Ireland’s telecoms watchdog ComReg yesterday confirmed its intention to begin auctioning the mobile spectrum currently used by incumbent cellcos Vodafone, O2 and Meteor Mobile to provide 2G/GSM services, when the concessions begin to expire in 2011. The refarming of the 900MHz band could raise up to EUR182 million (USD261 million) for state coffers. Moreover, the auctioning off of the bands in question – given that each of the incumbents also hold 3G spectrum to carry voice and data services – could pave the way for new players to offer services, including 3G in the 900MHz band. In announcing its plan to further liberalise the mobile market, ComReg says it will auction the spectrum in blocks of 2×5MHz, with each applicant able to compete for a maximum of 2×10MHz blocks. In effect this means a minimum of four companies will be awarded licences and a maximum of seven.