MTN Group Limited is a cellular telephone network provider currently running an advertising campaign with the tag line: “Everywhere You Go”. This corporate branding strategy extends to most of MTN’s marketing campaign including various forms of media, from pamphlets to outdoor signage, television ads, cinema ads and the internet. Most recently I saw two adverts carrying this slogan prior to the 17:30 show on Saturday 16 June 2007 at Cine 2 of the Brooklyn Mall Ster Kinekor in Pretoria.
The message stated by MTN creates a natural perception that MTN provides their telephony service “Everywhere You Go”. My complaint relates more specifically to the case where MTN claimed availability and had a network presence but were not able to provide it where I went – Mozambique. This despite the fact that international roaming forms a key part of their stated claim of product availability “Everywhere You Go”.
On my trip to Ponto Malongane in Mozambique I carried my MTN cellphone with me. I had enabled and successfully used international roaming on a trip to a different international destination earlier this year so I had a reasonable expectation that the telephone network would be ‘Everywhere I Went’. Upon arrival at my destination my phone was specifically prevented from accessing the MTN Mozambique network despite me being an MTN client. Curiously, I *was* able to successfully roam on MTN Swaziland earlier in my trip. A number of other people experienced a similar problem.
The lack of access to the MTN network is contrary to the message they are portraying in their “Everywhere You Go” campaign and violates the advertising principle of honesty. The claim is also misleading in the expectation created, unsubstantiated, and advertises a product that was not available to me.
Fortunately in my case I was able to make do without telephony services for the duration of my trip, however for any traveler who is relying on the availability of the network this unavailability of something promised “Everywhere You Go” could lead to massive pecuniary loss or even physical harm.
I trust you will follow up on this complaint with due process.
Time to switch networks?