Mexico's prepping for a big auction of purpose-built 3G spectrum in the 1700 and 1900MHz bands toward the end of the year, and at least one big-time investment group, Banamex, believes that could net as much as $1.5 billion for the government when everything's said and done. The estimate actually runs from $1 billion to $1.5 billion depending on the number of bidders that ultimately decide to participate and which side of the bed they woke up on that morning, but any way you slice it, it's a nice chunk of change (for comparison's sake, Canada's AWS auction brought in CAD $4.2 billion -- about $3.86 billion). Telcel, Telefonica, and NII are all said to be virtual locks to place bids, while Mexico's number-three operator -- Iusacell -- may sit this one out considering its less-than-stellar financial situation and a stash of spare spectrum that it already has at its disposal. Before you start any wild rumors that a foreign company might swoop in and shake things up, be warned -- Banamex says that's highly unlikely considering failed attempts to bust into the Mexican market by Verizon, Voda, and France Telecom in the past.

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Mexican 3G auction could bring in $1.5B, depending on bidders' moods