Latitude Wireless hooked Haines Junction up with 4G wireless services this week.
It’s the third Yukon community that has had its cellular service upgraded since December.
Marsh Lake and Whitehorse have had 4G wireless services for some time, but Watson Lake and Dawson City were upgraded late last year.
NortwesTel’s five-year modernization plan calls for 3G and 4G wireless services to be extended to almost every community in the North.
That plan still has to yet gain approval from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.
Nevertheless, Latitude Wireless, which is a partnership between NorthwesTel and the Dakwakada Development Corporation, has been moving ahead with upgrading its network, but this is as far as it plans to go for the time being.
“Haines Junction is the last one for now,” said Joel Witten, the associate director of marketing for NorthwesTel.
Haines Junction sits within the traditional territory of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations, which controls the Dakwakada Development Corporation, and this project has generated some excitement, said Witten.
“Having the latest wireless technology available in Haines Junction is great progress for our community,” said Chief James Allen in a release.
Latitude is keeping it’s old CDMA network in place so old phones will continue to work, but if people want to upgrade to a newer phone – and take out a three-year contract – it’s offering many incentives, including free service for a few months, trade in credits and discounts on accessories.
“What it means for Haines Junction is they get access to the latest handsets,” said Witten. “That also means access to all the applications and access to faster data speeds on those handsets.”
It also means fewer frustrations for visitors to Haines Junction.
“If you have a Whitehorse phone that works on a 4G network it will work seamlessly, and travellers coming from Bell or Telus operating areas, they’ll light up no problem as well,” he said.