A brief history of Gamma: 20 milestones in 20 years

You may think that the telecoms industry is about phones, cables, networks. At Gamma, we believe communication starts with people.

If there’s one thing we’ve learnt over the past twenty years, it’s that what we do would not matter without the people who ideate, create, market, distribute and consume our solutions.

As it turns out, telecommunications is all about the relationships it enables. We’ve decided to take a look back at the past 20 years, and at how people have come together to make Gamma the leading provider of Unified Communications (UC) it is today. Here are our 20 milestones over 20 years.

  1. 2001 – An idea comes to life

After years of working together, Phil Corbishley and Paul Banner completed the deal to create Gamma Telecom from the ashes of Atlantic Telecom in December 2001. It all started out by building a new national network of 2,500km of fibre together with switching centres in London, Manchester and Glasgow.

  1. 2002 – Traffic! (The good kind)

Within just one year of its 2001 formation, Gamma added a second London switch and became one of the first providers to offer wholesale line rentals. We carried our first traffic as Gamma in Easter 2002!

  1. 2003-2004 – Telia and Uniworld Communications acquisitions

2003 saw Gamma take over the UK reseller agreements of Swedish carrier Telia, adding some 100 switchless resellers. Acquisition was again on the agenda in 2004 with specialist reseller Uniworld Communications joining the fold, followed by a further five smaller businesses which were subsequently consolidated into Uniworld.

  1. 2006 – Communications with a conscience

Gamma declared its green credentials in 2006, becoming the country’s first carbon-neutral carrier and giving its resellers a unique differentiator in the marketplace. We’ve remained CarbonNeutral® certified since then and we’ve recently pledged to reach Net Zero by 2042. You can read all about it here.

  1. 2007 – New product alert

2007 saw the Inbound call management solution enter the market, giving smaller businesses full call centre-like call handling facilities. This was paired with highly flexible Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery capability, ensuring customers would never miss a call.

  1. 2008 – Creating opportunities

In a move designed to further increase its grip on the enterprise and government markets, Gamma formed a new division to work with large, high-value customers and public sector organisations. The year’s closing was marked by the signing of the company’s first MVNO agreement with mobile operator Three UK.

  1. 2010 – The big one billion

In 2010, Gamma deployed further upgrades to the network with the installation of infrastructure based around Ericsson’s cutting-edge TSS4 soft switch. The upgrade was timely as 2010 saw network voice minutes comfortably pass the one billion per month mark – setting a record – and saw business customer connections jump to more than 150,000.

  1. 2011 – A new Horizon

In 2011 Gamma launched its third-generation hosted communications platform, Horizon, putting converged fixed/mobile telephony within reach of any business. To this date, Horizon is an award-winning solution serving the UK business sector.

  1. 2013 – Reaching the top

In 2013, we officially became the number one SIP provider in the UK, with statistics published by industry research company Ovum.

  1. 2014 – Hello stock market

In a major step forward, Gamma floated the AIM stock market. Pretty much the business equivalent of getting your driver’s licence!

  1. 2017 – Need for speed

In 2017 and looking to the future, Gamma made a major investment in its national network to meet the growing demand for speeds up to 10Gbit/s from larger enterprises and the public sector. As part of this investment, we also took the opportunity to replace the fibre on its national network with a new arrangement with CityFibre which runs to 2042.

  1. 2018 – Welcomes and goodbyes

After 15 years at Gamma, CEO Bob Falconer retired from the Board of Directors and was replaced by Andrew Taylor as Gamma’s new CEO. Andrew stayed with Gamma until 2022, but we’ll get to that shortly!

  1. 2018 – Europe, here we come

Also in 2018 Gamma acquired DX Groep BV ‘Dean One’, a telecoms group in the Netherlands, to act as a focal point through which Gamma can broaden its geographic footprint and take products which have been successful in the UK into new markets.

As part of Dean One, Gamma also acquired Nimsys and Schiphol Connect. Nimsys is an IT specialist for workspaces, installing and managing IP networks for companies and business centres and provides broadband, VoIP and other ICT services to multi-tenancy buildings. Schiphol Connect is the telecom and internet provider at Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands, providing voice and broadband services to companies with an office in or around Schiphol.

  1. 2019 – Entering the UC space

In 2019, Gamma launched Horizon Collaborate, a complete UC collaborative experience based on the award-winning Horizon Hosted PBX.

  1. 2020 – Looking fresh

In January 2020, Gamma underwent a complete rebrand, with a new logo and graphics across all its offices and communications collateral. As a thriving, fast-growing company that puts its people and customers front and centre, the new brand aimed to establish Gamma as the go-to premium choice for all business communications. Gamma’s desire to expand its UCaaS presence in Europe and grow its family of businesses led the company into a new and exciting direction to take the company through the next decade and beyond as a leading-edge brand.

  1. 2020 – Expanding the family

The expansion into Europe was further realised in 2020 with the acquisition of VozTelecom, a cloud communications service provider in Spain. Primarily focused on the SME market, VozTelecom is one of the leading SIP Trunk and cloud PBX providers, offering fixed and mobile communications bundled with Internet access and cloud PBX.

In Germany, Gamma acquired HFO, one of the leading SIP Trunk and emerging Cloud PBX providers that has an excellent reputation for product quality and service. Headquartered in Oberkotzau, Bavaria, HFO operates nationwide in Germany through a reseller network of over 1,000 partners. Through its Epsilon brand, HFO is also a large B2B mobile distributor in Germany, offering mobile connections from all three major mobile network operators.

Also in 2020 Gamma acquired Cloud PBX provider gnTel BV, which is based primarily in the Netherlands and also has a small presence in Germany. The acquisition comes under the DX Groep in the Netherlands, which Gamma owns (and which includes “Dean One”, “Schiphol Connect” and “Nimsys”).

The same year, Gamma also acquired two UK companies, Exactive and Telsis.

  1. 2021 – One last addition (so far!)

In 2021, Gamma acquired Mission Labs, a well-established UCaaS technology business which has built a reputation for creating technologically advanced solutions and delivering great service to its customers and partners. This was a significant step forward in Gamma’s journey to be the leading UCaaS and CCaaS provider across key customer segments in the UK and European markets where the business operates.

  1. 2021 – Product launches galore

Also in 2021, Gamma launched a number of products to enhance its portfolio and meet the growing demands of its customers and partners. This included PhoneLine+, a single line phone solution for micro-businesses; Horizon Contact, a CCaaS solution for the SME and Enterprise markets; a new and improved version of Gamma Mobile, the company’s business-only mobile service; as well as SoGEA, a connectivity solution in response to the upcoming PSTN switch off.

In a major step forward in the market, Gamma was also chosen as one of a select group of operators on the Operator Connect for Microsoft Teams programme. This announcement strengthened the long-standing strategic partnership with Microsoft and hugely raised Gamma’s profile in the UK and, in time, Europe, as one of Microsoft’s key suppliers of telephony.

  1. 2021-2022 – Purple all around

Over the past two years, our family became a little more united as Dean One and gnTel became a fully Gamma-branded business, under the name of Gamma Communications Nederland, while HFO Telecom in Germany rebranded and renamed to Gamma Communications GmbH.

  1. 2022 – A new direction

Recently, the senior leadership team was strengthened with the addition of Bill Castell as Chief Financial Officer. Bill joined from OVO Energy and had previously worked for Virgin Media and Barclays Bank.

Meanwhile, Andrew Belshaw, Chief Financial Officer since the IPO in 2014, was promoted to Deputy Chief Executive, and subsequently to Interim CEO as Andrew Taylor stepped down from his role.

Chris Bradford also joined as Chief People Officer to lead the company’s people and engagement strategy, having previously worked on business transformation and organisation design programmes for Vodafone, Equinix, Aviva Investors and The British Olympic Association.

What next?

Unfortunately, our team couldn’t find a spare crystal ball to check what the future holds. What we know for certain is that whatever that is, we can count on our employees, customers and partners to accompany us on this journey.

Here’s to another 20 years of building relationships and enabling business communications across Europe.