Ice Wireless and Iristel partner to end North America's last telephone monopoly and expand cellular service in Canada's North
New era of competition dawns in Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut in bid to ease "digital divide"
YELLOWKNIFE, NT, May 28, 2012 /CNW/ - Ice Wireless and Iristel have joined forces to expand the range of telecommunications and Internet services available in the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut.
"Northwestel's monopoly is officially at an end," said Iristel President Samer Bishay, who was recently also named president of Ice Wireless. "We are proud to finally be able to give Northern Canadian residents a choice when it comes to their local phone company while at the same time launch an aggressive expansion of our cellular network across the North."
Mr. Bishay added that healthy competition will go a long way toward ending the so-called "digital divide" between Canada's northern communities and populated areas in the south. "Competition breeds innovation and choices for customers. Today's new cost-effective technology is changing the game and people in Canada's North will receive the benefits."
In the past, Northwestel has been the only option for residents of Northern Canada when it comes to their telephone provider. Northwestel is a Bell Canada subsidiary and has had a monopoly in the region for decades. However, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) recently ordered that other competitive telephone companies be allowed to enter the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut markets starting May 1, 2012.
Privately-held Iristel, which is a major shareholder in ICE, has been licensed by the CRTC as a carrier since 2000. It is one of the largest VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) service providers in Canada with a coast-to-coast network. Iristel will now be competing with Northwestel in a range of telephone services including VoIP and wholesale long distance.
Meanwhile, Ice Wireless' network is set to expand dramatically in the coming months across the North and compete aggressively with Bell Mobility. New data services will be rolled out, including high-speed 3G data, in the coming months and local cellular coverage will be expanded in larger communities.
Together, ICE and Iristel will provide a viable bundled communications solution to Canada's northern communities for a range of telephony services. Iristel has already received orders for more than a million monthly wholesale long distance minutes into Northwestel's service area which will be delivered via ICE's northern-based network. The two companies will also be offering VoIP phones for purchase and installation from Ice Wireless retail stores and other authorized dealers in Yellowknife by July 1, 2012 and in select markets by the end of the summer.
Established in 1999, Iristel Inc. ("Iristel") was granted a carrier license by the Canadian Radio-Television Commission (CRTC) in 2000 and is one of Canada's largest VoIP service providers with a coast-to-coast network. Iristel offers a complete portfolio of IP services in Canada, including hosted IP PBX, virtual faxing, virtual roaming, and global IP trunking products and services. For more information please visit www.iristel.ca.
Established in 1999, Ice Wireless ("ICE") is a telephone and internet company that provides service to rural and remote communities in northern Canada. ICE provides a full range of affordable and leading edge voice, video and data services, including GSM cellular, to Yellowknife, Inuvik, Hay River, Aklavik, Behchoko and Whitehorse. In terms of population, the Ice Wireless network covers 70% of the Northwest Territories and 78% of the Yukon. ICE cellular customers can use their phones across Canada through a roaming agreement with Rogers Wireless and Fido. For more information please visit www.icewireless.ca.For further information: