An original simplified mathematical model is proposed that describes the distribution of a harmonic electromagnetic field at a commercial frequency in steel-reinforced high-voltage cables with helically stranded single-layer winding. In the framework of the idealized physical concepts on which the proposed model is based, stranded conductors are treated as an anisotropic conducting layer. It is shown that taking into account the helical twist of conductors leads to the appearance of an axial magnetic field, the presence of which can significantly influence the level of ac losses. The model has been used to calculate the dependence of the internal impedance on the magnetic permeability of the steel core for commercial AS-70 grade steel-reinforced stranded aluminum cable. The results are compared to those obtained using a hollow cylinder model and full-scale numerical calculations using the finite element method.