MDA: SingTel should have foreseen ruling

Contesting the decision made by MDA asking SingTel to share English Premier League rights with rival StarHub, SingTel has ceased all sales of its Sports + basic football package from Wednesday.

MDA has remained steadfast on its ruling, saying the cross-carriage measure has been widely consulted upon before it came into effect and SingTel cannot claim to be unaware of the policy objectives and requirements of the cross-carriage measure.

"In negotiating the BPL contract, SingTel would have taken into account commercial and legal risks including the possibility that the cross-carriage measure may be triggered," a spokesperson from MDA told Marketing.

He added that SingTel also would have taken into consideration the possibility of BPL content being "rendered as Qualified Content", and the implications it would then have on pricing.

Allen Lew, CEO of SingTel's digital life unit said that customers who wish to watch BPL on its own will most likely have to "pay significantly higher monthly fees" as it did not make sense for the operator to subsidise its competitors customers.

MDA responded that "the setting of prices for consumers is a matter of commercial consideration by SingTel."

The cross-carriage measure only allows the pay-TV retailer an outlet to supply the content to a wider subscription base and make available other commercial offerings to monetise this content, he explained.

Under the ruling by MDA, StarHub cable TV subscribers could watch the next three seasons of EPL matches by paying SingTel for the channel subscription. Consumers no longer need to switch cable operators to watch the matches.

According to StarHub when it had the exclusive broadcast rights to UEFA EURO 2012, ‘live' matches, it paid the cross carriage fee to reach out to SingTel consumers.