Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

What Does SingTel’s EPL Win Mean

20071222557If SingTel plays their cards right, I think they’re going to win lots of customers. Their win of the English Premier League broadcast rights in Singapore last week surprised many people. The immediate reaction of most people was one of worry of how much it would cost them to watch soccer in the coming years. It costs quite a lot to watch soccer with StarHub. Will they have to pay just as much with SingTel? Or perhaps more, considering that SingTel must have put in a very high bid to win the rights, and would thus naturally have to recoup their investments? Many people were concerned that the telco competition could spell trouble for consumers.

Well, SingTel has announced their prices, and it seems they’re playing fair. Their prices are reasonable. You just need to pay to watch EPL if that’s all you want, and it will cost just $24.61 (inclusive of GST). No need to sign up any basic tier. You will have to get (and pay) for a phone line though.

A couple of years ago, it would be taken for granted that every household would have a SingTel phone line anyway. But nowadays, that is no longer the case. Some households either have no fixed phone lines at all, or they’ve gone to StarHub’s Digital Voice. So it will cost a nominal one-time cost to prep up your home for MioTV (that’s SingTel’s pay TV service), not unlike the setup, activation and installation charges for StarHub cable TV, as well as a monthly subscription for the phone line, which is much less than the basic tier of channels for StarHub’s cable TV.

It sounds like SingTel fixed phone lines are going to have a comeback, at least for people who have to have MioTV.

I’m sure the fixed phone line business doesn’t turn over a big profit. But look at how StarHub has been cleverly bundling cable TV, fixed/mobile broadband, and fixed/mobile phone services. SingTel has been loosing ground. Most people don’t really care about MioTV. For fixed broadband and mobile phone services, most people just go to wherever the best deal is. StarHub has the upper hand of bundling with cable TV, as their cable TV does offer good programmes. I imagine SingTel will use their EPL win to their advantage to win over not just soccer fans, but also mobile phone and fixed broadband users.

So with SingTel and StarHub offering somewhat equivalent range of services, I’m sure we’ll see competition heating up. This ought to be good for consumers.

M1 will be in trouble.

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