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  #21  
Old Posted Aug 25, 2016, 9:05 PM
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^You somewhat hinted at it, but another thing to consider is that the big 3 use off-shore call centres, so don't have the same internal staffing levels Sasktel has (money stays in province and the salaries taxed by the government as well). "We" don't actually pay Sasktel employees as much as their salary would indicate, the province claws back their tax bracket before it goes out. If the jobs are lost (and, let's be honest, most of them would be), they would likely be done at the head office, in another province, where that province would tax the salaries.

Also keep in mind that Sasktel has a slightly lower profit margin, while at the same time providing a larger coverage area (for the most part, especially per capita), unlimited internet, and cheaper mobile plans by almost a half. If Sasktel charged big-3 style Ontario rates here (without Sasktel for competition, that's what we would pay), their profit margin would be absolutely massive. You'd nearly double the revenue, but the expenses wouldn't really change, so all that additional revenue would be profit... Clearly there is a lot of waste somewhere or some extremely non-profitable operations within the big 3...

Last edited by Nathan; Aug 25, 2016 at 9:16 PM.
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  #22  
Old Posted Aug 25, 2016, 9:08 PM
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Everytime I've called Rogers lately, they've said "this is Joe in Sarnia" or some other Canadian sounding person. Speaking to me in strong english. there was a guy of African decent with a strong accent one time. But also in Sarnia. Which I liked because for years it was sandeep in Delhi or equivalent.
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  #23  
Old Posted Aug 25, 2016, 9:51 PM
Festivus Festivus is offline
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Originally Posted by bomberjet View Post
Everytime I've called Rogers lately, they've said "this is Joe in Sarnia" or some other Canadian sounding person. Speaking to me in strong english. there was a guy of African decent with a strong accent one time. But also in Sarnia. Which I liked because for years it was sandeep in Delhi or equivalent.
Better in Canada than elsewhere, but also better in Saskatchewan than anywhere else in Canada. People say that it's a negative that Sasktel employs so many here, and that they get paid so well...but that's a huge positive for the province, as the money stays in the province. If those jobs are eliminated after a buy-out, rates aren't going to go down, they will go up instead, and now the jobs are lost. There is no plausible scenario in which a buy-out creates more jobs for the province, or where more money stays here (unlike what Brad Wall suggested in his scrum where he said it would help solve the job situation in Regina).
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  #24  
Old Posted Aug 25, 2016, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by micheal View Post
I agree with selling sasktel. Bloaded public sector company. 4100 employees. With 1000 of those being managers. The taxpayer has 100% exposed liability. With Telus and Bell fighting for market share we are in a good position to get top dollar. 4-5 billion.

Also as a side note: Saskatchewan has a dept/gdp ratio of around 7-8%. For all those people crying about our finances. We're in pretty good shape overall.
Honest question: even if Sasktel is bloated, why do you care? They provide better coverage, better customer service, higher data caps, and they're still able to run a profit every year despite constantly updating their infrastructure and charging customers half the price.

So you'd rather have one of the big 3 take it over, jack up the rates, send those massive profits out of province, lay everyone off, and have all of those good paying jobs vanish to call centres in India and headquarters in Ontario or Alberta? What exactly is the upside of that?
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  #25  
Old Posted Aug 25, 2016, 10:50 PM
Festivus Festivus is offline
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Originally Posted by ReginaGuy View Post
Honest question: even if Sasktel is bloated, why do you care? They provide better coverage, better customer service, higher data caps, and they're still able to run a profit every year despite constantly updating their infrastructure and charging customers half the price.

So you'd rather have one of the big 3 take it over, jack up the rates, send those massive profits out of province, lay everyone off, and have all of those good paying jobs vanish to call centres in India and headquarters in Ontario or Alberta? What exactly is the upside of that?
He may be someone who ideologically is opposed to government-involvement in the free market, I've seen a few of those who want a sale no matter the damage. You can find their equivalents on the other side who champion keeping public liquor boards at the expense of customer choice and lower prices. The issue is that people like that (on both sides) believe that their ideology fits all examples, when in fact a more pragmatic approach is necessary.

Sometimes public things are better private (liquor boards, in terms of selection and price), and others are better public (utilities). Ideology does fit 100% of the time, but the human brain is wired to pick a "team," and people often fall into the trap of wanting their team to win at all costs, which means the can support things that go against their own self-interest.
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  #26  
Old Posted Aug 25, 2016, 11:46 PM
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Originally Posted by ReginaGuy View Post
Honest question: even if Sasktel is bloated, why do you care? They provide better coverage, better customer service, higher data caps, and they're still able to run a profit every year despite constantly updating their infrastructure and charging customers half the price.

So you'd rather have one of the big 3 take it over, jack up the rates, send those massive profits out of province, lay everyone off, and have all of those good paying jobs vanish to call centres in India and headquarters in Ontario or Alberta? What exactly is the upside of that?
I care because it comes out of mine and your pocket. The taxpayer. I care because the taxpayer carry's 100% of the pension liability and debt. It's not the governments responsibility to create jobs but to foster a good economic environment through sound policy. We don't live in the 1920's. There was a time and a place but those days are gone. It's the private sector that creates wealth and tax revenue for governments. The public sector has proven time and time again that it is inefficient and heavily laded bureaucracy . Thus affecting our, the citizens and taxpayers of this province, ability to receive a higher ROI.

Last edited by micheal; Aug 25, 2016 at 11:50 PM. Reason: Spelling
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  #27  
Old Posted Aug 25, 2016, 11:59 PM
Dougler306 Dougler306 is offline
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I agree with the selling as well and for the dividend that would be missed each year. Correct me if im wrong, but if tax payers are using tax dollars to run this company, wouldn't those tax dollars just go straight to the government coffers each year now instead? So the missing out on a dividend doesn't really apply
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  #28  
Old Posted Aug 26, 2016, 1:18 AM
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Last edited by jigglysquishy; Nov 18, 2016 at 1:43 AM.
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  #29  
Old Posted Aug 26, 2016, 1:25 AM
BrutallyDishonest2 BrutallyDishonest2 is offline
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Originally Posted by ReginaGuy View Post
Honest question: even if Sasktel is bloated, why do you care? They provide better coverage, better customer service, higher data caps, and they're still able to run a profit every year despite constantly updating their infrastructure and charging customers half the price.
The main problem with SaskTel is that you can never really tell their proper profit. Their infrastructure budgets from the legislature not directly from their own coffers. That is, if Rogers wants to put up towers they budget it. If SaskTel wants towers the government pays for them then they give the government future profits, assuming they exist. Also, Telus has more of Alberta covered than SaskTel does of Saskatchewan.

SaskTel's home internet prices are nothing to get excited about either.

The other thing is that I really don't care if every farmer has coverage. It's the same way with the STC, people who choose to live in the middle over nowhere should not have their way of lives subsidized by urban taxpayers.

And yet, I like paying $55 for 5GB phone plans so SaskTel can stay as far as I'm concerned. It sure as hell wouldn't be the first crown I'd privatize. (SLGA, STC, SGCC, SaskGaming, GTH)
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  #30  
Old Posted Aug 26, 2016, 1:28 AM
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SaskTel, the government-owned telecommunications company, generated $90.1 million in profit last year, of which the province is taking $81.1 million as a dividend.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskat...dend-1.2604644

This is an article from 2014 but I'd bet the numbers are similar since then. The article I read in the last few days didn't list specific numbers for Sasktel which I'm sure was very intentional. The government has been taking big chunks from the crowns for a while. (For SaskPower, I suspect it really impedes their ability to invest in infrastructure but that's another conversation.) So if they sell Sasktel, where is that money going to come from? That's a long term revenue source and I don't see a Big3 telecom paying corporate tax at that sort of level.
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  #31  
Old Posted Aug 26, 2016, 1:31 AM
BrutallyDishonest2 BrutallyDishonest2 is offline
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Originally Posted by StealthGirl View Post
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskat...dend-1.2604644

This is an article from 2014 but I'd bet the numbers are similar since then. The article I read in the last few days didn't list specific numbers for Sasktel which I'm sure was very intentional. The government has been taking big chunks from the crowns for a while. (For SaskPower, I suspect it really impedes their ability to invest in infrastructure but that's another conversation.) So if they sell Sasktel, where is that money going to come from? That's a long term revenue source and I don't see a Big3 telecom paying corporate tax at that sort of level.
Well a sale would be the equivalent of like 49 years of that dividend. (A major simplification, but that's the way it would be presented.
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  #32  
Old Posted Aug 26, 2016, 2:03 AM
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Originally Posted by micheal View Post
I care because it comes out of mine and your pocket. The taxpayer. I care because the taxpayer carry's 100% of the pension liability and debt. It's not the governments responsibility to create jobs but to foster a good economic environment through sound policy. We don't live in the 1920's. There was a time and a place but those days are gone. It's the private sector that creates wealth and tax revenue for governments. The public sector has proven time and time again that it is inefficient and heavily laded bureaucracy . Thus affecting our, the citizens and taxpayers of this province, ability to receive a higher ROI.
Pensions have been DC in Saskatchewan for years (definitely in the main crowns at least), so there aren't a huge amount of people left that are either long term employees that didn't convert from the DB plan and are still working or have retired and are now drawing benefits. There is basically no possibility of having some massive unfunded pension liability like the city of Regina or other jurisdictions are concerned about. All employees hired for the last ~40 years have had a pension plan where they put in x% of their salary, the crown corp puts in y%, and whatever the final total is, that's what the employee can use to purchase an annuity or do whatever they want to get their retirement income stream.

The era of DB plans in Saskatchewan crowns is over and the DC pension plan for Sask public employees is actually the largest DC pool of funds in Canada, mostly because every larger pooled fund in Canada is a DB or hybrid plan. Also, because of its size, the Saskatchewan DC plan (Public Employees Pension Plan) is actually one of the leaders in the Canadian industry in terms of innovation in the DC space and they are able to use economies of scale to have very low fees, but allow a very broad array of investment options. It's actually a pretty interesting example of where a "public corporation" can be more efficient due to scale, especially when it is legislated to be an arms length organization.

There is a major caveat though.. it can take decades to unwind a DB plan, so the idea of converting can have a lot of unexpected costs along the way. Plus, if Sasktel did had a massive unfunded pension obligation, you could bet that value and more would be immediately deducted from any offer Robellus would put. We can of course debate the ideology of whether a public or private corporation is more efficient. But let's keep the misinformation out of it.

For the record though, I think it is definitely a case by case basis on whether the public or private is more efficient, and it usually comes down to how much governments interfere with public corporations to suit their aims. Two of the biggest risks are if a government forces artificially low prices to appease the population, or pulls out too much capital so that the corporation is unable to reinvest in further innovation or improvements. The Sask Party, its predecessors, and the NDP have all been guilty of various forms of these manipulations.

As far as Sasktel goes... the government has been interfering a bit more lately by taking such huge dividends vs the actual profits as posted by Stealthgirl, but overall, Sasktel provide's services that are on par and in some ways better (coverage area especially) than similar private sector companies and at a fraction of the cost, while still turning a modest profit... This tells me that even as "bloated" as Sasktel may be, they are making the most of their efficiencies and scale within the Saskatchewan market.

Last edited by Nathan; Aug 26, 2016 at 2:25 AM. Reason: Just a bit of clarification...
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  #33  
Old Posted Aug 26, 2016, 2:05 AM
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Well a sale would be the equivalent of like 49 years of that dividend. (A major simplification, but that's the way it would be presented.
Yup, that's likely the way it'd be sold to the public... but governments almost never invest the funds gained in a way that replicates the future returns they are forgoing.

....
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  #34  
Old Posted Aug 26, 2016, 2:39 AM
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I would agree that SaskTel is the reason why we have lower phone and data rates in Saskatchewan than just about anywhere else in Canada. That competition factor simply can't be underestimated.
I don't know Sasktel that well but let's talk how things are with MTS as they are likely similar.

The issue with the MTS sale boils down to only the wireless side of the business as the sale doesn't change anything else in terms of competition.

On the wireless side BCE's proposed purchase of MTS will be precedent setting. The current federal policy is to intervene in the market to carve out wireless spectrum to facility a fourth national carrier. The BCE proposal would kill that policy.

The other side is the CRTC is undertaking a overall review of wireless in Canada before approval is given to the BCE deal. Public comments start next month but wholesale, which would be needed for MVNO operators, is out of scope..

Separately, Sasktel would likely be facing major infrastructure costs to support increasing broadband speeds and to support 4K TV.

Overall, if a Sasktel deal is tabled the federal government would likely be held until the MTS reviews are completed.
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  #35  
Old Posted Aug 26, 2016, 2:56 AM
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^ The provincial government + people of Saskatchewan (if legislation is followed) would weigh in well in advance of the stage that the federal government or other regulators (CRTC) would give their ruling. But in the case that the Sask Party and the people of Saskatchewan accept a sale, I would agree that the decisions coming out of the MTS sale would likely be applied almost identically.


Also... Sasktel is already investing in the major infrastructure costs to support 4K TV. Sasktel Infinet (Fibre Optic network) has been rolling out for a number of years with all the major cities planned to be serviced by 2020 or something like that. (Major cities as far as Saskatchewan goes). Sasktel was actually a major international innovator in Fibre Optic networking, having the largest commercial network in the world at one point.
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  #36  
Old Posted Aug 26, 2016, 3:08 AM
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The benefits of SaskTel being a local company is both the head office jobs and a network of local suppliers. SaskTel is more likely to buy insurance, marketing services, accounting/auditing, equipment, consultants, vehicles, a host of other services and products from local SK based suppliers. If SaskTel is merged into Bell or Rogers those contracts will be awarded on a national basis out of Toronto. If Telus takes over it is going to be run out of Vancouver.

Best solution would be to sell SaskTel shares on the public market and have some conditions on the corporate entity that keep the head office in SK and limited any one share holder to at most 20% or something. The feds did the same thing when they sold off Air Canada.
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  #37  
Old Posted Aug 26, 2016, 3:32 AM
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  #38  
Old Posted Aug 26, 2016, 3:36 AM
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Originally Posted by BrutallyDishonest2 View Post
The main problem with SaskTel is that you can never really tell their proper profit. Their infrastructure budgets from the legislature not directly from their own coffers. That is, if Rogers wants to put up towers they budget it. If SaskTel wants towers the government pays for them then they give the government future profits, assuming they exist. Also, Telus has more of Alberta covered than SaskTel does of Saskatchewan.
I don't believe this is the case. Are you pulling a few examples from GTH and extrapolating to Sasktel? I would imagine if Sasktel invests in new infrastructure it does so from its own budget or debt obligations.
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  #39  
Old Posted Aug 26, 2016, 3:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Nathan View Post
Yup, that's likely the way it'd be sold to the public... but governments almost never invest the funds gained in a way that replicates the future returns they are forgoing.

....
Exactly. They use the sale to pay off debt and boom, it's all gone and there are still 48 years left without those annual revenues to pay for education/health/roads/take your pick.
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  #40  
Old Posted Aug 26, 2016, 4:05 AM
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I don't believe this is the case. Are you pulling a few examples from GTH and extrapolating to Sasktel? I would imagine if Sasktel invests in new infrastructure it does so from its own budget or debt obligations.
Well for one thing, the government fronted all the money for SaskTel in the first place. That is, it didn't start like a typical business and it doesn't operate like a typical business.

SaskTel gets direct payments from the government all the time.

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SaskTel will invest $220 million in its Saskatchewan network in 2009, which includes $42.4 million from the Government of Saskatchewan for year one of a three year Rural Infrastructure Program.
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