Bitflux, the winner of 2.3GHz spectrum licence that was auctioned by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) penultimate week, has eventually paid the $23.251 million (N3.63 billion) for the licence.
Director, Public Affairs at NCC, Mr. Tony Ojobo, who confirmed the payment, told THISDAY that the commission’s bank had confirmed that Bitflux paid the licence fee Tuesday.
As at 11am yesterday, THISDAY gathered that a team of Bitflux personnel had moved to Abuja and were making plans with their banks to pay the money electronically to the NCC’s account. NCC later in the evening said it got confirmation from its bank that Bitflux had paid and the money was received.
The payment has eventually erased several doubts as to whether Bitflux, a small consortium comprising VDT Communications Ltd, Bitcom Systems Ltd and Superflux International Ltd, could raise such amount of money within two weeks given it by the NCC to effect payment.
After the announcement that Bitflux won the auction, which was widely adjudged as very transparent, the Executive Vice-Chairman of NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah also announced that Bitflux had 14 business days to pay the $23, 251, 000 starting from the day of the auction.
He explained that failure to pay within 14 business days, the offer would be reversed to Globacom which contested with Bitflux.
He further explained that Bitflux would pay additional N155 million within 30 days of payment of $23, 251, 000, for a Unified Access Licence.
“It is after the payment of $23, 251, 000 and the additional N155 million that the NCC will issue Bitflux the 2.3GHz spectrum licence, together with a Unified Access Licence,” Juwah said.
Although Bitflux has eventually paid the $23, 251, 000, it will still have to pay another N155 million for the Unified Access Licence, before NCC will issue it with the 2.3GHzlicence.
The result of the 2.3GHz spectrum licence auction between Bitflux and Globacom, which took place in Abuja penultimate week, came as a surprise to industry stakeholders, including the winners that could not hold back their joy even at the venue of the contest.
Although both observers and the contestants attested to the fact that the auction was transparent and credible, it still remained a big surprise to them, including industry stakeholders that Globacom lost the bid to Bitflux.
The 2.3 GHz frequency spectrum is a wholesale spectrum, and what this means is that Bitflux will not retail it, and will not compete with end users, but will be bound by law to sell wholesale to smaller operators like Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
It also means that the ISPs will be able to buy little wholesale quantity to service their customers and in the process, remain in business of providing affordable internet service to end users.
The 2.3GHz spectrum is a wireless frequency band that would be deployed across the country to provide access for broadband internet connectivity.