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Bitflux could lose Nigeria's spectrum license to Globacom

Bitflux could lose Nigeria's spectrum license to Globacom.

Following its inability to roll out broadband services more than one year after it secured a nationwide 2.3GHz spectrum license, Bitflux Communications Limited could lose the license to nearest rival applicant Globacom.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had given Bitflux till the end of March to roll out services with threats of dire consequences should it fail. However, the company, which was formed by VDT Communications, Bitcom Systems and Superflux International limited, has not been able to start operations in any part of the country.

Although NCC has not officially announced the actions it would take, industry experts who spoke to ITWebAfrica said the commission could either give the company a new deadline or withdraw the license and issue it to Globacom.

NCC said it issued the license as a way of expanding the country's critical broadband infrastructure. When Bitflux got the license in February 2014, Biodun Omoniyi, one of Bitflux's directors said they would roll out fast broadband internet services nationwide within a year.

He later told journalists that service rollout would be done by March because they had all they needed for a successful launch.

He said: "We have not failed in our roll out plan and we have not rescinded on any of our promises. We are still within the assigned roll out plan; we will definitely meet up. We are rolling out services before end of first quarter."

He said the delay in commencement of operations was due to the harsh business environment in Nigeria – a situation he said is also affecting the stock market.

"Yes we were excited when it was announced that Bitflux won the license last year, and the excitement is still there because the opportunity is still great, but the issue with the 2.3GHz spectrum license is that it is an infrastructure build out that requires massive rollout of infrastructure across the country, and it has not been easy with us because of the harsh economic climate that we experienced last year", Omoniyi said.

"Left to us we would have rolled out in third quarter 2014, since we won the license in first quarter 2014, but the investment climate of the country was not friendly at all last year. Infrastructure project like the 2.3GHz spectrum is capital intensive, so the business environment must be friendly enough to do business before we can start rollout. Because it is capital intensive, we needed to borrow money from other sources and we cannot afford to invest people's money in an environment that is unfriendly. This is part of the reason why we could not rollout last year."

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