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MITEL Telecom is a company that designs, manufactures, and also sells, installs and maintains business telephone systems.

They serve both the United Kingdom and export markets from their UK headquarters building near Newport in South Wales.

MITEL's Early Days
MITEL was founded in Canada in 1973 when two expatriate British engineers, Terry Matthews and Mike Cowpland,  founded a small electronics company. From this came a tone-to-pulse converter and other devices for the telecommunications industry.

Sales expanded rapidly in Canada and the USA, and MITEL (as the company was called) turned its attention to the Private Automatic Branch Exchange, the switchboard system at the heart of any company's communications with its customers and suppliers.

It was clear to MITEL that existing switchboards were antiquated, with rigid designs that prevented the addition of new features. Communications were therefore slow, affecting efficiency, and ultimately profit. So in 1978, MITEL designed the revolutionary SX-200 Super-Switch to answer these problems and to provide companies with a way forward.

One of the first problems that needed to be overcome was the lack of suitable semiconductor devices to meet the design objectives. So MITEL bought a Canadian I.C. manufacturer and designed its own. MITEL Semiconductor produces integrated circuits in a proprietary process (called ISO-CMOS) that allows higher operating speeds, reduced power consumption and a greater capacity for telecommunications functions.

MITEL's growth following the development of the SX-200 has been staggering. The annual turnover of MITEL Corporation, of which MITEL Telecom was a wholly-owned subsidiary, had risen from 6 million to 576 million. Employee numbers had  also risen, from just 370 to over 4,000.

At this point MITEL had sold in excess of 180,000 PBX systems in over 80 countries, more than any other PBX manufacturer. The Company's R&D organisation, as well as its manufacturing facilities in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, have been ISO registered, having met the stringent quality standards set out by the International Standards Organisation of Geneva, Switzerland.

MITEL Telecom also registered to BS5750 parts 1 and 2 and BABT 340 quality standards.

MITEL in the UK
In 1980, MITEL began producing telephone systems for the UK. At this time British Telecom (BT) had a monopoly of the market, so the systems were sold through them. Called the Viceroy, Kinsman and Regent (SX10, SX20 & SX200), these  systems proved to be very popular. So popular that in 1986, they presented BT with their 10,000th Kinsman.

Since 1983, with the liberalisation of telecommunications, MITEL has sold systems, both through other distributors and directly to the end user. So now over 40,000 businesses in the UK profit from the benefits of a MITEL telephone system.

MITEL's 1990's product range
The MITEL PABX range consists of the following systems:

The SX-50 is a digital system that caters for up to 160 extensions, 32 exchange lines and 24 private circuits. All contained in a single, wall-mounted cabinet. The operator console features a display for call information and messages, in plain English. The system also supports digital Superset Featurephones.

The SX-2000 with it's distributed design, is based on a PC tower and a modular architecture interconnected by fibre cables, the SX-2000 has been designed to offer unprecedented flexibility. Advanced feature packages include options for digital (DPNSS) networking, least cost routing, data communications and much more. Special application packages for the hotel industry, Automatic Call Distribution, and data environments. The colour-screen based console allows unsurpassed call handling efficiency and can even be used for system administration including moves and changes.

In addition to standard telephones, the SX-2000 supports the Superset 3, 4, 6, 7, 700, 7000 and the Superset 400 & 4000 series of digital telephones. From the digital 2B+D single line set upwards, the range includes the most advanced digital Featurephones available.

Mitel's 2000 - 2006 product range

The 3100 IP telephone system was introduced which superseded the Imagination and Kontact ranges.  This was a system with keysystem functionality.

Soon after this the 3300 IP telephone system was introduced and this superseded the earlier 3200 IP system, which was an interim IP system.  The 3300 has all the functionality of the SX2000 and in 2006 a new cabinet was introduced which gave  the 3300 hardware redundancy.

Around 2005, the 3100 was dropped from the Mitel portfolio and was superseded by the 3300.  The 3300 range now has many variants to suit many sizes of business.

Taken from Mitel sales literature and amended to include new equipment ranges.

Click here for a year by year history

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Last revised: November 28, 2010