|Saskatchewan Government Telephones|
|Founded||June 12, 1908 (as Department of Railways, Telegraphs and Telephones)|
June 1, 1947 (as SaskTel)
|Headquarters||2121 Saskatchewan Drive|
|Don Morgan, Minister Responsible for SaskTel|
Doug Burnett, Acting President and CEO
Grant Kook, Chair of the Board of Directors
|Revenue||CAD$ 1.2 billion|
Number of employees
Saskatchewan Telecommunications Holding Corporation, operating as SaskTel, is a Canadian crown-owned telecommunications firm based in the province of Saskatchewan. Owned by the provincial government, it provides wireline and wireless communications services, including landline telephone, mobile networks, broadband internet (including copper DSL, fibre to the home, and wireless broadband), IPTV, and security services. Through a subsidiary, SaskTel International, the company has also worked on telecom infrastructure projects in countries such as Argentina and the Bahamas.
As of 2018, SaskTel serves around 1.4 million customers, and has an annual revenue of around $1.2 billion.
SaskTel was established pursuant to the Telephone Acts as the Department of Railways, Telegraphs and Telephones on June 12, 1908, and through acquisitions of other independent telephone companies quickly became the dominant government-run telephone operator in Saskatchewan.
On May 9, 1947, premier Tommy Douglas announced that ownership and operational duties for the province's telephone system would be taken over by the newly-established crown corporation Saskatchewan Government Telephones, effective June 1. The change was intended to separate the administrative duties for the telephone system from the government's regulatory duties.
In 2009, SaskTel entered into network sharing agreements with Bell Canada and Telus to contribute to a national UMTS/HSPA+ cellular network. In July 2010, SaskTel announced an employee trial launch of its $170 million HSPA+ network. The services became publicly available August 16 in metropolitan areas such as North Battleford, Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, Regina, Saskatoon, Swift Current, Yorkton, and Weyburn. It launched with a range of BlackBerry and Nokia handsets, and the promise of iPhone carriage in the future.
In August 2012, SaskTel announced that it would construct a fibre to the home network branded as Infinet (stylized infiNET), beginning in portions of Regina and Saskatoon, and other cities over the next seven years. In January 2013, SaskTel announced the launch of an LTE network in the Regina and Saskatoon areas, with plans to extend coverage into other major areas of the province by 2014. As of 2013, the company had recorded nearly 616,000 wireless subscribers and over 100,000 Max TV subscribers.
Threat of privatization
In 2016, Brad Wall's Saskatchewan Party government proposed Bill 40, which allowed for the partial privatization of up to 50% of a provincial crown corporation without seeking public approval. The bill prompted concerns that stakes in SaskTel could be sold to third-parties; the company conducted an independent assessment, factoring in the then-proposed acquisition of former crown telco MTS in Manitoba to Bell Canada. The review found that SaskTel's net income risked "[being] unable to support the level of dividends that have been returned to the province in recent years", citing the possibility of new or enhanced competition among other companies.
Wall promised that any sale of SaskTel shares would be subject to a public referendum; in August 2016, he stated that "if we get an offer and we think it generates a significant amount of money for the province, maybe enough to eliminate our [$4.1 billion] operating debt, if it takes care of the jobs question in Regina, if it provides better coverage, we are at least going to take it to the people and we'll need someone to lead that process."
In May 2017, following the passing of Bill 40, it was reported that representatives of BCE Inc., Rogers Communications, and Telus had been lobbying and in discussions with Dustin Duncan, minister responsible for SaskTel. The company stated that the meetings were regarding ongoing wholesale agreements between the companies, and were unrelated to privatization.
In August 2017, Wall announced that he would repeal Bill 40.
SaskTel shut down its CDMA network in July 2017. In August 2017, SaskTel announced that it would launch its fibreoptic internet services in the town of Rosthern, Saskatchewan (which lies between Saskatoon and Prince Albert). The deployment was part of a pilot program for deploying the service in portions of Saskatchewan's rural regions. It also launched a new suite of smart home and home security products in conjunction with SecurTek and Alarm.com.
In May 2018, SaskTel announced a capital investment of $301 million into improvements to its services over the next year, with $61.2 million going towards FTTH deployment for 22,000 additional customers, $26.5 million on improvements to its wireless network, and $109.1 million into customer service.
In August 2018, SaskTel launched MaxTV Stream, a new IPTV-based service utilizing the Ericsson MediaFirst platform running as an app on Android TV-based set-top boxes. On launch the service is available in all SaskTel FTTH markets, and 11 rural communities.
SaskTel is a sponsorship partner for the Canadian Football League's Saskatchewan Roughriders, and was named as a "founding partner" of the new Mosaic Stadium in Regina. In August 2014, SaskTel acquired the naming rights to Saskatoon's Credit Union Centre, and renamed it SaskTel Centre. It is also title sponsor of the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival in Saskatoon.
Until 2016, SaskTel's marketing prominently featured characters based on the fairy tale "Little Red Riding Hood", including characters such as Little Red, the Wolf, and Gainer the goldfish. In December 2016, the company introduced a new branding campaign, "Today is The Day".
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- "Saskatchewan Party to repeal Crown privatization law". Regina Leader-Post. 2017-10-24. Retrieved 2018-04-04.
- "SaskTel shutdown of CDMA network to affect 47,000 phone users". Saskatoon StarPhoenix. 2016-07-06. Retrieved 2018-04-05.
- "SaskTel high-speed internet reaches Rosthern, offers hope for rural Sask. connectivity". CBC News. Retrieved 2018-04-04.
- "SaskTel launches smartHOME service for users looking to automate their home lives". MobileSyrup. 2017-08-21. Retrieved 2018-04-05.
- "Directwest enters Saskatchewan's digital out of home ad market". Cartt.ca. Retrieved 2018-05-26.(subscription required)
- Noyes, Jayda. "SaskTel introduces maxTV Stream all-in-one service". 980 CJME. Rawlco Communications. Retrieved 2018-08-22.
- "SaskTel launches new IPTV platform maxTV Stream". Cartt.ca. August 22, 2018. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
- "Roughriders announce 4 major Mosaic Stadium partners". CBC News. Retrieved 2018-04-06.
- "Credit Union Centre to be re-named SaskTel Centre". CBC News. Retrieved 2018-04-05.
- "Credit Union Centre becoming SaskTel Centre". Global News. Retrieved 2018-04-05.
- "Opening day has arrived for 31st annual Saskatchewan Jazz Festival". Global News. Retrieved 2018-04-06.
- "Fuller: What's with the new SaskTel ad campaign?". Saskatoon StarPhoenix. 2016-12-09. Retrieved 2018-04-06.