Letter: Irate former Astro subscriber blasts its new inflationary packages

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Dear Mum and Dad,

I was surprised to hear that you cancelled your Astro subscription. I must, however, commend you both on your wise decision to quit this blood-sucking pay-TV mosquito. I think that all smart Astro subscribers will do likewise, given the latest price increase slated for July 11, 2011.

Unfortunately, as long as Astro has a pay-TV licence monopoly from the government (until 2017), you can bet that they are going to keep increasing their prices without improving the quality of their programmes.

To put things in perspective: you’re currently paying RM71.95 (inclusive of 5 percent government tax) for your monthly subscription, which includes the sports package. Before this, in 2009, you were paying RM49.95 per month for the same package (a shocking RM21 increase!).

This year, from July 11 onwards, the cheapest Astro package with sports content will cost RM94.90 (exclusive of 6 percent government tax). That is a whopping 32 percent increase in subscription fees without even factoring in the 6 percent government tax!

RM94.90 x 12 months = RM1,138.80 per year (before tax) for reruns and old shows! Talk about daylight robbery.

RM1,138.80 / RM12 per basic movie ticket = you could watch 94 of the latest movies at the cinema per year! Much better than paying Astro for reruns and old shows.

In comparison, pay-TV subscribers in India only pay RM10 to RM20 per month for around 150 to 200 channels of satellite content. Compare this to Astro’s measely basic package of  30+ channels, which funnily enough includes free-to-air channels such as 8TV and TV3, which you don’t need Astro to watch.

It will be interesting to see what happens to Astro in 2017, once its pay-TV license monopoly ends.

In the meantime, congrats again on your wise decision! It is Astro’s loss, not yours.

Your Loving Son

PS Remember to sell off the Astro decoder and satellite dish as scrap, you might get a few dollars.