Star Offers Cheapest TV Option

And it comes straight from the sky, no need for cable or phone lines

BY ANDY FRIESE

In 2015, Star TV launched its satellite  television service that began in the Mexican state of Zacatecas, where production of the hardware takes place, and then expanded to other states of the country where SKY and Dish are not readily available. That is their niche: Underserved areas, which, believe it or not, includes Los Cabos.

Satellite television is a service that delivers television programming to viewers by relaying it from a communications satellite orbiting the Earth directly to the viewer's location. With no telephone lines, no cable. The signals are received via an outdoor dish hanging off the home or commercial business.

Parent company Eutelsat  is a European satellite operator with corporate offices in Paris, France and providing service for the entire European continent, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Americas. This is no small potatoes, Eutelsat, founded in 1977, is the world's third largest satellite operator and one of the most experienced and popular communication satellite operators on the planet. Star TV distributes its contents from three satellites owned by Telefónica, Eutelsat and EchoStar.

Star TV's lowest basic Nova package costs about $8 per month, and includes 56 channels. The 72 channel Supernova package costs $11 while the Cosmo package is priced at $14 for 84 channels. Yes, we’re talking dollars here. These are very good prices.

The highest priced packages consists of the 76 channel Star premium package, ($18), which includes all the bells and whistles along with the 87 channel Cosmo Plus ($20)) that features the same HBO family of HBO2, and Max. And of course, there's the 95 channel Universal package available at $25. The same packages for an additional household television is priced at $3.50 plus tax; and you can have as many as three TV's per home.

Comparatively, a Megacable service with internet costs $30. US. With Telmex, the price of service with just internet of 10 megs is $17 with 20 megs offered at $20. These prices explain why Star is growing so fast.

The exceptional power levels of the satellite allow for the shared use by clients that offer Direct Television Home services. The satellite orbiting earth was strengthened during 2016 after launching another satellite co-located with Eutelsat to support growth in the Americas.

"Thanks to the Telecommunications Reform that has been carried out by the Mexican government, and the spirit of the Federal Institute of Telecommunications to promote competition, there is an opportunity to provide an alternative service of satellite television," said Julio Di-Bella, CEO of Star Group.

Star TV has been looking to grow in an industry currently dominated by Sky (Televisa and AT&T) and Dish (MVS and Echostar). There are 38 - 40% Mexican households who lack a paid TV subscription in this country, and that’s where Star is looking. In 2014 Star TV announced an agreement with EKT, a designer and manufacturer of set-top-boxes and SmarTVs, and began to manufacture equipment in Zacatecas, in order to offer a more cost effective alternative to cable, and satellite TV.

Richard Smith , CEO of EKT, added that, “although it is never easy to transfer production from one side of the world to the other, we believe that the local facilities in Zacatecas; along with the support of the Star TV team and our local engineers in place, will allow us to build without any production problems in Mexico."

The Sky TV company publicly announced their move into the Los Cabos market this past September during a Cabo Mil radio interview. The Sky TV offices, open to the public, are on the ground floor of Patio Los Cabos, on the highway leading from San Lucas towards Todos Santos.

Federico Jauregui, manager of Star TV in Baja California Sur, said during the radio interview that, "We have satellite television, the best programming at the lowest cost that exists; The advantages we have is that the service is personalized. There is no need to install and pay for an external telephone, it all comes direct from satellite.'' This may be why they are concentrating their efforts now in outlying areas, not city center.

They also offer friendly payment and prepayment options. "People can sign up for a month and if they like the service, they simply pay again. A contract is made for renting the equipment, but they can pay from month to month until the time they want. We earn the right that the client wants to continue our relationship. For example, if a client hires us in September, and goes on vacation in October, he notifies us and we stop the service and we do not charge him for those days." Perfect for the foreign community, or anyone who in and outs. Sky TV payments can be made at any Oxxo (plus a commission), or with no extra charges/commission at Elektra, Telecomm, and Citicbanamex. Small payment fees are also added when paying Sky TV at Circle K convenience stores, Farmaciasd Ahorra, and Farmacias Benavides.

The Sky TV satellite coverage also beams in to the southern USA and into some South of Mexico countries like Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama and Cuba.

The strategy of offering services in underserved markets has allowed Star TV to get 100,000 subscriptions only two years after popping up in the business and beginning at a not so good time for the peso.

Star TV is in a market already near saturation of more than 60% by Sky of Grupo Televisa and Dish of MVS Comunicaciones via satellite and by other major brands via cable, such as Izzi Telecom, and Megacable. Prices of getting TV have been increasing double-digit since September 2015, when Axtel, followed by Megacable and the Televisa cable companies, began to raise the prices of their packages.

''We focus on the south-central part of the country; in those areas difficult to access, where nobody else has been able nor wanted to go. This has been going in our favor, because we will grow even more in the Internet division.

The fact Sky and Dish are leading this competitive market can be a huge challenge but at Star TV, they are happy to have the market. They are opening the market to those communities where there is not nor has been satellite or cable TV and are now in 25 states. Star is not available in Mexico City and therein lies why Star TV is in Los Cabos: To reach the hard to access places and reach those 40% of the local market that still do not have pay TV in their homes. The long term goal at Star TV is adding satellite Internet to their services.

For more information please visit their website at http://startvmexico.com.mx/call toll free 01 800 700 STAR (7827). In Cabo 624 688-7274. Los Cabos offices are at Avenida Brisas Plaza Patio, Cabo San Lucas.