Italy’s Ministry of Communications has completed the first phase of its WiMAX spectrum auction and the process is now ready to enter the second and final phase. The government has received 179 valid bids for the 65 licences in the 3.5GHz band, with the bids worth a total of EUR49.8 million (USD73.4 million). The highest single bid of EUR3.51 million was made for a licence covering the Emilio Romagna region, WiMAX Day reports. Firms including Telecom Italia, Wind, FastWeb, Toto Costruzioni Generali and MGM Productions are among the leading bidders. Offers have been received for licences in all regions, the Ministry says, with many smaller start-up operators bidding for spectrum in the C block which is reserved for companies without 3G mobile licences. The second phase of the auction, which begins on 13 February, will see the highest bidders for each licence go head-to-head.