Rudi Jansen, South African broadband pioneer, has died

Rudi Jansen, photographed when he was Mweb CEO

Rudi Jansen, a former CEO of Mweb and a pioneer in South Africa’s early Internet industry, has died. Jansen passed away on Saturday from a heart attack, according to an industry colleague.

Widely respected in South Africa’s telecommunications industry, Jansen — an avid Stormers supporter — pioneered uncapped consumer Internet services in South Africa as CEO of Mweb. Until then, ADSL — the way most consumers at the time connected to the Internet — had been an entirely capped service.

His innovation at Mweb, though initially greeted with scepticism from industry colleagues, was quickly replicated by other Internet service providers, in the process driving down data prices for South African consumers and heralding a more competitive era for broadband Internet access in the country.

In an interview with TechCentral in 2012, when he stepped down as Mweb CEO, Jansen said it had been “great to have been part of something so fundamental to changing the industry”.

He said in the interview that he hoped the move would be the first step to getting streaming and cloud-based services available in places such as the US and Europe in South Africa — that wish has certainly been more than fulfilled!
“You can’t do video-on-demand in a capped world,” he said.

Accountancy to broadband

Jansen started his career in 1990 at Coopers and Lybrand as a senior audit manager. In 1996, he joined Naspers as group management accountant for MIH Holdings and M-Cell. A year later, he was appointed chief financial officer of Mweb as one of its first employees, a role he held for five years.

In late 2002, he was appointed as chief financial officer of MIH Internet. Three years later, he was named CEO of Mweb, a role he held for six years and which he used to transform the industry.

After leaving Mweb, he held various roles, including of Odion Africa. His directorships included My Cloud Media, Dark Fibre Africa and CapeVin Holdings. He is survived by his wife and five children. TechCentral extends its deepest condolences to Jansen’s family for their tragic loss. — (c) 2021 NewsCentral Media

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