6 February 2013

Nigeria: Capcom Gets Interim Approval

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has granted Capcom interim approval to operate as a Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) operator, ahead of its July rollout date.

NCC said the approval became necessary, following the formation and determination of Capcom, which recently emerged from the merger of Starcomms, Multi-links and MTS Wireless.

Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah, who dropped the hint while giving some clarifications about the viability of Capcom to operate in the Nigerian telecoms market, told THISDAY that it was likely going to do well, based on its formation, structure, and financial strength.

"The commission granted Capcom an interim approval for its rollout because

it is confident in its formation and organisational plan, based on the presentation it made to NCC," Juwah said.

According to him, the final approval would also be given by the NCC, after the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) must have given its own approval.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) designate of Capcom, Mr. Demola Elesho, had earlier told THISDAY that the new Capcom would rollout services by the third quarter of this year, if it was able to get all approvals from its shareholders, the NCC and the SEC, and that unless the hurdles were crossed, Capcom may not be able to rollout services as planned.

Starcomms' shareholders had in December last year, overwhelmingly approved of the company's romance with Capcom to inject a whopping $210 million into Starcomms, to acquire it alongside Multi-links and MTS Wireless.

Now that NCC has given Capcom an interim approval, coupled with the approval of its shareholders, the CDMA operator is only waiting for the approval of SEC, before it could roll out its services.

Elesho however said he was optimistic that Capcom would meet the demands of SEC in getting its approval. He said the commission had already been approached and the necessary documents submitted, but that Capcom had to wait for another 30 days for it to conclude verification and approval of all documentations.

Capcom had in July last year, indicated its interest to buy into the operations of Starcomms, shortly after it bought over Multi-links and MTS Wireless.

The plan is to merge the three CDMA operators with all their facilities, into a bigger CDMA operator called Capcom, in order to compete with existing CDMA operators and the operators of Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM).

According to Elesho, "While we are awaiting SEC's approval, we will be offering services to existing customers of Starcomms, Multi-links and MTS Wireless, since arrangements for the acquisition of Starcomms were almost concluded."

Starcomms shareholders had on December 28, 2012, at its Court Ordered Meeting (COM) held in Abuja, the same day it had its Annual General Meeting (AGM), approved of Capcom's $210 million deal to acquire Starcomms. About 99.83 per cent of its shareholders present at the meeting gave their support for the deal.

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