author: taylor balfour | news writer
What could a potential sale mean for students?
The potential sale of SaskTel was first brought up back in August of this year when Brad Wall, Saskatchewan’s premier, told CBC Saskatchewan that “[if] we get an offer and we think it generates a significant amount of money for the province…we are at least going to take it to the people.” This would mean that SaskTel, after being sold, would go from being a Crown corporation to a privatized company. However, the idea of a sale is still up in the air and no official conclusion or price has been brought forward. So, what exactly does this entail for SaskTel users and students? What exactly does the potential privatization of SaskTel mean?
Former SaskTel international president, Bill Bruce, worked for the company for 35 years and showed both the pros and the cons for each side, given his experience with SaskTel.
“A plus of not selling it is you’re going to get some money for another little while,” he said. “But the competition is so great now that your revenue is going to go downhill.”
Other popular cellular networks in the country include Telus, Bell, and Rogers, which are available countrywide opposed to SaskTel’s mainly Saskatchewan-oriented services. Naturally, this makes the competition that much greater.
“The con to selling is you lose revenue in the very beginning, but you get that back. The second con would be the rates would go up and the competition will balance it out.”
However, Bruce also acknowledges that there are pros to potentially selling.
“I don’t think it’ll be worth as much money as it is today,” he claims.
The most recent survey from 2014 reported that SaskTel made $90.1 million in its net income and has $1.2 billion in regard to its operating revenues.
“The other pro is the politicians will sell it and pay off our debt,” Bruce claims.
Saskatchewan currently has a debt of $4.1 billion, and Brad Wall suggests that a reason to consider selling would be to eliminate it.
So what does this mean for students? The largest direct impact if sold it would have would be the rise in rates, as well as potential loss of jobs.
“Where are the jobs going to be? Who gets to be boss?” Bruce posed.
Whereas if SaskTel remained public, the province wouldn’t have an opportunity to get out of the debt that has been collected.
“The customers in Saskatchewan are so loyal,” Bruce explains, which has been proven by a Twitter campaign that has been started calling themselves “Save SaskTel,” and claiming in one of their early tweets that “We are here to help prove to you that SaskTel should not be sold to the highest bidder.”
Until we have a clear answer or a clear price, for now it looks like the wait will continue until Brad Wall takes this “to the people,” and SaskTel’s future becomes