Cellular service to increase
NMI Mobility looking at expanding safer cellular service

by Jeff Colbourne
Northern News Services

NNSL (Oct 31/97) - Glenn Nicol, vice-president of NorthwesTel's cellular arm, said he's doing more to accommodate the needs of Northerners seeking cellular service.

"We're trying to make it as user-friendly and customer-friendly as possible," said Nichol of the NMI Mobility service.

To improve service, NMI Mobility is actively considering setting up another cell site near Prelude Lake for cabin owners in the area and campers during the summer.

A cell phone is good only within 18 kilometres of the current site in downtown Yellowknife. Another site is located in Hay River.

And for those interested in becoming a cellular phone user, NMI has developed a strategy to ensure the customer knows what he or she is getting into.

Nicol calls it dealing with the "new toy effect."

When someone buys a cell phone, they use it to call friends or family to show off. They don't realize every minute costs as much as 95 cents.

NMI Mobility will monitor a customer's bill for the first few months and recommend certain packages to use to get the best bang for the buck.

Besides helping customers find out what's best for their needs, Nichol said the company is also making efforts to cut down on different types of cellular phone fraud.

"It's a phenomenon that North American-wide. A lot of people out there want to use the technology in an unscrupulous fashion," said Nichol.

NMI Mobility has eliminated collect calls on cellular phones and are moving towards digital technology, which is more secure and tougher to intercept.

"It's literally, on a worldwide scale, a billion-dollar problem."