More reliable networks will be present in rural areas in the future, as part of a new investment announced back in July from SaskTel.

Multiple rural locations, including Leader, will be upgraded as part of a $10 million initiative from the crown corporation, installing Samsung Radio Access Network capabilities.

That will be headed to 30 communities, with work already begun at some sites.

External Communications Manager Greg Jacobs explains a bit about the upgrades taking place at the towers.

"When you think of a cell tower, there are two things people talk about. They talk about coverage, which is the distance that the signal travels, and then capacity which is how much traffic a tower can hold, similar to a roadway, it can only hold so much traffic."

"So what we're doing is we're converting these towers to Samsung equipment and as part of that we're upgrading the capacity of them so they can handle more traffic, which means that our customers who are served by these towers will experience a more reliable and smoother connection that's not hampered by congestion."

SaskTel expects those upgrades to be 100%  or more, meaning that traffic at these towers will be more than doubled in some cases.

Those upgrades are expected to be done by the end of winter 2023 - though that could change.

"Generally speaking we try to upgrade a tower all in one go, we don't want to have to visit the tower multiple times, we want to go out there, make the upgrades, then move to the next site.

"Just with the way things are right now, with global supply chain shortages there might be some current unforeseen delays, which is why we anticipate the majority will be done before the end of our fiscal year which is end of March 2023," said Jacobs, "However, some may take a little bit longer just depending some of the unforeseen challenges that do arise from time to time."

SaskTel also published a table of all the different communities which will be receiving the upgrade:


Table of communities getting 4G LTE upgrades