SaskTel CEO Ron Styles Shows How Wireless Pricing Is Totally Unfair

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RON STYLES SASKTEL
Ron Styles, SaskTel's President and CEO, is photographed in Toronto, Ont. Feb. 23, 2012. | CP

REGINA - The CEO of SaskTel says he is heading to Ottawa to argue that new federal regulations are hurting the Crown corporation’s bottom line.

SaskTel has released its annual report showing net income of $90.1 million.

That number is expected to drop next year to $59.2 million — and that's raising concerns on the part of company president Ron Styles.

He says prices in provinces with four carriers, such as Saskatchewan, are much lower than in provinces where only the three large carriers do business.

SaskTel released data showing that Rogers (TSX:RCI.B), Telus (TSX:T) and Bell (TSX:BCE) charge $145 a month for national cell packages that cost between $65 and $75 in Saskatchewan.

Styles says he won’t go as far to accuse the larger companies of anti-competition pricing and he doesn't plan to file a formal complaint.

“We just need to make our case ... that some of the things they are putting in place ... are having unintended consequences,” Styles said as he outlined the position he will take when he meets with federal government officials on Thursday.

Don McMorris, minister responsible for SaskTel, said he plans to bring the issue up politically.

“We’ll look at the next steps to ensure the federal government understands the position it’s put us in,” he said.

The annual report showed SaskTel reached $1.2 billion in total revenue in 2013.

Highlights included the company's maxTV surpassing 100,000 customers, which led to a $10-million increase in revenues from 2012.

Saskatchewan residents also continued to convert to smartphones. The number of data capable devices jumped to more than 410,000 — an increase of almost 17 per cent. That led to a $17.6-million revenue jump for wireless services

The following graphic highlighting wireless price differences between Ontario and the Prairies was prepared by tech blogger Peter Nowak.

bell wireless prices chart

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