Iristel strengthens ties with WiFi-based text+
text+, with its more than 100 million global and 7 million Canada installs, provides both an install base and set of technical capabilities that Iristel can utilize as it pushes affordability in the wireless market
TORONTO, Feb. 20, 2020 /CNW/ – Iristel Inc., Canada’s fastest-growing telecom services provider, is pleased to announce strengthened ties with California-based text+, a leading mobile communications service that lets anyone text, talk and share for free or cheaply.
“We support the federal government’s commitment to making wireless service more affordable for Canadians and this investment is another example of Iristel doing our part to offer innovative mobile communications services at fair prices,” says Samer Bishay, Iristel President and CEO.
Iristel and text+ have a long-standing strategic supplier relationship as Iristel provides phone numbers for text+ in Canada. The two companies are now further connected through Iristel’s undisclosed financial investment in text+. Also, now text+ is the engine that powers Iristel’s Sugar Mobile and other OTT “over-the-top” initiatives for the Iristel group of companies.
“text+ has been on a global search for strategic partners that align with our commitment to affordability and innovation in the communications space,” says Scott Lahman, text+ Founder & CEO. “There are very few in the telecom industry who align more closely than Samer and his entire team at Iristel. We’re thrilled to strengthen an already successful relationship and look forward to building industry leading solutions together.”
Sugar Mobile in conjunction with text+ now serves hundreds of thousands of monthly users in Canada with OTT talk and text services. This customer base is predominantly people without SIM cards who rely on the service as their primary line. Unfortunately, most do not have cellular coverage as there are no affordable plans for them.
“text+ Canadian users are real people using it right now,” Mr. Bishay says. “But who’s to say we couldn’t extend the service beyond WiFi to cellular networks at a low cost to Canadians?”
Cellular is a natural complement to a WiFi-first service offering in order to ensure that critical communication services are always available as users move out of WiFi zones.
The text+ app has been downloaded more than 100 million times and is available for iOS and Android smartphones and devices. The app gives users an active mobile number, an essential in today’s world for verifications required for so many digital services such as apps, banking, shopping and more.
text+ is headquartered in Los Angeles and Iristel joins leading investors like Upfront Ventures, Raine and Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers as text+ backers. The business model for text+ includes advertising, microtransactions including a nominal 2.2 cents per minute outbound calling rate, and various subscription offerings.
Iristel is Canada’s fastest-growing carrier providing innovative communication services, including cybersecurity, that are changing how consumers and businesses communicate. Founded in 1999, Markham-based Iristel operates Canada’s largest facilities-based local voice network extending Coast-to-Coast-to-Coast. It also owns Ice Wireless, an LTE-A carrier with operations in Canada’s northern territories and Quebec. Iristel also owns brands such as Sugar Mobile, an Over-the-Top (OTT) app where phone calls and text messages can be transmitted through data, and TDE, a company that offers sale, rental and repair services of telecommunication equipment in Eastern Quebec and Northern New Brunswick.