Four telecoms companies will pay the State a total of €854.6m to buy new licences to offer next generation mobile services.

The four companies are Vodafone, Eircom's Meteor, Telefonica, which owns O2 Ireland, and Hutchinson 3G Ireland.

They will pay an upfront fee of €481.7m and annual charges for usage of new spectrum rights until 2030.

Today's auction awarded spectrum rights in the former GSM-only bands and the MHz band, which became available last month after the switch off of analogue broadcasting.

The new bandwidths allow the telecoms companies offer 4G services such as faster mobile broadband.

Telecommunications regulator ComReg said the spectrum bands are highly suitable for mobile services by virture of their propogation properties, enabling wide area coverage and effective in-building penetration.

''Winning bidders have the opportunity to now develop and launch advanced mobile services in Ireland. This will usher in a new era of advanced wireless services including fast, high capacity mobile broadband,'' ComReg said.

ComReg's chairman Alex Chisholm said the assignment of these spectrum rights by ComReg has been one of the most significant pieces of work undertaken by the commission.

''It is a vital step that promotes competition and allows the next generation of advanced mobile services to be made available to Irish consumers and businesses from next year,'' he added.

The outcome has been welcomed by the four successful bidders.

In a statement, Vodafone said it would invest more than half a billion euro more in the network over the next five years.

"We now have the best possible combination of available spectrum and work has already commenced on upgrading our network nationwide," Jeroen Hoencamp, Vodafone Ireland's chief executive said.

Eircom said the allocation of a licence to Meteor would give the group an excellent platform for the projected growth of mobile data usage throughout Ireland.

"The spectrum acquired is a great step forward for the group. Together with our fibre rollout and investment in LTE services, network investment is a critical pillar supporting the Government's broadband vision and is fully aligned with the national agenda for economic recovery," Herb Hribar, CEO of Eircom Group said.

Telefónica Ireland, which operates the O2 brand, said it plans to commence the rollout of its 4G network in the first half of 2013.

"Telefónica is committing significant investment to the introduction and roll-out of next generation 4G technology in Ireland. 4G will significantly change the way consumers use their mobile devices and will transform our ability to meet customer demand for new products and services," Telefónica Ireland chief Tony Hanway said.

Three Ireland said the allocation would more than double its current spectrum holding and support Three's strategy of continued investment in its network in the long-term.

"This result will enable the roll-out of new technologies such as LTE with speeds of up to 180 Mbps but also allows us to continue to invest in our network going forward," Robert Finnegan, CEO of Three Ireland commented.