Following yesterday’s auction, Israel’s Communications Ministry has revealed that Mirs Communications and Marathon Investments have secured 3G licences. The two companies offered ILS705 million (USD206 million) and ILS710 million respectively, and are set to join Cellcom, Partner and Pelephone in the country’s 3G mobile services market. Mirs already provides 2G services in Israel, and Marathon is controlled by Xfone, the parent of international calling company Xfone 018. Golan Telecom, part-controlled by the founder of French telecoms groups Iliad, and Select Communications both dropped out of the bidding process. The move is the latest step by the watchdog as it tries to increase competition in the sector, and follows the issuing of licences for MVNOs, as well as ordering existing operators to cut interconnection fees by nearly 80%.