Phone service in Nunavik about to go walkabout
KUUJJUAQ — Makivik Corp. and Lynx Mobility, a subsidiary of a Canadian telecommunications company, OmniGlobe, plan to start bringing cell phone technology to Nunavik.
Kuujjuaq will be the first community to receive cell phone service, which will be managed by a new Makivik subsidiary.
The cellular service should be available in Kuujjuaq by the end of this year, confirmed Balgovind Pande, Lynx Mobility’s vice-president for customer relations.
Cell phones won’t replace CB radios on the land, because their range in Kuujjuaq will probably extend no further than 15 kilometres, depending on the geography, time of the year and whether additional relay stations are put up.
The new Kuujjuaq system will use CDMA, short for “Code-Division Multiple Access,” which is also used by Bell Mobility.
Rogers, the other big wireless provider in Canada, uses GSMC or Global System for Mobile Communications. The GSMC protocol is far more common outside North America.
OmniGlobe already supplies cellular services to the Naskapi community of Kawawachikamach, located to the south of Kuujjuaq, and to the twin Cree-Inuit communities of Whapmagoostui and Kuujjuaraapik.
When Lynx Mobility partnered with Naskapi Imuun Inc., a subsidiary of the Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach, to bring cell phones to that community, Quebec gave them $231,238, about half the set-up cost.
Establishing a cellular network for all of Nunavik would cost about $5 million, according to a 2006 Kativik Regional Government evaluation.
Under Lynx Mobility’s model, partners in aboriginal communities would operate their own local cellular network, delivering mobile voice communication, text messaging and prepaid billing services.
Its service uses satellite-cellular technology, which sees local networks linked up via satellite to global cellular and telephone networks.