Northwestel has announced it is transferring its cellphone business to Bell Mobility early next year.

"We're moving out of the cellular business and letting Bell Mobility take more of a leadership role in northern Canada," said Curtis Shaw, vice-president of marketing at Northwestel.

This past summer Telus Mobility announced it would be entering the cellphone market in Whitehorse and Yellowknife.

In Yukon, Northwestel owns Latitude Wireless in partnership with Dakwakada Development Corporation, the development arm of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nation. 

"There was a change in economic conditions in terms of the business that we had," said Paul Gruner, Dakwakada's general manager. "We evaluated that at the board level and we felt that this time was the appropriate time to exit from the wireless space."

Shaw says Northwestel and Latitude Wireless mobile customers will keep their current price plans and phone numbers under Bell Mobility.

Northwestel says it has no plans to transfer its other services — landlines, internet and cable TV — to Bell.