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Iristel Inc.
Founded 1999
Headquarters Markham, ON, Canada
Key people
Samer Bishay - President CEO, Maged Bishara - Vice President

Iristel Inc. is a Canadian provider of Voice over Internet Protocol services, and is designated as a Competitive local exchange carrier.[1] The company was founded in 1999, and is headquartered in Markham, Ontario, Canada.

Iristel has also deployed multiple, redundant switching facilities and points of presence (PoPs) nationally resulting in the delivery of stable telecom business solutions to its customers. Iristel's coast-to-coast-to-coast coverage includes cities in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Prince Edward Island,[2] Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut, thus making Iristel a national VoIP CLEC.[3]

Iristel’s offerings include: Residential and Business Voice, Data & Fax Solutions; Virtual Phone Numbers; Hosted PBX and Wholesale SIP Trunking Services; and, Wireless IP Services.

Its clients include: residential and business customers; Incumbent local exchange carriers; and CLECs with Canadian local access requirements.


Iristel was established in 1999 when founder Samer Bishay set up a VoIP technology business to address the needs of under-served African markets.[4] The company was granted a carrier license by the Canadian Radio-Television Commission in 2000.[1] Today, Iristel also has domestic operator licenses in Algeria, Dominica and Romania with an additional 20 points of presence throughout the world.

Iristel launched its High Definition (HD) VoIP Telephone Service in February 2007.[5]

By May 2007, the company added Domestic and Global SIP Trunking and Hosted PBX to its portfolio of Enterprise VoIP Solutions.

In December 2007, Iristel began to offer dual mode Wi-Fi-enabled GSM mobile phones to Canadian customers.

In June 2008, Iristel began offering Iristel IP Mobility, a wireless IP service that combines VoIP over Wi-Fi/GSM, Single Number Reach and Fixed Mobile Convergence. VoIP industry pundits describe Iristel IP Mobility as a “harbinger of things to come”.[6]

Iristel IP Mobility provides users with a single point of contact for fixed, mobile and Wi-Fi calls. Users have on single phone number for both inbound and outbound calling across multiple devices. They can also switch calls back and forth between the mobile network and the VoIP network without interruption to help lower cellular charges. Settings may be configured by users through an online portal.[7]

Iristel has partnered with various carriers and service providers across the world who have chosen to route their wholesale and retail traffic through Iristel, or to rely on Iristel's DID coverage to service their own residential and corporate markets.

In January 2009, Iristel and Algeria Telecom announce an exclusive agreement to offer Inbound Direct Inward Dialling (DID) services to subscribers around the world who want an Algerian number for their existing phone line [8][9]

In February 2009, MTS Allstream, a wholly owned subsidiary of Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. and a communication solutions provider in Canada, has chosen Iristel Inc., for the conversion of its Time-division multiplexing (TDM) voice traffic to Internet Protocol (IP)-based traffic.[10]

In August 2011, Gogii Inc, the makers of textPlus announced the app can be now used with free Canadian telephone numbers, provided by Iristel.[11][12] textPlus is an app supported by iPhone, iPod touch and Android which allows users to send free unlimited group text messages [13]

Iristel has performed various interoperability tests with the most important VoIP hardware & software manufacturers: Polycom, Mediatrix, Avaya,[14][15] Grandstream,[16] Toshiba,[17] 3CX Phone System,[18] Snom [19] and Yealink.[20]

In May 2012, Iristel has become a major shareholder of and announced a partnership with Ice Wireless,[21] a home-grown digital cellular service provider in Northern Canada.[22] The two companies want to expand cellular and Internet services in Canada’s Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut, competing with Northwestel, a subsidiary of BCE Inc.’s Bell Canada that serves the North. Ice Wireless and Iristel will provide bundled communications to Canada’s northern communities for a range of services, including local and long-distance and Internet services, and expanded cellular coverage.[23]

The rollout of home phone and additional wireless services is scheduled to begin in Yellowknife on July 1.[24] In the past, Northwestel has been the only option for residents of Northern Canada when it comes to their telephone provider. Northwestel is a Bell Canada subsidiary and has had a monopoly in the region for decades. However, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) recently ordered that other competitive telephone companies be allowed to enter the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut markets starting May 1, 2012.[25][26]

Iristel has initiated a campaign to support competition in the Northern Canada; together with partner Ice Wireless, Iristel opposes to Northwestel’s attempt to funnel $40-million from its parent company Bell Canada to finance its infrastructure modernization. The announced Northwestel modernization plan is depending on Bell Canada’s pending acquisition of Astral Media, as a part of the public benefits package that Bell will have to allocate further to the Astral acquisition would be used for Northwestel’s modernization plan. Iristel and Ice Wireless have commented on the proposal saying that it should be rejected, or if accepted, the funds should be allocated to all telephone service providers in the North, as a support for fair competition and building better infrastructure in the North.[27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34]


Iristel has three corporate divisions: Retail Solutions, Enterprise Solutions and Wholesale Services.

Its Retail Solutions are used by both residential and business clients, and include: Voice Solutions (digital telephone service, PC phone service and long distance calling plans), Internet Services (high-speed DSL Internet), Voice and Data Bundles (digital telephone and Internet services), Virtual Fax Services (Internet fax ), Hardware Solutions (VoIP gateways and IP phones), Wireless IP Services (Iristel IP Mobility), Virtual phone numbers.

Enterprise Services offered by Iristel include: Hosted PBX, VoIP Virtual Private Network, Hosted Auto Attendant.

The company’s Wholesale Services include: SIP Trunking, Inbound DID.


As a fully licensed CLEC,[1] Iristel does not resell other operator’s services. The company has its own VoIP network infrastructure.

The Iristel network features international gateway switches in Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Paris, France, and London, U.K., with subsidiary offices in Romania; a 24x7-monitored Network Operations Centre; and systems to monitor/manage TDM and IP telephony networks.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Competitive Local Exchange Carriers – CLEC List". Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission. Retrieved 2009-01-20. 
  2. ^ "Iristel Coverage Map". 
  3. ^ "Ice Wireless and Iristel partner to end North America's last telephone monopoly and expand cellular service in Canada's North". 
  4. ^ Gardiner, Rebecca (September 2005). "Business, African style". Profit Magazine. Retrieved 2009-01-20. 
  5. ^ Kretkowski, Paul D. (March 5, 2007). "The Truth About HD VoIP". VoIP News. Retrieved 2009-01-20. 
  6. ^ Stevenson, Ted (July 16, 2008). "F/MC Watch: A Consumer-Oriented Approach". Voip Planet. Retrieved 2009-01-20. 
  7. ^ Solomon, Howard (June 24, 2008). "Iristel adds fixed mobile convergence". IT World Canada. Retrieved 2009-01-20. 
  8. ^ "Algeria Telecom Partners with Iristel to Offer Algeria Connect". 
  9. ^ "Algeria Telecom Partners With Iristel to Offer Algeria Connect". 
  10. ^ "MTS Allstream Selects Iristel for IP Conversion of TDM Phone Traffic". 
  11. ^ "textPlus Brings Free Phone Numbers to Canada". Bloomberg. 
  12. ^ "S.O.S. for SMS: Never pay for text messages again". 
  13. ^ "textPlus – About us". 
  14. ^ "Iristel Selected for Membership in Avaya DevConnect Program". 
  15. ^ "Iristel SIP-Based Solution Now Avaya Compliant". 
  16. ^ "Iristel and Grandstream complete Interoperability Tests". 
  17. ^ "Iristel Grows Solutions Portfolio with Toshiba IP PBX Products; Completes Network Interoperability Testing". 
  18. ^ "Iristel SIP Trunking Service Now Compatible with Software-based IP PBX from 3CX". 
  19. ^ "snom Teams With Iristel to Deliver Hosted VoIP solutions". 
  20. ^ "Iristel and Yealink Complete Successful Interoperability Tests". 
  21. ^ "Ice Wireless and Iristel partner to end North America’s last telephone monopoly". 
  22. ^ "Ice Wireless – About us". 
  23. ^ "Northern cellular Internet services to expand with telecom partnership". The Star (Toronto). May 28, 2012. 
  24. ^ "Telecom wars heat up north". The Globe and Mail (Toronto). June 18, 2012. 
  25. ^ "CRTC kills Northwestel’s monopoly". 
  26. ^ "Northern Canada's telecom services to expand". CBC News. 
  27. ^ "Telecommunications companies in North battle over public cash". [dead link]
  28. ^ "ICE Wireless and Iristel speak out on NorthwesTel's proposed "modernization" plan". 
  29. ^ "Ice Wireless to melt monopoly". 
  30. ^ "Potential money for NWTel rankles competitors". 
  31. ^ "Competition Remains Elusive in Northern Canada". 
  32. ^ "Télécommunications au Yukon : Northwestel demande 40 millions au CRTC". 
  33. ^ "Northwestel modernization plan" (PDF). 
  34. ^ "Iristel calls on CRTC to reject Northwestel funding". 

External links[edit]