Andries Delport – The man behind Vodacom’s network success

Andries Delport is one of a handful of people who played a key role in building Vodacom into South Africa’s most successful telecoms operator.

Just like Alan Knott-Craig, Pieter Uys, and Shameel Joosub, Delport has been a prominent player in taking Vodacom to the top of South Africa’s telecommunications market.

During his 24-year tenure at Vodacom, Delport helped establish network leadership across all five of Vodacom’s operating countries.

He was also integral to teams responsible for a number of firsts, including the launch of the first commercial 5G network in Africa in Lesotho.

Delport left Vodacom on 31 May to join CIVH as Chief Technology Officer, and will oversee Remgro’s telecommunication assets.

Commenting on Delport’s departure, Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub said Delport has been a key member of the Vodacom family and his contribution to the company has been immeasurable.

From radio planner to group CTO

Delport graduated from the University of KwaZulu-Natal with a BSc in Electronic Engineering in 1986, after which he joined the national service for two years.

After completing his compulsory two years of military service, he accepted a position at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

During his 7 years at the CSIR, Delport completed a Master of Business Leadership from the University of South Africa.

He then joined Vodacom in 1996 as a radio planning manager, and quickly started to move up the ranks.

In 1997 he became the head of Vodacom’s network in the Northern region and in the same year he was promoted to the head of radio operations.

A year later Delport took up the position of general manager of operations and in 1999 he was again promoted to Vodacom’s director of Gauteng.

Over the next decade he served as director of operations, COO of Vodacom South Africa, executive director of mobile operations, and executive director of engineering and technology.

During this time Delport was part of many of Vodacom’s achievements, including launching 3G in 2004 and preparing the network for the 2010 World Cup.

In 2011 he took up the position of Vodacom Group Chief Technology Officer, which we held until his departure on 31 May.

Under his technical leadership Vodacom became the first operator to launch 4G in South Africa in 2012 and the first operator in Africa to launch 5G in August 2018.

Here are a few of the highlights of Delport’s career at Vodacom.


2000 – Vodacom executive team

In 2000 Delport (in the blue shirt to the right) formed part of the Vodacom executive team as the director of Gauteng.


2003 – Vodacom’s top tech executives

In 2003 Delport was Vodacom’s director of operations. He is photographed here with Alan Knott-Craig, Pieter Uys, Chris Ross, Johan Engelbrecht, and Barry Vlok, among others.


2004 – First 3G Network in South Africa

In December 2004, Delport launched the first 3G network in South Africa, against popular sentiment that said there was no business case.

500 sites were put up in a matter of weeks to ensure South African had 3G in time for the December holidays.

Many well-known Vodacom executives are photographed alongside Delport, including Shameel Joosub, Alan Knott-Craig, Pieter Uys, Chris Ross, and Johan Engelbrecht.


2012 – First 4G Network in South Africa

In 2012, Vodacom built a country-wide 4G network and launched within 16 weeks. Delport launched and demonstrated the new 4G service at the annual MyBroadband conference, dressed as the Stig.

He is photographed here with Shameel Joosub and Jannie van Zyl.


2018 – First 5G Network in Africa

Two years ago, Vodacom became the first network in Africa to launch 5G, only weeks after the required equipment became available.

The 5G service, launched in Lesotho, uses 3.5GHz spectrum to deliver fixed-wireless access with speeds peaking at over 700Mbps.


2018 – Vodacom showcases 5G virtual reality demo at the Durban July

In July 2018, Vodacom delivered a virtual reality viewing experience for the Durban July. The demonstration used a 5G network to stream live 4K footage from the Greyville racecourse.

VR cameras broadcasted a live, 360-degree video feed to the Vodacom hospitality suite, where guests viewed the race through VR headsets.


2020 – Vodacom launches 5G in South Africa

5G spectrum was made available during the lockdown and soon afterwards Vodacom launched South Africa’s first mobile 5G network at 20 sites in Gauteng and Cape Town.


Now read: The great journey of Mteto Nyati – from a young man in Umtata to MTN SA CEO

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Andries Delport – The man behind Vodacom’s network success