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SaskTel CEO Ron Styles, seen in 2012, says the federal government ‘should be thinking about the fourth carriers across Canada,’ not just Wind Mobile and Mobilicity.Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

A new report says the takeover of Manitoba Telecom Services by Bell poses risks to Saskatchewan's provincially owned telecommunications company.

The analysis for SaskTel, conducted by Mark H. Goldberg & Associates Inc., says the fundamental risk is that a fewer number of carriers in Manitoba could prompt federal government policy change.

One possibility is that it could cost more for SaskTel to bid on the newly repurposed broadcast spectrum 600MHz band than it would for national carriers.

The report notes that in the 2014 auction of the 700MHz spectrum, most of the space ended up being acquired by one of Rogers, Bell or Telus in virtually every region.

There are further concerns that Ottawa could back away from a stated objective to have four wireless carriers operating in every market.

The report says there's also risk that establishing Winnipeg as a western headquarters for Bell could lead to an erosion of SaskTel's share of the Saskatchewan business market.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said last month that he wanted to know how vulnerable SaskTel is as the last provincially owned telecommunications company. He said he wanted to know if the MTS takeover means anything in terms of SaskTel's competitiveness.

The premier said the risk analysis does not mean the province is eyeing a move to sell SaskTel, which is protected under legislation.

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