Telus set to bring competition to Northern telecom
Northwestel's monopoly faces a challenge in Yukon and NWT
Telus Mobility announced this week that it will provide 4G wireless service in Yellowknife and Whitehorse with plans to expand into smaller communities.
The company claims it will offer the same rates it offers in Southern Canada.
Previously Telus and Northwestel had a roaming agreement which allowed Telus customers to use their phones while visiting the north.
The new announcement means that NWT and Yukon residents will be able to register local numbers with a new company and avoid Northwestel altogether.
‘Competition improves quality’ says entrepreneur
Meanwhile there are also signs of competition among smaller carriers.
Ice Wireless, a northern subsidiary of Ontario-owned Iristel is returning to the Yukon after retreating in 2007.
The company will offer cell service and wireless products in Whitehorse starting September 30th.
Cameron Zubko is the chief operating officer at Ice Wireless and welcomes the newer competitive marketplace.
"Ice wireless looks forward to competing with Telus. It'll keep everyone on their toes to have more network coverage in the North and we think that's a good thing. Competition improves quality of service and drives new growth for customers," Zubko said.
Some customers are likely to welcome the change and others are skeptical and waiting to see what’s offered.
Andrew Robulack is a tech consultant in Whitehose and no fan of Northwestel.
While he has issues with the existing telecom, he says Telus will have to prove it’s providing a better product.
"It's just another option, which is great if you get mad at Bell or Latitude if they want another option to go to but in terms of savings or additional quality, there's nothing new coming," he said.
Northwestel is a subsidiary of Bell Canada and this year announced a large-scale plan to modernize its infrastructure.
In early June the company appeared before the CRTC in Inuvik, NWT and Whitehorse to discuss telecom issues across the North.
- A previous version of this story incorrectly attributed technology consultant Andrew Robulack with creating a Facebook page critical of Northwestel.Aug 29, 1970 7:37 AM CT