Business and residential telephone users in the far north now have local phone competition.

Iristel Inc. launched service in Yellowknife, Whitehorse and Inuvik on Monday, challenging incumbent NorthwesTel, a division of Bell Canada.

“Our network is fired up, connected to the south and ready to go for people in Canada’s North who are tired of high monopoly prices for landline phone service,” Iristel CEO Samer Bishay said in a statement.

 “We’re offering more advanced services at lower prices than the incumbent phone company.”

The new local phone service is being sold in Yellowknife through Iristel’s ICE Wireless subisiduary and Global Storm, in Whitehorse through Midarctic Technology Services and Polar Group ICT, and in Inuvik through New North Networks.

“Residential and business customers can cut their local service phone bill in half, keep their existing phone numbers, not have to buy new equipment or change anything in the way they make calls now. It’s simple to change, simple to use and simply more affordable,” Mr. Bishay said.

The launch comes exactly a year after the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) took away NorthwestTel’s monopoly in the north.
Iristel is a competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) whose service is VoIP-based. For businesses it offers a hosted multiline PBX phone system.

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