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MultiChoice to take legal action against subscribers & operators involved in access of DStv South Africa

For years, MultiChoice Zimbabwe, the local franchise for Africa’s largest subscription TV service, has been struggling with the rampant practice of Zimbabweans who illegally sign up to access DStv South Africa.

Now, it has decided to intensify its efforts to deal with the issue and has announced that it is carrying out an exercise that is expected to flush out illegal DStv operations across Southern Africa.

As part of this programme, MultiChoice Zimbabwe will be visiting unregistered DStv agents in the country who have been flagged for promoting the illegal provision of DStv South Africa accounts. MultiChoice has threatened to take legal action against any agents and subscribers found on the wrong side of the issue.

In its statement regarding the planned action, a MultiChoice official was quoted as having said,

In terms of international copyright laws, MultiChoice South Africa can only provide its services to people resident in South Africa due to channels being authorised for reception in South Africa only. All operators providing DStv connections and support services in Zimbabwe are bound the law to ensure that DStv services in Zimbabwe are those that are legitimately provided for this country, and they may not connect Zimbabweans to DStv services in South Africa.

The statement also highlighted the likelihood of criminal action,

The visits to bogus operators result from visible offers made by these operators to give Zimbabweans South African DStv accounts, which makes their actions illegal and could result in criminal actions against both the service providers and their customers.


This isn’t the first time that MultiChoice has made an issue out of this illegal account scourge or even acted on it. A little over a year ago the company cut off the DStv signal for hundreds of subscribers who had been identified as holders of South African accounts.

The year before that, MultiChoice South Africa publicly condemned the illegal signups and warned account holders of action that would be taken, while highlighting the challenges it faced in identifying the illegal DStv South Africa accounts form the legitimate ones.

This latest clampdown is however expected to be more successful than previous attempts since it will focus on the DStv agents who have positioned themselves as providers of the illegal service.

While this is a noble attempt at bringing Zimbabwean DStv subscribers in line, there are, however, some holes in its plans. MultiChoice’s statement regarding the issue pointed out that they would be targeting illegal agents when in fact the setup of DStv South Africa accounts is also being facilitated by some authorised DStv Agents who charge commissions for the whole procedure.

The process involved is very simple and rather than miss out on the opportunity to make money out of Zimbabweans who want to access quality entertainment at a discount, the agents are opting to cash in on the demand.

The underlying reason for the illegal DStv South Africa accounts is the difference in price between the DStv Zimbabwe bouquets, which are priced in United States Dollars and DStv South Africa bouquets which are priced in a weaker South Africa Rand.

A quick comparison of the two alternatives paints a clear picture why the economic decision for most Zimbabweans has been to opt for a South African subscription when it is presented.

DStv South Africa PackageSouth African price (in Rands)DStv Zimbabwe equivalent's price (in Rands)DStv Zimbabwe equivalent's price (in $US)
DStv Premium759116581
Extra 45979155
Family 21930221
M-Net Analogue/CSN369N/AN/A
DStv Indian34550335
XtraView Access Fee8515811

There’s also the added variety of content that comes with a DStv South Africa subscription, with the foreign bouquet offering more sports content, news and general entertainment channels that include SABC which Zimbabweans had grown fond off during the era of free to Air decoders.

All these factors combine to give Zimbabweans more reason to opt for a cheaper South African subscription which they will likely hold on to as long as the cost of DStv remains high and until they see the first signs of legal action being taken against agents and subscribers.

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42 thoughts on “MultiChoice to take legal action against subscribers & operators involved in access of DStv South Africa

  1. Its easy DStv, just limit your signal within the borders of SA, as long as those signals are reaching Zim, people will find way to receive and view them.

    Talk to your buddies here in Zim to reduce prices, or just have a uniform price across the continent

    1. Can you limit a satellite transmission to a region that is that specific? Wouldnt that just mean I need a bigger dish to amplify the weaker signal?

      If DSTV wants to make a stink about SABC1-3 and E-TV… solution is simple OVHD is available for that at 399ZAR for the box 1rand for an SA sim card and maybe at most 5rand for airtime to keep the sim card roaming.

    2. Doesnt work like that know a company that uses a secure satellute link provided by an israeli isp. So satellute isnt a specific geographic region which is a problem plus that would require an additional satellite dees etc. They probarly service southern african through the same inftastructure.
      Dstv is seeing that zim is a cash cow after all we pay stable currency that is static unlike the rand which is in the crapper but they cant raise the price

    3. how do you limit a satellite signal to borders of southafrica,i thought satellite signals are not bound by geographical locations

    4. For DSTV to win this game of preventing people from viewing content that is out of their geo location is very simple, they have to have their decoders have GPS embedded in them which means if you have a SA smart Card or Subscription and you decoder detects its not within SA boarders etc it will not activate. So which mean you decoder GPS geo location and subscription have to match for you to start viewing. SIMPLE!

  2. it doesn’t make sense to pay more when there is a cheaper alternative for the same service. multi-choice just has to offer better service at competitive prices thats all. they cannot seek legal avenues to stop people from doing the logical thing especially with their hard earned money.

    1. Yes i agree.the customer has a right to choose and dstv zimbabwe should know that we are paying in US dollars which is a standard currency.The problem is our bouquets are pricey and limited on quantity.This action i believe is childish and the powers that be should offer a better deal and customers will churn back.One cannot be forced to buy something they cannot afford that business rape and should be prosecuted.You dont offer promotions,there is no variety and yet you expect to have customers support you.Its like you are a guy wooing a girl and you have limited offering qhen she goes for a chinese you now want to prosecute her for taking the most comfortable route for her for thought.I think government needs to take action and force you to charge lower as you are robbing fellow zimbabweans of their hard earned cash.

  3. Addressing the cause will provide a lasting solution to this problem. Why are people going the bogus agents route? Its all because of disparity in subscription prices & content. There must be uniformity! Thats the only real lasting solution to this. After all MultiChoice (the the parent company) is not losing anything whether we subscribe in Zim or SA

  4. my father is in rsa, so he is da one who is subscribing ours there is no where he can travel 1800 kys to come and pay the most expensive dstv service above all he is contributing to GDP and this ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  5. they should start developing our film industry, give us content created in Zimbabwe. otherwise there is no difference.

    1. Are you gonna develop Formula 1 & MotoGP in Zimbabwe? That is all a watch on it mate

  6. Multichoice Zim is suppose to work well with the so called angents,they have tried to apply legal for accreditation but to no avail,going the court way,not the solution.They must learn from Multichoice SA,where there have more accredited installers,Multichoice Sa has created more employment in Zim than the local Multichoice,they suppose to visit them & inspect their premises & give them conditions & accreditaion,hence it will be easy to monitor the situation.Big corporates like ZESA & ECONET have done so through ecocash etc,they are collecting more revenue,than spending more money in the courts confronting subscribers ,in these hard times.

  7. Look there is no MultiChoice Zim, what we have in Zim is an agency just like any other agency in South Africa. Technically, there is limit very little they can do. Current setup is an Rx only, there is no channel estimation feedback so they are F**ckd. Happy paying in rand Zimbos.

  8. All one needs is a free-to-air decoder like the OVHD (Open View High Definition), and make sure that it is activated in South Africa first before you get it shipped and ins talked in Zimbabwe. It works perfectly in Zimbabwe. It does not include any DSTV channels, but it will allow one to watch all the SABC channels like Generations, Isidingo, etc., and several other channels, without infringement of any DSTV rights. And it is free-to-air, which means there are no subscriptions due.

  9. …installed in Zimbabwe. The OVHD costs around USD5O if you are able to source it direct in South Africa, or around USD75 through Zimbabwean suppliers, plus the cost of installation by a competent installer, using your existing or new satellite dish.

    1. OVHD in Bulawayo is just $45-$50 activated. If you have an already existing satellite setup its just about swapping the decoders and joining and you are done. The channels are mostly etv channels plus the SABCs. Dstv needs to be shown the middle finger. Am not sure how they can legally enforce that since decoders are geographically potable. How illegal is it to carry my decoder from SA into Zim for a holiday? SA has over 2,5m Zimbos and with this information age, how difficult is is for someone to register legally in SA and transfer the viewing rights to Zim either through physical transfer of the decoder or assisted registrations? DSTV Zim YOU ARE A FU**ING BIG FAIL!!

  10. Haiwawo, pana nyaya apa. Munofunga kuti tiri mapenzi here anoda kudyiwa takasvinura sematemba. I just pray for the day another satelite television provider lands on this continent. DSTV Zimbabwe should be closed coz there is nothing they can offer us, not even a channel from Zim. Rest South African. So we buy kwazvobva kwete vanoisa mazino avo.

  11. Multichoice Zimbabwe are almost irrelevant and there is no justification for the uplifted pricing that we are forced to pay them. The various agents around provide the same service at a lower price…hey no brainer. In addition with broadband speeds not becoming acceptable I look forward to giving Multichoice Zimbabwe the big middle finger because the value of their offering has declined significantly.. So many pathetic channels, so many repeats. If it were not for news and sport I would dump them tomorrow and will probably not renew my subs later this year.

  12. Nigel, does Multichoice Zim ever take time to consider their clients (past &current)views on the issue of their pricing compared to Muitchoice South Africa?

    1. I wouldn’t say it has. What it has done, though, is to go out of its way to justify its position time and again, though I’m not sure if that counts as consideration.

      1. Nigel lets be real this is childish.i have been paying my decoder for the past 7 years and have never been offered free month at times i get switched off though i pay one month in advance.The truth is they dont know business and cowardly fighting for survival through stupid means yet should concentrate on attracting business.Jst imagine the money they use in such court cases yet it should be used to offer discounts to fellow zimbabweans.they should know its a game of numbers and we gave the customers right to choose.that basic for anyone who leads an organisation to know.

  13. Shut up Multi Choice. You should be proactive in your customer care system and start being innovative. You seem not to care for your customers. For clients to shun you there is a reason start being innovative. Firstly understand the dynamics of the game against the harsh economic environment- you are as good as “Dead B.C”

  14. Dstv Zim has taken the Zimbabwean consumer for granted for too long. It’s time you looked at your pricing which is the major problem and adjusted. Why must we support your expensive lifestyles?

  15. Multichoice Zimbabwe is an agency just like anyone who pitches up a tent on First Street and starts making business registering people’s decoders. If you think it is not so, what they do is you call their “call centre” and they email the SA call centre for assistance. They even have the audacity of telling you to wait for reconnection while behind the scenes, they are waiting for a quick response from the real DSTV in South Africa. So are you saying you are going to ask the ZRP to arrest people for you? Hehehehehe, wuwi, hleka mntakaJosefa

  16. From an Economics point of view: For price discrimination to be successful, one of the conditions is that you should be able to separate the markets. If you cannot, don’t even think about it. In this case Multi choice SA thinks geographical borders are important in pricing formulation between the two markets. They are wrong. My advise to them is to lower their headcount in Zimbabwe by setting up structures like Zesa Revenue collection points and subscriptions. In the mean time let me continue to engage the agent who wants to connect me to their SA system.

  17. The problem is RSA has it so cheap that’s why people are tempted to access DSTV SA. Customers feel that there is preferential treatment here. Not only are Zim bouquets more expensive but they have less content in comparison to their SA equivalent. One day a more innovative and fair competitor will rise and take a significant share of business from Multichoice. I am actually waiting for that day where there are more options at cheaper prices.

  18. The solution is not arresting these so called agents but Multichoice Zimbabwe should improve their service and give the poor suffering Zimbo value for the US dollar. No one really wants to go the illegal way but if Multichoice does not see where they are missing the point, people will keep subscribing the South African accounts. One thing for sure they are not going to restrict the satellite signal as all of southern africa receive the same signal and we also use the same satellite. They should work up and smell the coffee.

  19. MultiChoice Zim plz, the maths is simple, reduce your tariff and increase no// then make money out of volumes of sales than chasing illegal dealings. Plz u nid to find ways to beat the illegal dealings by agents. You lack strategies n now think you can make money by chasing agents. Luck you on yo success on this one.

  20. Does Multichoice Zim carry out a survey to ascertain the reason for people to use South Africa? Before they deal with the fruits its very crucial that know the root cause, Multi choice Zim are expensive as compared to SA, and for quite a long tym you have duped the general populace , now we are subscribing to SA which suits our level of income , you are planning legal action….Shame on you..

  21. multichoice Zimbabwe itai serious.hatisi vana venyu ka vamunorova neshamhu kuty madyirei pa next bouquets enyu anodhura pls arikusvota..waiting for that great day wen Kwese tv service will come to wake yu up

  22. the only solution is to duplicate southafrican compact bouquet and they will see cash flowing into their account i mean theere is so much to offer

  23. Remember that DSTV in Zim costs an extra $2 when you pay through the bank or other agencies. (In RSA, the service charge is built into the DSTV subscription). That’s about R30 more than the RSA equivalent but for less content. I brought my RSA decoder with me to Zim and use it whenever I have the rands to pay for it. I also have a Zim account as back-up. I don’t understand why compact in Zim has no SS3, can the MiltiChoice Zim officials tell us why this “choice” is not available?

  24. #dump multichoice zim. i am also looking for those agents because i want to close my zim account and use the SA one. ndovawana kupi? multichoice zim are learning a lot from our tired government and are behaving exactly like them. wake up guys!!! COMMAND ECONOMIS DONT WORK!!! SIMPLE!!!

  25. The payments in Zimbabwe are high so we switched to S.A accounts.Can you just make the payments equal because we are paying big money in Zimbabwe.

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