themselves in a competitive market. By selling a known brand product you place yourself amongst thousands of businesses of all sizes with the exact same product. Businesses then place themselves (obviously with help of the internet) in the lineup for a price comparison war – and let’s face it, there will always be someone cheaper. To compete you must deplete your margins, but what if the product was your own? By branding your product, you take yourself away from being another me-too/same product. Not only are the products branded but they have a layer of extra functionality that works directly with your hosted network. Potential customers are able to take so much more from your business, rather than price. It’s quite simple, really.

It’s not really about how many years NTA has been around, it’s more about the businesses we’ve helped along the way. NTA has come a long way from being a reseller to a provider. A large part of our journey has been creating and providing services we wish we had as a reseller, whilst setting an example and becoming the provider we always wished we had. That’s why we always aim to be more than just a telecommunications provider and be an innovative and technology based company that does things differently. Our focus is to fully support our partners businesses with a behind the scenes, fully white labelled approach. We aimed to provide unparalleled customer support through in-house technical, development, sales, training and marketing teams, focusing on all areas of business growth.

Where are we now?

With the future comes new challenges and hurdles and as our industry is ever changing and evolving, so must we. Paul sees newer challenges for partners including offering competitive pricing on hardware due to online shopping and comparisons sites, whilst also being able to create reasonable profit margins; “White labelling products allows partners to stand a much better chance in positioning themselves competitively in a vertical market. Selling named products can assure customers that they are purchasing something reliable, however they are then directly competing with the rest of the world due to online shopping and other resellers selling exactly the same handsets. By adding your own name to the product, you have installed extra confidence in the sale. The first 3 rules of selling are; Sell yourself, the company and then the product. We have made this even easier, sell yourself, your company and you are the product.”

NTA’s biggest challenge?

Paul states that one of our biggest challenges over the past twenty years has been the rate of expansion in the industry; “Coping with an ever expanding market is a must. We designed our systems and platforms to handle anything the industry throws at us and the rate in which VoIP is growing – including the big switch off. We’ve spent 9 years expanding the wholesale and technology market and we don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.”

What are NTA’s current priorities and how have they changed over the years?

Our priority has always been our partners, even from the transition from reseller to a provider, the question has always been, “How can we make things better?” The aim of NTA has always been to become the provider we wish we’d had, making things easier and sharing our network rather than advertising the ownership of our services. Paul says, “I can’t think of anything worse than a reseller doing all the hard work getting the customer to sign up with a product or service, to then have the end-user go direct or to another reseller within 5 minutes of searching the product or service online. With the power of the web, you can find out who else supplies the same product or service as the one you lovingly spent time selling to them.”

How do you keep the brand upfront whilst supplying white label?

Paul says, “It’s hard, but it’s about the quality and reliability of our services and products. If our partners look good, then so do we – regardless of whether they’re waving the NTA flag.”
By allowing our partners to put their brand first, our brand speaks for itself through reputation and reliability. If our partners can grow independently from our brand they set themselves apart from the competition. This lets them grow their business and acknowledge their successes as their own – and rightly so.

What have been the most significant changes?

Paul explains, “Having the right people. The right team means you’ll always get the right results. From the start, NTA has always been made by the employees. From old employees to new and the average time an employee spends working with us is 9.5 years, having the right people on the job has helped, even those who have moved onto other things in life. We’ve been grateful that they’ve been part of our journey. You never get it right all the time but you try your best to. We’re always trying to create something exciting.”

What’s the next big thing?

Due to the pandemic, a large portion of technology has been driven forward. Many businesses suffered at the hands of the pandemic – but the communications industry, not so much. The Telecom industry has boomed both during lockdown and after, “Solutions that were never really as popular as they should have been have now thrived and become a staple for many businesses. This has allowed us to step up and make features such as video conferencing, available to as many people as possible. That’s been the biggest thing. The Most obvious ‘Next Big Thing’ is the big shutdown. The ISDN shutdown seems so much closer and has happened much more rapidly than expected due to the pandemic.”

Exploring new technology and solutions is always important but companies are soon going to be expected to make that as widely available to as many people as possible. The next big thing is to make sure that the UK demand is going to be covered in excess, reliable and most importantly, widely available to everyone.

“It’s been an interesting 20 years and some of the stuff we’re doing now, we never would have dreamt of doing. When you feel like it can’t get any better, it just does. If it carries on the way it’s going, lots of ‘new’ technology will really excel and progress in the coming years and become the norm.

Who knows what happens next, but for NTA it’s onwards and upwards. There’s just so much to do… “

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Technology Reseller Magazine & Site is Published by Kingswood Media 2022