Mexican wireless regulator COFETEL probably has peso signs in its eyes this week on news that 17 -- yes, fully seventeen different firms have filed the requisite paperwork to participate in upcoming auctions for 3G services in the 1900MHz and AWS ranges. Officials are hoping to spur 3G competition with the move -- and certainly competition doesn't seem to be a problem here, what with 17 different firms trying to get in on the action -- with bidding wrapping up on May 25 and winners being announced 30 days thereafter. As you might expect, all four of the country's major wireless operators (America Movil, Telefonica, Iusacell, and Nextel) are signed up, but other participants include cable companies and landline operators, so we could potentially see a fifth major wireless player in the mix by the time all is said and done.

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Mexican 3G auction attracts phalanx of bidders