3G auction closes at $1.17 billion

Optus Mobile and Vodafone Pacific bought the two national licenses on offer. Former monopoly carrier Telstra achieved nationwide coverage by buying a combination of licenses for state capital cities and for rural areas.

Qualcomm-linked 3G Investments bought a capital cities license giving it coverage of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra, Darwin and Hobart. CKW Wireless bought limited spectrum in each of these markets.

Hutchison Telecommunications Australia bought lots covering the five biggest cities.

Australia has more than 9 million GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) mobile phone users, about half of the country's population. Telstra is the market leader with a share estimated at 48 per cent, followed by Optus with 33 per cent and Vodafone with 19 per cent.