Converting from Astro to NJOI (not so easy)

With the mounting higher rate of inflation due to implementation of GST in April 2015 and terrible weakening of the Ringgit exchange rate from late 2015, I have decided on some austerity exercise to see what expenses I can reduce.

Currently I’m using a shared service with a relative which helped to reduce 25% of the monthly subscription. How to do this is by subscribing for the 50% off for the second decoder, taking the total subscription fee and divide by two. That worked well for many years. If you still plan to enjoy the various movies and TV show offerings, that’s one of the way to cut monthly cost. Astro knows many people are doing this though they frown upon it. In their clause it was also stated that the second decoder should be situated in the same house. That didn’t prevent people from trying to find a solution to reduce their expenses.

However, my relative has been busy with work and have not time to watch Astro satellite TV shows. As for myself, though enjoyed watching movies, I have decided it was time to find a lower cost solution for my movie fix. So it was time to say goodbye to the Astro subscription.

But I still have the good old decoder, and decided to explore the free Astro service called NJOI. The channels are limited and if you do want to watch certain premium channels, you could subscribe to it using a prepaid subscription. Actually the cost is higher if you do subscribe to those channels, but if you don’t have the time and wish to reduce expenses, just taking the free NJOI service will suffice.

When this service first came about way back in 2012, it was very easy to subscribe to it. My Dad had no issues converting from his terminated Astro account to a NJOI account. Just paid something like RM99 application fee to get a new smartcard and that was it. That was some issues, like the service terminating or suspending. We found out that he needs to constantly switch on the decoder and view some shows to avoid account suspension.

Now, there is a lot condition and barriers for converting from Astro to NJOI service.

In the past, just pay RM99 for the application fee, get the smartcard, and you are done! Now, no way. A recent posting that I found in the Low Yat Forum:

If you are requesting to convert to Njoi, please keep the site and there is a RM 199.00 processing fee to downgrade your Astro subscription to enjoy. In addition, Njoi customers supposed to pay and own the decoder. Therefore, you need to pay RM 228.00 for the cost of the decoder and accessories if you want to convert to Njoi. This refers to your current decoder that you are using as these items belong to Astro.

Please refer the breakdown of the payment if you are agreeing to convert to enjoy the services:

Conversion fees : RM 210.94 (after tax)
Current set : RM 241.68 (after tax)
Total : RM 452.62 (after tax)

Your sincerely,

Firdaus
SRU Customer Care
Oct 7 2015

I wonder why they want you to pay for your current set. As far as I know, it belonged to you. They didn’t take back the set when you terminate your account. In fact I have 2 sets, one belonged to my wife when she terminated her account and one for the shared account with my relative. And they didn’t charge my dad for it either when he converted way back when they promoted their NJOI service.

Initially when I went to the Astro counter in IPC and requested for the NJOI application for the smartcard, they came back with a barrage of condition and fees similar to the above customer care. As such I felt that Astro being a monopoly for satellite TV didn’t care so much in retaining their customers as their user base is growing.

That position would be slowly undermined in the future with online streaming service such as iflix, netflix and HyppTV (HyppTV is not exactly streaming but close enough). However Astro is king for sport channels, local content and to a certain extent, the Hong Kong TV serials. Since I don’t care so much for those content, I’m part of the group that prefer watching movies. The alternative online streaming content with a low subscription price suits me just fine!

Oh, one more thing. You will need to give one month notice to terminate your Astro account. After termination, if Astro is serious in retaining their customers, they should offer the NJOI account without paying a hefty fee. And if they don’t come back with the counter-offer? Well you can leave the idiot box idle for awhile. On the other hand, if you are a Unifi VIP customer, you could still watch some local content from HyppTV and some movies and TV series with iflix for free (till December 2016).

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