Spectrum licence: Bitflux laments investors pessimism, plans phase roll out

OMONIYIBITFLUX Communications, winner of the 2.3GHz spectrum license last February is hoping to roll out services by the end of this quarter.

    According to the company, which poses a national license, the roll out will be in phases with Lagos coming first and others later.

    Speaking at a post-event Interview with The Guardian at the weekend, the Managing Director of VDT Communications, one of the firms that make up BitFlux, Biodun Omoniyi said the company is still excited about the opportunity, stressing that it is still very great.

    Omoniyi said BitFlux would roll out service by the end of this quarter, stressing that several contracts have been signed and that vendors have gone into the market conducting feasibility studies of its viability.

     It will be recalled that BitFlux Communications, which comprise VDT Communications; BitCom and Superflex beat telecoms giant—Globacom to the license in February 2014 and later paid the stipulated price of N37.1 billion for the spectrum. BitFlux paid the fee for the remaining 30 MHz of 2.3 GHz frequency spectrum.

    Admitting the fact that the firm has been slow in perfecting its roll out plans, Omoniyi said “It has not been easy as we thought it to be. We could have rolled out third or last quarter of 2014, but the investment climate in the country has not been friendly since then. The infrastructure is still not there. Such investment is not only about one firm; there is need for other peoples’ investment. It’s been quite challenging, but we are sure of light at the end of the tunnel, hopefully by end of this quarter.”

    Omoniyi, who said investors are pessimistic about the economy, disclosed that though the firm has a national license, the roll out would be in phases.

     “So, we are starting with Lagos. Initially, our plan was wider but due to some exigencies, we shall have to start first with Lagos. We noticed investors’ pessimism about the economy. The stock market is going down among others so that affects our roll-out plan”, he stated.

     Answering questions on whether the cost of spectrum is highest in Nigeria compared to other countries. Omoniyi noted that there was need to strike a balance between two, stressing that atimes, it could discourage and destroys investment.

     According to him, if it’s too high, it becomes highly prohibitive, “if there is a purchase, then we could say that the price is right.”

     On whether there is need for government to provide succor for investors, Omoniyi said that will be through consistent and proper regulation.

      According to him, NCC must be up and doing and must do their job effectively. “We are not saying government should bring money, but they can help by actually creating an enabling environment for business to thrive, which is the least they can do. The environment is still not conducive yet.”

     The VDT boss noted that the broadband market still holds huge potential for investment, stressing that the country has right per cent penetration with plans to increase it; the competition in the broadband market could increase and become better through further investments.

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