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Ice Wireless is a facilities-based regional mobile network operator (MNO) delivering 3G/4G HSPA+/UMTS technology to rural and remote areas of Northern Canada. Ice Wireless first launched in Inuvik, Northwest Territories in 2005. Ice Wireless operates on the 850/1900 MHz spectrum under license from Industry Canada.

Ice Wireless is in a strategic partnership with Iristel, one of Canada’s largest VoIP service providers, a registered CLEC that has begun operations in Northern Canada under the CRTC decision to open the serving area to local competition. Ice Wireless’ integration with Iristel’s international carrier grade VOIP network has created a unique and dynamic system in which mobile phones and VoIP phones are all integrated in a self-controlled and owned network.
1999 Ice Wireless is founded by Tom Zubko using the TDMA standard, and becomes the first digital cellular network in Inuvik, NT.
Tom Zubko becomes Ice Wireless' first President.
2005 Ice Wireless acquires a license for the use of 1900 Mhz from Industry Canada for the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
Ice Wireless adopts the GSM standard.
Ice Wireless is federally incorporated.
Ice Wireless builds its first tower at Hidden Lake in Inuvik, NT.
Ice Wireless partners with Rogers Wireless for the provision of cellular services in the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.
2006 Ice Wireless expands service to Whitehorse, YT.
2007 Ice Wireless withdraws from Whitehorse, unable to compete with Bell Canada's monopoly in the Yukon.
Ice Wireless expands service to Yellowknife and Behchoko, NT.
2010 Ice Wireless introduces enhanced calling features such as call display.
Ice Wireless opens flagship retail store in Yellowknife, NT.
2011 Ice Wireless makes first phone call by satellite.
2012 Ice Wireless partners with one of Canada's largest CLECs, Iristel, to provide local exchange services to Northern Canada, Ice-Iristel is the first to challenge the monopoly of Bell subsidiary, Northwestel.
Samer Bishay is announced as President of Ice Wireless.
Ice Wireless expands services to Hay River, NT and Whitehorse, YT.
Network Architecture
Ice Wireless delivers state-of-the-art 3G technology and GSM/EDGE to residential and business customers in rural and remote areas of Northern Canada. We operate wireless base stations from coast to coast over one of the largest areas and lowest population densities in the world; an area of 2.5 million square kilometers inhabited by just 100,000 people. For perspective, that is an operating area that is three times the size of Ontario and five times the size of Texas.

Rural and remote communities in Northern Canada are typically difficult to reach and cannot be profitably covered with conventional technologies and approaches. In order to enable service in this often harsh and hard-to-get-to environment, Ice Wireless has focused on scalability and technical innovation. Given the vast distances between base stations, Ice Wireless has implemented innovative and state-of-the-art remote monitoring and control systems. Each of our individual base stations are fully controllable by software engineers at our Network Operating Center, which provides remote monitoring 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. While we have centralized our northern operations in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, a remote community situated 200 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle, we operate Technology Centers across the country including locations in Toronto, Montreal, Yellowknife and Whitehorse. This enables us to get up-to-date information quickly and efficiently. Combined with advanced SCADA equipment and local support teams, our success in deploying small-scale networks has allowed us to operate in communities with populations as small as 500 people. We have also replaced traditional voice circuits by migrating from PSTN to SIP trunking. We now carry all voice, video and data traffic over an Internet link, which lowers our transport costs and maximizes our use of bandwidth. Ice Wireless has now fully integrated with our CLEC partner Iristel’s nationwide VoIP network to enable the next generation of mobile services.

The following diagram shows our UMTS network architecture:
Ice Wireless is now in the process of building out our 3G network across the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut using Huawei core UMTS equipment. Huawei is a leader in telecommunications around the world and has become an industry standard in Canada. An estimated 72% of Canada’s cellular operators use Huawei equipment to power their core networks.

Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) is a third generation mobile cellular system for networks based on the GSM standard. Developed and maintained by the 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project), UMTS is a component of the International Telecommunications Union IMT-2000 standard set and compares with the CDMA2000 standard set for networks based on the competing cdmaOne technology. UMTS uses Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (W-CDMA) radio access technology to offer greater spectral efficiency and bandwidth to mobile network operators.

UMTS data capabilities offer download speeds of up to 7.2 Mbits/s.
In 2012, Ice Wireless established a strategic partnership with Iristel, one of Canada’s largest VoIP service providers. Our integration with Iristel’s international carrier grade VOIP network has created a unique and dynamic system in which mobile phones and VoIP phones are all integrated in a self-controlled and owned network.

Iristel offers the broadest portfolio of IP services in Canada, including hosted IP PBX, virtual faxing, virtual roaming, and global IP trunking products and services through its three corporate divisions: Wholesale Carrier; Retail Services; and Enterprise Solutions.

The Iristel VoIP network is a stable, redundant and highly sophisticated network offering coast-to-coast coverage to its Canadian subscriber base. It provides high quality service for billions of minutes of international calls of voice and fax traffic annually. Iristel has deployed multiple, redundant switching facilities and Points of Presence (PoPs) nationally resulting in the delivery of stable telecom business solutions to its customers. Iristel also has an additional 20 points of presence (POPs) around the globe.

Today, Ice Wireless and Iristel remain committed to using the most advanced Internet-based technologies to provide Canadians with the most reliable and cost-effective voice and data services in the country. Ice Wireless and Iristel are uniquely positioned to deliver exciting capabilities offered by no other operator in Canada.

For more information about Iristel, please visit
Ice Wireless owns and operates communications towers, fiber optic cable and microwave transmitters in Northern Canada, and we continue to build out the infrastructure necessary to support a robust telecommunications network.

Wireless Ice Wireless has built state-of-the-art wireless tower sites and antenna structures for mobile telephone and data networks across the country. As part of our network construction, we have undertaken extensive environmental surveys and studies, site acquisitions, permitting and regulatory applications.

Fiber Optic Ice Wireless owns and operates fiber optic cable in Northern Canada and continually seeks to build out its deployment of leading edge fiber optic backbone networks. Projects have included cable routing, permitting, sag/tension/pole analysis, underground trenching, conduits and many other design issues associated with fiber optic cable.

Microwave Ice Wireless has built high capacity and cost effective microwave links in a number of rugged deployments, both for short- and long-haul backhaul transport.
For corporate customers, Ice Wireless creates customized mobile telephone and data networks for those who have unique requirements. We offer service to the following industries:

  • Mining
  • Oil and gas
  • Government
  • Military
  • Business

Our solutions focus on reduction of total cost of cellular networks operating in challenging coverage areas to deliver immediate savings to our corporate customers. For example, Ice Wireless’ remote telecommunications solution focuses on low cost IP-based technologies and a smaller footprint to reduce both ongoing OPEX as well as site related CAPEX costs.

For more information about our customized telecommunications solutions, please contact our Corporate Sales office at
Coverage Map
Ice Wireless 3G Network Ice Roaming Coverage