Small regional Canadian operator Eastern Telecommunications (Telecommunications de l’Est, TDE) has announced that it has joined the Iristel group to roll out a new cellular network in eastern Quebec using mobile frequencies owned by Iristel’s new subsidiary i-MobileCa. In late May 2018 Iristel announced the takeover of i-MobileCa – holding undeveloped 1900MHz spectrum covering a population of 535,000 mostly in rural Quebec and Ontario – with the intention of deploying a 3G/4G LTE network. The new network will be marketed under the Iristel banner – not as Ice Wireless, the brand used for the Iristel group’s existing mobile network covering communities across Canada’s Far North (including northern Quebec).
TDE says that its partnership with Iristel forms a new telecoms company which will provide mobile services in the Cote-Nord, Gaspesie, Bas-Saint-Laurent and Quebec regions, focusing on urban areas as well as thus-far unserved rural zones in cooperation with municipalities and government agencies, noting that only around 50% of the venture’s licensed territory is currently served by cellular infrastructure (shared by large Canadian operators). TDE itself has been a reseller of the Bell Canada group’s cellular services since 2002.
Separately, TDE’s announcement also confirmed that it will continue the territorial expansion of its ‘NOMADE’ wireless network to reach areas that are difficult to serve through other means of communication. In November 2016 TDE disclosed that it was deploying the NOMADE network to extend wireless coverage using VHF frequencies based on the open digital mobile radio protocol DMR Tier III in remote parts of Gaspesie, Bas-Saint-Laurent and North Shore (eastern Quebec) as well as northern New Brunswick.
Furthermore, the Iristel/TDE partnership will see Iristel introduce its range of fixed VoIP-based services in TDE’s local telecoms areas in 2019 for consumers and businesses.