Sask­Tel un­der­goes ma­jor busi­ness shift with fewer em­ploy­ees, lit­tle rev­enue in­crease

Moose Jaw - - NEWS - By Ron Wal­ter For Moose Jaw Ex­press

The prov­ince’s Crown-owned telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pany — Sask­Tel — has shifted busi­ness sources sharply with tech­no­log­i­cal change over the last 10 years.

In 2009, three quar­ters of Sask­Tel rev­enues came from wire­less ser­vices, Max ca­ble TV/internet, and lo­cal ser­vices. In the year ended March 31, wire­less brought in 41 per cent of rev­enue, up from 31 per cent 10 years ago. Max ca­ble and internet took in 28 per cent of rev­enue, up from 19 per cent and lo­cal ser­vices brought in 15 per cent, down from 25 per cent. Dur­ing that pe­riod long dis­tance went to three per cent of rev­enues from al­most nine per cent.

The mas­sive shift in rev­enues and op­er­a­tions was achieved with lit­tle ad­di­tion to rev­enues. Rev­enues were up $102 mil­lion.

The shift in rev­enues was done with mas­sive in­vest­ments in new tech­nol­ogy and net­works for data trans­mis­sion. The com­pany is mid­way through a $1.6 bil­lion cap­i­tal in­vest­ment pro­gram from 2016 to 2021 Sask­Tel an­nual re­ports show em­ployee num­bers dropped 24 per cent to 3,880 from 4,814 dur­ing the 10 years. Rev­enue for the year just ended was $1,264.6 mil­lion — just about nine per cent more than the 2009 level of $1,152.8 mil­lion Long dis­tance rev­enue con­tin­ued the slide by al­most 12 per cent with wire­less down 2.7 per cent and lo­cal ser­vices dropped 17 per cent. Max ca­ble and internet were up 3.5 per cent. For the year ended in March, the crown earned $227.9 mil­lion net profit, up from $188.3 mil­lion the year be­fore. Rev­enues in­creased 1.4 per cent with a higher div­i­dend, $89.9 mil­lion ver­sus $30 mil­lion the pre­vi­ous year, paid to the Saskatchewan Govern­ment.

Net debt was $923.7 mil­lion, a re­duc­tion from $954 mil­lion the pre­vi­ous year.

Dur­ing the last year Sask­Tel launched a home se­cu­rity and au­to­ma­tion ser­vice that al­lows 24/7 mon­i­tor­ing and re­mote ac­cess/con­trol of the prop­erty. A one phone num­ber ser­vice for wire­less and lo­cal busi­ness num­bers was in­tro­duced. New ser­vices man­age Wifi for lo­cal busi­ness, man­age se­cu­rity for small and medium busi­ness and op­er­ate Cloud data stor­age. Up­grades to LTE wire­less ser­vices con­tin­ued in Moose Jaw, North Bat­tle­ford, Prince Al­bert, Swift Cur­rent and York­ton.

LTE was up­graded in 35 ru­ral and re­sort com­mu­ni­ties.

Ron Wal­ter can be reached at ron­joy@ sask­

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