Three southwestern Saskatchewan communities will be receiving notable upgrades to their 4G LTE networks soon.

SaskTel made the announcement yesterday that Leader, Gravelbourg, and Hodgeville are amongst 30 rural communities that will have Samsung Radio Access Network equipment installed by early 2023.

Greg Jacobs, the external communications manager for SaskTel, said these communities already have the 4G LTE network but these improvements to existing infrastructure will increase the capacity for users in the area.

"This is important if you're using a data session whether you're streaming Netflix, surfing the web, or doing some other data-intensive activity, the more capacity the tower has, the smoother the experience will be for them," he said.

The Crown corporation will invest about $10 million across the 30 communities for the enhancements that are expected to all be complete by the end of March 2023.

"Some might take a little bit longer just because of global supply chain shortages, in particular pieces of equipment have created some challenges in the past," he said. "Hopefully none of that impacts the project but there is always that risk."

SaskTel plans to have the upgrade done in Leader by the end of the year but didn't have a timeline in place for Gravelbourg or Hodgeville.

"We're always monitoring the performance of our network and so we know when some sites are starting to get congested and they need upgrades and improvements and that's really what this is," he explained. "For the last five to 10 years we've been making similar upgrades in other parts of the province as needed and we will continue to do that as we offer 4G LTE service."

Jacobs did hint that 5G networking from SaskTel would be coming in the near future.