SuperSun undercuts rivals with $198 offer

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 August, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 August, 2005, 12:00am

Pay-television services could be pitched into another round of price competition following the rate discount being marketed by SuperSun, the pay-television business of Television Broadcasts (TVB).

SuperSun earlier began marketing a bundled broadband and pay-television plan in partnership with Hutchison Whampoa's fixed-line business, Hutchison Global Communications (HGC), at $248 a month for an 18-month contract.

Market watchers said at the time the pricing was not attractive compared with those of rivals such as i-Cable Communications and PCCW Now Broadband TV, which offered similar bundled packages at between $160 and $249 a month but with different channel combinations.

SuperSun responded by quietly lowering its subscription price to $198 a month.

The pay-television operator, which has the exclusive rights to carry six TVB local channels, has started luring users in housing estates by offering the plan in selective regions such as Tin Shui Wai, Ho Man Tin and Tsuen Wan.

The $198 tariff offer is also open to HGC residential broadband customers.

Users signing up for the plan enjoy all basic channels and unlimited access to broadband internet but they need to commit to 24-month contracts and pay a monthly rental of $15 for the set-top box.

A market source said the plan was being promoted below the line and was offered under direct sales only. Cold-calling the customer hotline of both SuperSun and HGC would only elicit the standard tariff plan, the source said.

'We don't want to compete on price but on the channel offering as well,' the source said, adding the company had no plan to cut the price across the board.

A media analyst said: 'The price cut by SuperSun may be due to competition in broadband services since broadband penetration in Hong Kong is over 60 per cent.'

However, since the operator secured HGC's last-mile access to more than one million households, i-Cable and PCCW have launched a new wave of promotions to counter their smaller rival.

I-Cable offers its broadband and pay-television bundling plan at $249 a month for a basic package that includes football programmes or about $160 per month without such programmes.

PCCW recently strengthened its dominant position in movie programmes by securing five exclusive movie channels such as HBO.