SaskTell year-end numbers dip amid changing market

SaskTel's logo. (Courtesy SaskTel)

Bianca Bharti, Daily Herald

Facing pressures from the private sector, changing consumer behaviours and a one-off payout, SaskTel’s revenue took a dip for the 2017-18 year, according to their annual report released Wednesday.

The Crown corporation missed their 2017-18 revenue and net income targets, according to the annual report. It brought in $1.25 billion in revenue with a target of $1.32 billion but its net income was just shy. With a target of $122.1 million, the telecommunications company brought in $121 million for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2018.

“We are continually adapting our operations to face the new realities of new technologies and a competitive marketplace,” said Michelle Englot, spokesperson for SaskTel.

For the fiscal year, the company paid $89.8 million in dividends to the Crown Investment Corporation.

SaskTel currently controls up to 67 per cent of the market in the province and private companies are pricing their products lower to attract more of the market share.

Its biggest revenue generator, wireless services, decreased 2.7 per cent due to a “one-time negotiation of a wholesale contract,” according to the report. Wireless services brought in $526.5 million in the 2016-17 fiscal year and this year, it dropped to $512.5 million.

The renegotiation was a deal struck up between SaskTel and other providers that roam on corporation’s network, Englot said. Due to a non-disclosure agreement, Englot did not outline who the providers are.

SaskTel’s second largest revenue source increased this year. The maxTV service, internet and data services brought in $349.4 million in revenue, up by 3.5 per cent year over year.

Legacy, wirelined services continue to drop as consumers increasingly opt for wireless services, “a trend that SaskTel expects to continue,” the report said.

To boost infrastructure, $250.8 million was spent on property, plant and equipment. It includes an upgrade to fibre optic networks in the province’s nine major centres, expansion on wireless 4G, LTE and wifi networks and expanding access to rural areas.

Looking to the future, the company implemented 34 Fusion interNET towers to expand wireless, high-speed coverage in rural communities. It will also look at expanding services, such as home security features, business packages and on-the-go television services.

Despite the declines, SaskPower is happy with the results. “It was a very solid year. We’re very pleased with the net income result and our operating revenue,” Englot said.