SaskTel undergoes major business shift with fewer employees, little revenue increase
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@ sasktel.net