Manjeet Hageman of Port Clements made her first cell phone call Sunday afternoon.
She was out golfing at the Dixon Entrance Golf Club, when she heard some Masset residents saying that cell phones were working. She immediately used one to call her father-in-law Henry Hageman, to wish him a happy Father’s Day. He was out fishing, but the rumour was true: the cell phone worked.
Ms Hageman is not the only islander to use a cell phone for the first time in the past couple of days. Islanders from Sandspit to Old Massett have been buzzing with the news that all of a sudden, cellular service has arrived on Haida Gwaii, which until now has been pretty much a cell phone-free zone.
There was no official announcement, but Telus spokesperson Shawn Hall, contacted Monday by the Observer, said that Telus technicians added cell phone antennas to existing towers in Sandspit and Masset on June 14 and 16, ushering in a whole new telecommunications era on the islands.
Mr. Hall said service is somewhat limited right now, but Telus plans to collect feedback from islanders over the next few months and fix various dead spots.
“You can expect the service to improve,” he said. “Cell phone service is an important service and we’re dedicated to connecting people.”
Telus is also working on having local phone numbers for cell phones here. Right now, the cell service is “roaming” which means cell phone users must pay long distance charges.
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