Reuters reports that Italy’s Communications Ministry (MdC) has launched an auction for WiMAX licences. Three 15-year concessions for available frequencies in the 3.4GHz-3.6GHz spectrum, covering one or more Italian regions are up for sale. They are renewable, but cannot by sold on to a third party without government authorisation. The government has wanted to offer WiMAX permits since 2005, but freeing up the necessary spectrum has been problematic, as the Ministry of Defence uses the 3.5GHz band for a radar system. Internet provider Tiscali and broadband operator Fastweb expressed interest when the government first announced its plans for WiMAX. Possible interest from incumbent Telecom Italia has not been ruled out. The sale is expected to raise between EUR100 million (USD142.1 million) and EUR200 million for the state, far below the billions gained from the sale of 3G mobile phone licenses at the peak of the high-tech boom in 2000.