The Venezuelan government yesterday launched a process to auction mobile spectrum in the 1700MHz, 1800MHz and 1900MHz bands, telecoms regulator Conatel said in a statement. Conatel said the auction is aimed at meeting the growing demand for mobile telephony faced by the country’s three cellcos Movilnet, Movistar and Digitel. Telecommunications Minister Jesse Chacon told reporters: ‘We want to favour those that can carry out the fastest rollout’, although he added that the process ‘is open for additional companies to participate.’ Concessions will be valid for 15 years and the initial bidding price is set at USD120 million. Participants will have until 10 September to submit bids, and Conatel will announce the licence winners on 22 October. Winners are expected to start using their new spectrum by November 2007.