THUNDER BAY — Tbaytel and Rogers Communications clearly believe they have a mutually beneficial working relationship.
Tbnewswatch has learned that, nine years after they first signed a business agreement, the two companies have quietly renewed their partnership for another 20 years.
Unlike in March, 2010, when the parties issued a joint statement announcing a strategic business relationship, there was no public disclosure of their decision to keep working together for at least two more decades.
Details of the agreement are under wraps.
Tbaytel CEO Dan Topatigh says "We have disclosure limitations."
In an interview Tuesday, he noted that the original deal was set for 10 years.
"I think both parties realized that there were some aspects of the agreement that would benefit from reopening it and extending it for a longer term. It allows for the advancement of technology as that continues to change. And in the wireless side of the business, it moves at a very quick pace," Topatigh said.
He added that Rogers is a good partner for Tbaytel "in terms of being able to add scale. You know, we need solutions such as international roaming, North American roaming, and they provide that to us."
For Rogers, the benefit comes from its own customers obtaining coverage through Tbaytel's wireless infrastructure extending across some 300,000 square kilometres of northern Ontario.
"It's a more capital-efficient way of doing business for both companies," Topatigh said.
Tbaytel on Tuesday also released its annual report for 2018.
The company generated about $193 million in revenue, $2 million more than in 2017.
Last year, however, its dividend payment to the city—$17.5 mllion—was a million dollars less than in 2017.
The current annual fixed dividend is $17.5 million, but in 2017 Tbaytel supplemented the set amount with a special dividend and a performance dividend that brought the total payment to about $18.5 million.
A company spokesperson said that, beyond the fixed dividend, additional payments are determined on a year-by-year basis in consultation with the city, "so Tbaytel does not always contribute extra."
The company has already committed to paying an extra dividend of $500,000 for 2019.