Iristel to launch wireless service in Eastern Quebec and Northern Ontario

Ice Wireless parent company Iristel is heading south with its new wireless offerings

Iristel is continuing its fight for a larger slice of Canada’s wireless market with the forthcoming launch of wireless service in Eastern Quebec and Northern Ontario.

The launch of wireless services is enabled by the acquisition of Quebec-based i-MobileCa and its licensed spectrum.

The acquisition will allow Iristel, parent company of northern carrier Ice Wireless, to offer 3G and 4G LTE wireless services under its own brand beginning June 2018.

Currently, i-MobileCa focuses on machine-to-machine applications, and has spectrum licenses covering Kirkland Lake, Ontario, and Easter Quebec in the Lower Saint Lawrence, the Gaspesie, the North Shore and certain areas of the Beauce.

“This is really exciting for us to provide excellent cellular services at better prices for both residents and industries in this huge region from Quebec City eastward,” said Iristel president and CEO Samer Bishay in a press statement.

“The big three wireless oligopolists have done their best to keep our competitive and innovative wireless operations contained in the North, but no more. This is just the beginning.”

Bishay’s comments refer to Iristel’s often tense dealings with the incumbent national providers, Telus, Bell and Rogers.

Most recently, Bishay attempted to operate Sugar Mobile as a backdoor Wi-Fi-first MVNO using a roaming agreement with Rogers, but that approach was ultimately shut down by Canada’s telecom regulator, even after it was referred back for reconsideration by the federal Minister of Innovation.

The spectrum owned by i-MobileCa covers an area with a population of 535,000, according to Iristel’s release.

The price of the acquisition was not revealed, but Iristel stated i-MobileCa founder Dr. Hing-Sang Hum will retain a “significant equity position” and remain chairman of i-MobileCa, while Bishay will assume the title of president and CEO of i-MobileCa.

“This is more than simply offering the latest smartphones,” Bishay stated in the release.

“With Dr. Hum’s medical expertise, we envision many other applications such as enhanced telemedicine services to people in remote areas of northeastern Quebec and advanced IoT (Internet of Things) applications.”

In another recent advancement, the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission ruled in March that Iristel can compete with Eastlink in Alymer, Ontario.

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