Three Companies Join Forces to Bring 3G Cellular Network to Canada’s Far North

Ice Wireless and Iristel this week announced a partnership with Huawei Canada to enter into a multi-year, multi-million contract to provide 3G cellular services to rural and remote communities in the Northwest Territories, Yukon Territories and Nunavut.

The agreement was signed at Huawei’s Wireless Research and Development facility in Shanghai, China, and was witnessed by NWT Premier Bob McLeod.

“Providing all people of the Northwest Territories with better telecommunications infrastructure is a priority for this government,” said Premier McLeod. “Better access to advanced cellular services and broadband Internet will enhance our competitiveness, create higher value-added jobs and make new business models possible.”

Presently, residents of the three territories of Northern Canada have the lowest availability and highest costs for telecommunications services in the country. According to a recent report by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission, only 66% of the North has access to wireless Internet and just 48% has access to 3G cellular services, compared to 99% access in the rest of the country. 

“We are excited to be part of the government’s mission to bridge the digital divide for the Northwest Territories,” said Samer Bishay, President and CEO of both Ice Wireless and Iristel. “Connecting the North with the rest of Canada opens up a world of possibilities. We aim to ensure rural and remote households, businesses and community organizations in the North have access to prices and service that are fast, affordable, and every bit as good as those enjoyed by the rest of Canada, if not better.”

The network upgrade and expansion by Ice Wireless-Iristel, powered by state-of-the-art Huawei networking equipment, will improve 3G and wireless broadband services to 60,659 people across the three territories, and provide access to services that were previously unavailable to local residents. 

“We are very pleased to be working with Ice Wireless-Iristel,” says Huawei Canada President Sean Yang. “The North continues to be one of Canada’s most exciting regions for development and opportunity. We look forward to working with Ice Wireless-Iristel to provide residents and business customers of Canada’s North with the world’s most advanced wireless broadband technology.”

Established in 2005, Ice Wireless is a telephone and internet company that provides service to rural and remote communities in northern Canada. 

Established in 1999, Iristel was granted a carrier license by the CRTC in 2000 and is one of Canada’s VoIP service providers with a coast-to-coast network.