Cellphone woes

When Richard Lawrence tried to change his cellphone plan he was told he’d have to get a new phone number too. He discovered there is no such thing as number portability in the North.

When Richard Lawrence tried to change his cellphone plan he was told he’d have to get a new phone number too.

He discovered there is no such thing as number portability in the North. 

“This problem only relates to people that live in the 867 area code,” said Lawrence. “Anywhere else in Canada it’s not an issue.”

He wasn’t the only one who didn’t know this.

When he called his provider, Virgin Mobile, to resolve the problem, even support staff weren’t aware number portability was an issue in the North.

“My biggest grievance is not that they can do it for the rest of Canada, but they can’t do it up here,” he said. “I can understand why there would be certain limitations, but there should be a big card says, ‘because you live in the North, these are the things that you have to put up with.’”

Lawrence used a prepaid cellphone because he thought it would be the cheapest option, but it’s turned out to be an expensive mistake for the Whitehorse based IT consultant.

“It going to cost me a money that I didn’t realize I’d have to spend,” he said. “I have to get my business card reprinted and forward my number.

“I’m sure there will be a charge for that too.”

Virgin Mobile, a subsidiary of Bell Canada, didn’t respond to requests for an interview.

However, Northwestel, also owned by Bell, provided an explanation.

It boils down to cost.

“In order to support number portability we would need to get new hardware and new software and it would require a major switch upgrade,” said Emily Younker, corporate communications manager for the telco. “As of now, I can say it would cost millions to do, with an additional $500,000 annually to maintain the system in our operating area.”

It is something that Northwestel is considering.

It recently requested funding from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to implement number portability in some northern communities.

The commission is expected to make a decision by the end of the year.

Meanwhile Lawrence remains frustrated.

“Basically, though we’re paying some of the highest cellular rates in Canada we’re getting some of the poorest service compared to what they’re getting down south,” he said.

Contact Josh Kerr at joshk@yukon-news.com

Just Posted

Whether the dust jacket of this historical novel is the Canadian version (left) or the American (right), the readable content within is the same. (Michael Gates)
History Hunter: New novel a gripping account of the gold rush

Stampede: Gold Fever and Disaster in the Klondike is an ‘enjoyable and readable’ account of history

XX
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for May 14, 2021.… Continue reading

Copies of the revised 2021-22 budget documents tabled in the legislature on May 14. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Liberals introduce new budget with universal dental and safe supply funding

The new items were added to secure the support of the NDP.

Community Services Minister Richard Mostyn speaks to reporters on May 13. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Cap on rent increases will take effect May 15

The rollout of the policy is creating ‘chaos,’ says opposition

Yukon News file
A 21-year-old man is in custody after a stabbing in Porter Creek on May 14.
One man in hospital, another in custody, after alleged stabbing in Porter Creek

A police dog was used to track the suspect who was later arrested in a wooded area.

Safe at home office in Whitehorse on May 10, 2021. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Federal government provides $1.6 million for Yukon anti-homelessness work

Projects including five mobile homes for small communities received funding.

Drilling at Northern Tiger’s 3Ace gold project in 2011. Randi Newton argues that mining in the territory can be reshaped. (Yukon government/file)
Editorial: There’s momentum for mining reform

CPAWS’ Randi Newton argues that the territory’s mining legislations need a substantial overhaul

At its May 10 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved the subdivision for the Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s business park planned in Marwell. (Submitted)
KDFN business park subdivision approved

Will mean more commercial industrial land available in Whitehorse

Main Street in Whitehorse on May 4. Whitehorse city council has passed the first two readings of a bylaw to allow pop-up patios in city parking spaces. Third reading will come forward later in May. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Whitehorse council pursuing restaurant patio possibilities

Council passes first two readings for new patio bylaw

Neil Hartling, the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon president, left, said the new self-isolation guidelines for the Yukon are a ‘ray of hope’ for tourism operators. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Yukon tourism operators prepared for ‘very poor summer’ even with relaxed border rules

Toursim industry responds to new guidelines allowing fully vaccinated individuals to skip mandatory self-isolation.

A lawsuit has been filed detailing the resignation of a former Yukon government mine engineer. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A year after resigning, former chief mine engineer sues Yukon government

Paul Christman alleges a hostile work environment and circumvention of his authority led him to quit

Former Liberal MLA Pauline Frost speaks to reporters outside the courthouse on April 19. One of the voters accused of casting an invalid vote has been granted intervenor status in the lawsuit Frost filed last month. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Voters named in Pauline Frost election lawsuit ask to join court proceedings

The judge granted Christopher Schafer intervenor status

Most Read