Nigerian cellco Visafone has launched its services in Benin City, the Edo State capital, reports local daily The Vanguard. The move is the first stage in the operator’s expansion in the south west of the country following its recent deployment of 3G CDMA2000 1xEV-DO services in the south east. Plans for an official launch in the Oyo State capital Ibadan are said to be ‘at an advanced stage’. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, Visafone was formed in June 2007 when businessman Jim Ovia acquired CDMA operator Cellcom via his own ISP Cyberspace. In a spectrum sale the following month, Visafone received three 1.25MHz blocks in the 800MHz band for the reserve price of NGN400 million (USD3.2 million), picking up a unified access service (UAS) licence into the bargain, valid for five years and covering 26 states. Full services were launched in February this year.