Why charge so much for cricket subscription, then fail to deliver?

I, too, am extremely unhappy that the Indian Premier League (IPL) is not being televised live here this year ("Fans livid no 'live' IPL but telcos cite high costs"; Monday, and "Allow more players in cricket broadcast market" by Mr Jairam Amrith; Tuesday).

I called StarHub's customer service hotline last Saturday - the day the IPL started - to ask which channel I would be able to watch the matches on.

I was told that Singtel had exclusive rights to televise the event, and therefore, StarHub was not able to.

If this is true, did Singtel violate the cross-carriage rules by not sharing the rights with StarHub customers?

I heard from my friends who subscribe to Singtel that the IPL was listed, though eventually not televised, on Channel 125 (Cricket Plus), which is not part of their cricket package.

Was this special channel created just for the IPL?

Were subscribers expected to pay more to subscribe to this channel just for this event?

Singtel and StarHub cite high costs as the reason for not televising the IPL.

Cricket fans are already paying much more than other sports lovers.

For example, on StarHub, the sports package, which includes 12 channels, costs $21.40 a month.

In contrast, the cricket package of only three channels costs $32.10.

Why push fans to subscribe to a cricket package when we cannot be sure of watching all the major cricket events?

While online live streaming is available, it is not of reliable quality and some sites are unavailable in Singapore.

StarHub's and Singtel's actions are unacceptable.

I hope the Media Development Authority will take some action to protect sports fans.

In a small market like Singapore, we cannot have too many service providers.

Therefore, it falls upon the regulator to protect consumers' interests.

Seetha Sharma (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 14, 2016, with the headline 'Why charge so much for cricket subscription, then fail to deliver?'. Print Edition | Subscribe