free2view, another free digital satellite TV for Africa

free2view is not exactly new – it has been in existence for years. They have been lurking in the shadows for a while now, but relaunched properly some months ago with a mission of capturing former GTV subscribers. Before now, free2view had been at loggerheads with ICASA, South Africa’s regulatory body in charge of broadcasting, post and telecommunication.

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) warned that if the UK based free-to-air broadcaster continued operating without a licence it could block Free2View’s satellite signal or take other action.

free2view has since surmounted that challenge and positioned itself for a brilliant future. The service is unlike your typical free-to-air digital satellite TV service. While the service is free-of-charge, the signals are encrypted. Thus, one would need to procure their own decoder or buy a voucher for a GTV decoder, to be able to enjoy their free TV/radio channels.

free2view channels
free2ViewBasic, a single dish system pointed at Astra 4A currently

When GBS/GTV abruptly exited the market in January 2009, they left some 180,000 subscribers in Africa high and dry. The same number of GTV decoders were rendered useless since those decoders were custom-made for GTV. However, free2view found a way to make those decoders useful again. They simply required the old GTV subscribers to buy a free2View Switchon Voucher for activation, and point their satellite dish towards Astra 4A at 4.8°E. The GTV decoder would then download a software update before linking up to the free2view service.

The following statement from their website explains their mission:

free2View is a free–to–consumer encrypted digital satellite Broadcaster.  We’re the largest Free to Air satellite Broadcaster in Africa with an estimated population footprint of 850 million people and a known base of 50 million TV households – excluding Nigeria – where there is a further estimated 50 Million TV households.

The demise of the Pay TV operator GTV in Sub Saharan Africa left a dilemma. f2V as the free–to–air element of the box – with its news channel MSNBC – was aware of the disruption and great disadvantage suffered by the people of Africa – in particular East Africa, who after buying a box – and in some instances paying large sums of money in Subscription fees in advance – were now disenfranchised. It was f2V’s determination that this would not happen again. The poor should not always pay.

We have subsequently turned this dilemma into a huge opportunity. With the directors firm belief in free–to–air television, f2V is set about finding a way for the GTV boxes to be reused. With the help of our strategic partner NDS, a method was created.

f2V now owns the technology providing the head end and encryption methodology . We are able to address all 180 000 ex GTV subscribers. The viewer now has the ability with a once–off purchase, in the form of a Switchon voucher , to re–open their old GTV box. Viewers are now able to watch the best of Digital Satellite TV as well as many other community and state broadcast channels we know are important to our audience, in their native tongue, be it English, French, Portuguese, Dutch or Swahili.

The encrypted feed now enables f2V to offer premium digital satellite television for free. We have therefore included content from the BBC, ITV, Freemantle and much, much more…

It was and remains the objective of free2View to provide the best Digital Satellite TV for FREE . No Monthly Bills, No Subscription, No Contract. Just FREE Digital Satellite TV.

free2view is aiming to offer 4 different bouquets: f2VBasic, f2V+2, f2V+3 and f2V+5. However, it doesn’t seem like all is well with free2view. Of their 4 bouquets, only f2VBasic is active and even with that, 4 of the channels are currently off-air:

  • f2V One: the latest soaps, drama, action and movies. (currently off air)
  • Canal 2: Canal 2 International (Cameroon) is a French entertainment channel specifically targeting African and Caribbean communities.
  • Canal 3 Benin
  • Vox Africa
  • BVN: a Dutch public TV station
  • Canal Info News: The French news service from West Africa
  • f2V Movies: blockbuster movies (currently off air)
  • f2V Kids: cartoons (currently off air)
  • LMTV: General Entertainment Christian value channel with popular programs such as House, CSI Miami. The channel is broadcast in French.
  • Touba TV: a senegalise TV service (currently off air)

SwitchSat is the official online supplier and distributor of Free2View decoders, both the original GTV decoder as well as the new KAON decoder for all Sub–Saharan African countries. You would need to contact them for the original GTV decoder, the new KAON decoder or SwitchOn vouchers.

free2view is powered by a UK-based company known as Great Media.

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Oluniyi D. Ajao
Oluniyi D. Ajao is an Internet Entrepreneur and Tech Enthusiast based in South Africa. Follow him on twitter @niyyie for more tech updates.


    • Sorry Richard, The Switch-On Vouchers are nolonger on sale, for a while that is. This is due to technical reason, so I was told, by free2view. I was one of the pple selling them in Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. The old voucher is being replaced with an easier one but this is in the near future. I can not put a time to it but just follow this space.

  1. I live in RSA and ordered a caon decoder AND paid for it. That was the last I ever heard from F2V again. They simply do not communicate at all. I have given them all the relevant info
    What can I do. Any help will be appr.

  2. If I would like to watch kenyan tv stations in UK, can I be able to get the relevant decorder and the installation services at a one-off-pay. I believe Switchsat may answer this and if possible their contact.

  3. Hi is the free2view firmware still updating when pointed to sirius4 freq. 12565 H Srt.30000. Or have they abandoned it. I have tried but the firmware doesnt download. Have they migrated from the above frequency ? Do they still sell switchon vourchers?.

  4. Hi there,
    For someone who lives in California and would like to enjoy these channels where does he get them? What is the best best attitude to take to have them in your possession?

    Many thanks,


  5. Hi i need a gelp,am using multi tv decoder and can i get the free2view chennels.the sybole rate,frequency,and polarization.thank you.send it to my email address.

  6. the last time i visited free2view website,they said they were trying to switch astra4 to intelsat so as to improve their coverage in most parts of africa which was impression that is why they are off air ,i mean f2v basic,movies,kids,f2v1,2,3,5etc.apart from that they said some channels can be viewed via gtv nds decorder such as btv,ntv,mta etc but when scanned i could not watch them apart from existing f.t.a i think they are doing nothing positive.hope one day they will find out why birds fly………….

  7. please i would like you to send me frequenciecies that will enable me watch tv3, viasat, tv africa,and crystal tv on my strong decoder. Thanks

    • Good Day Sir

      We are a Satellite Company based in the Free State we have several types of decoders an can provide you with a decoder that opens our S.african Tv1-2-3 should you be interested. We also have a decoder that provides you with free Dstv channels no monthly payments.

      miss Niru
      skype; nirupillay1

  8. please David, I use 2 dishes. i mistakengly deleted all channels and i was only able to get back my MYTV channels, havnt bn able to get d oda multitv and infinity channels. pls hw do I go about it?

  9. Olubells just enter in the menu of your decoder then go manual search then lock for astra 2b then the frequency 12552 v 19531 then scan you’ll see all multi tv channels fta for life

  10. Please David, for the past three days i was unable to have access to GTV in Nigeria. What is wrong with their frequency? kindly do your own research and send me the feed back whether we can still get them on Astra4. Many, many thanks.

  11. thanks alot for your marvelous job. my Dstv fta channels has stopped showing while its signal is still on (showing green colour). help me please.

  12. crtv is off air, why and i need more free to air channells on my strong decoder with 2 smal dish. Kindly send it to my mail. Thanks

  13. i have a super max satelite reciever,and a 5inch cband dish;i have been watching tv stations from eastern europe like Russia today and bvn,can i watch even better channels with this reciever?if so pliz held and advise,thank u.By the way i hail from uganda.

  14. kudos to you, my problem this time is that i got a message that i should rescan my digicox which i did bt my stations increased from 40 to 398 but scrambled channels is most of them including dstv n hitv. What can i do to watch them. Pls

  15. Pls,what happen 2 free2viwe and crtv,i have been missing there program so much if u can send me there new freq,do it 4 me god will give u more ideal.thax 4 co-opeartion.

  16. I do follow ur topic bt i need more information on malagasy or should i call it malacrasy coz of d problem involved durng installatn n y is it dt on 9 stations they are broadcastng

  17. hi Davide am in Accra how can i get some free to air with my Multi TV black box
    Please send me information:
    Symbol rate

  18. Hi David.
    Some News. E.TV Botswana are taking SENTECH south Africa to Court over Iligally broadcasting SABC Tv 1,2 , 3 to other country’s like Zimbabwe, Botswana and the Rest of AFRICA. They must change the Encryption. Sentech will oppose this action.

    Will keep you posted.

  19. CRTV now showing but they’ve changed their name to Shalom tv…also can someone who lives in Nigeria receive the free2view channels??

  20. How can i catch, SABC 1,2,3? PLS i use a strong decoder. Could you pls send me the freq, polarisation. I live in Ghana. Thank you

  21. pls is dere any sports or movie chan i can get with dis 4899orHD reacver east/w ku/c? Yes is dis thing i don understand in flysat i see minaj/Chanltv about 4or5 of dem dere in W as FTA for me to see HorV i see R or L i don no the meaning.explen for me and i want to no de size of dish one can use for it in NNEWI here. I here sombody ask u about microbox u don make any comment on it.pls if u no anything we ask here shere with us, don be angly with us. U see for comon man to pay 10,000for1month forhim to watch sports is toomuch for us.Thanks i no u will answer my qustion

  22. hi Dave, i am just new to ur corner and i love what you duys are doing, pls keep it up.i am from port-harcourt in nigeria and would want you to help me by telling how to get free on air channels apart from multi tv. thanks

  23. Hi I am in south africa and I use dstv1131 and I do have the 30 free channels but it does not have other church station like emmanuel and loveworld etc. Another thing we use a universal dish as we stay in a flat please let me know if there are specific settings I must do

  24. i am using 60cm dish on philibao decorder and want to watch free soccer. which satelite amd channels can i scan to iam in zimbabwe southern africa.

  25. Hi there brother you are doing a job and keep it up,please tell me is possible for me to watch congolese channels here in South Africa using a DSTV decoder?if so please tell me how to set my decoder. Thanks

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