SaskTel announced that August 8th, 2014 marked the 25th anniversary of the launch of cellular service to Saskatchewan. The achievement is significant considering how access to cellular technology has revolutionized our lives substantially- changing how we work, play, live and connect to our world. Although not without significant challenges that have detracted competitors, SaskTel has built a network that serves 98% of the province - despite it’s over 250,000 square miles of geography, large rural-base, and widely dispersed population.
“In 25 short years, SaskTel has built and maintained multiple cellular network technologies - some of the largest and most extensive in the world,” said Kevin Doherty, Minister Responsible for SaskTel. “By continually upgrading to keep pace with the latest technology, SaskTel has been able to provide people of this province with world class cellular service which has always been a priority for the Government of Saskatchewan.”
“Cellular service and network access has allowed Saskatchewan people to become citizens of our global world,” said Ron Styles, SaskTel President and CEO. “We are very proud to have brought a technology to this province that enriches the social, economic, personal and business opportunities of all residents, and has fundamentally changed the way we live.”
Launching with an AMPS (Advanced Mobile Phone Technology) analog network in 1989, SaskTel was the first provider in Saskatchewan to offer cellular service, and would be the only provider building infrastructure for cellular networks in the province for well over a decade.
In 1998, SaskTel digitalized the infrastructure, introducing the new CDMA network, (Code Division Multiple Access) with capable download speeds of up to 0.4-0.8 Mbps. By 2005, SaskTel innovated again when they launched EVDO network technology, (Evolution Data Optimized) thereby increasing available download speeds to up to 1Mbps, more than double the speed CDMA could offer.
Only 5 short years later in 2010, SaskTel introduced what was then a 3G network, evolving toward the 4G network it would become by 2012, boasting download speeds of 1.5-7 Mbps. Although another major upgrade to an already extensive network in just a few short years, it was viewed as a step toward the future, paving the way for the next advancement of wireless, LTE (Long Term Evolution). The 4G LTE network was launched by SaskTel in 2013, and brings available download speeds of up to 7-15 Mbps.
In 2012, in a province with just over a million people, SaskTel celebrated their 600,000th wireless customer. Since 2008, SaskTel has spent approximately over a billion dollars on the core Saskatchewan network.