Bidding for Irish operator Meteor Mobile has passed the EUR440 million (USD530 million) mark, according to the Sunday Times. The UK newspaper says that both fixed line incumbent eircom and a consortium led by Denis O’Brien formally made offers in excess of EUR400 million to Meteor’s parent Western Wireless International last Friday. Fixed line operator Smart Telecom is also believed to have submitted a bid, although it is understood to have been significantly lower than those made by its rivals. The sale of Meteor, the country’s smallest network operator by some margin, is expected to be tied up before the end of the month.
Meanwhile, eircom, Smart and Meteor itself have all formally expressed an interest in purchasing the country’s only unused 3G mobile licence. Three of the country’s four concessions – two ‘B’ licences and one ‘A’ licence with additional spectrum– were originally auctioned off in 2002, but the final ‘B’ licence has remained unsold. The Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) is preparing to re-auction the concession and is charging applicants EUR10,000 for the tender documents.