SINGAPORE - The war over English Premier League (EPL) broadcasts has gone mobile.
To sweeten its English football offerings, SingTel has launched an app for its mio TV customers to stream matches live on their tablets and smartphones.
StarHub's pay-TV subscribers can also download the app, called mio TV Go, but they will not be able to stream live content. Instead, they will have to make do with programming schedules and show synopses.
This is because SingTel is not required to share the EPL, which kicks off on Aug 17, with StarHub on mobile platforms, under the Media Development Authority's (MDA) cross-carriage rule.
The rule, which requires pay-TV operators to share exclusive content, applies only to TV.
Last Friday, Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim rejected SingTel's appeal and stood by MDA's order that the telco's latest three-year deal for EPL rights was exclusive.
Hours later, SingTel announced that its stand- alone EPL channels, which will also be offered to StarHub customers, will cost $59.90 each month.
That is nearly twice the price of its previous $34.90 Sports+ bundle, which came with English football, the Champions League and other sports content.
Mio TV customers also now have the option of subscribing to a $64.90 Gold pack, which offers more than 80 channels of entertainment and sports, including EPL. The package, according to SingTel, is worth $164.90.
The monthly subscription fee of $5 for streaming content on Mio TV Go, which will telecast a limited number of matches, played by popular clubs like Manchester United and Liverpool, will also be waived till May next year.
While some fans say they find this mobile add-on useful, many still prefer to catch games on the big screen.
"Mobile access is just dessert. It all comes down to price for the main course," said business development manager Heng Wai Keong, 38.
He is waiting for StarHub to announce its packages before deciding which set-top box to ditch. He has boxes from both SingTel and StarHub at home.
Like Mr Heng, IT engineer Cho Wei Hong, 30, is also waiting for the green camp to fire its salvo. His main concern is platform stability as he was affected by freezing frames and blackouts during mio TV's live telecast of the EPL season finale last year. He said: "I'm not convinced that SingTel can carry the EPL matches properly."
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