Iristel and Ice Wireless Create 'New Era of Competition' to End Digital Divide in Canada
In a significant announcement this week, Iristel and Ice Wireless officially plan to end the last telephone monopoly in Northern Canada with the release of their latest partnership.
Together, the two companies plan to create a ‘new era of competition’ in the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut to ease the issue of the digital divide by expanding the range of telecommunciations and Internet services available in these areas.
By joining forces, ICE and Iristel will provide a viable bundled communications solution to Canada's northern communities for a range of telephony services. According to Iristel, the company 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.
"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."
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 (News - Alert) 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, according to a recent release.
A major shareholder in ICE, Iristel is one of the largest VoIP service providers in Canada and will now be competing with Northwestel in a range of telephone services including VoIP and wholesale long distance. Additionally, thanks to new 3G data services, Ice Wireless' network is set to expand in the coming months across the North and compete with Bell Mobility in larger residing communities.
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 addition to their combined cellular service, 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.
Edited by Juliana Kenny