12 March 2014

Nigeria: 2.3GHz - Bitflux Pays NCC U.S.$23.25 Million After Deadline

Bitflux Communications, the preferred winner of the 30MHz slot in the recently concluded 2.3GHz spectrum auction conducted by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on February 19, 2014 at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja has yesterday, paid the sum of $23.251 million, 24 hours after the expiration of the 14 working days approved by the federal government.

Director of public affairs, NCC, Mr Tony Ojobo, yesterday evening through his Twitter handle said "Bitflux Communications Ltd has paid the sum of $ 23,251,000.00 being the winning bid at the 2.3Ghz frequency auction of 19 / 2 / 14." Bitflux Communications was supposed to have made the payment before the close of banking transaction on Monday.

On Monday evening, LEADERSHIP checks at NCC to confirm if Bitflux Communications had met the deadline failed to yield fruit as top NCC officials were at a loss to confirm the payment. A source at the Commission told LEADERSHIP that the preferred bidder made the payment only yesterday (Tuesday) after failing initially to meet the 14 days deadline.

Vice chairman, NCC, Dr Eugene Juwah, had, while announcing the result of the auction, said, "Bitflux has 14 business days to pay this amount starting from today ( February 19th), failure to do this, the offer to pay goes to Glo." Bitflux is a consortium of three companies including VDT, BitCom and Superflex ,while Globacom is Nigeria's second largest mobile operator.

Bitflux won with the bid price of $23,251,000, above Globacom, Nigeria's second national operator's offer of $23,050,001 for the same spectrum licence. The two companies emerged finalists for the auction bid out of 27 others who expressed interest in the licence auction, having met all laid-down qualification criteria including the payment of the mandatory, non-refundable $2.3 million to the Commission which represents 10 per cent of the reserve price.

Telecom industry analysts said the failure of Bitflux Communications to pay the licence sum after 24 hours negates the letter of the auction process adopted by NCC. A telecom observer said, "They have bended the rule to favour a company by a deadline extension of 24 hours. This is voodoo mathematics and the transaction gives Nigeria a bad image. It puts the President of Nigeria in a bad light especially since the international community is watching the outcome."


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