mtn dishes
Yellow MTN satellite dishes on houses along the N2 highway in Cape Town. Photo: Lukas Wasserman
  • MTN-branded satellite dishes have appeared along the N2 and N7 in Cape Town. 
  • This has sparked speculation that MTN may be branching out into new services.
  • The truth is something else entirely: MTN is repairing communities' dishes for free, and branding them after they are repaired. 
  • Visit Business Insider's home page for more stories.

MTN-branded satellite dishes have popped up along Cape Town highways, sparking questions about whether the cellphone service provider is branching out into new services, possibly even television.

But MTN spokesperson Mthokozisi Ndlovu said the telecommunications giant has been approaching communities along the N2 and N7 near Dunoon from last year to advertise on dishes. 

“Residents are approached to see if they are willing to allow the painting of their dishes and, if necessary, repairs are made to the dish, where the dish is rusted and in need of maintenance,” Ndlovu told Business Insider South Africa. 

He said artisans are also sourced from the local communities to complete the repairs and painting on the dishes.

“This approach has made sure the project ploughs back into the community both in the initial investment and then the ongoing maintenance of the branding,” Ndlovu said. 

“The community involvement has also produced the added benefit of driving down theft and vandalism of the dishes, as community members are taking personal ownership, of their allocated dishes.” 

Also read: Multichoice plans to make 52 local movies the next year - and saw streaming subscriber double

Multichoice said roughly 7.4 million South Africans have DStv which makes use of satellite dishes, or roughly 13% of the country. 

Other local satellite television providers include StarSat which has been operating in South Africa since 2010, as well as OpenView which launched in 2013. 

DStv’s prices start at R265 a month, StartSat at R109 a month, and OpenView has zero monthly fees. 

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