The US wireless spectrum auction in January hit controversy when Google lost out, Ofcom is policing the largest spectrum auction that this country has ever seen this summer, and now the Canadians have started carving up their spectrum.

The auction is expected to take a month and is hoped will bolster competition in the country's mobile phone market, including letting new players edge in.

24 companies are going to be able to bid electronically for 292 licenses for chunks of wireless airwaves in different geographical regions across the country.

Of the 105MHz of spectrum to be auctioned, 40MHz will be set aside for new players.

At the moment, the country's airwaves are dominated by three companies - Rogers Communications, Telus Corp and BCE which Reuters reports "control about 95% of the wireless market in terms of revenue".

Canadian officials hope that the auction could change this, bringing new companies into the market and therefore lowering mobile phone charges, which, at the moment, are more expensive than in the US and Europe.

The winners will be announced in June.