Germany raised €5.1 billion in a new auction of radio frequencies for mobile phone network operators, the telecoms regulator said today. 

"After 16 days and 181 rounds, the auction has ended. All three bidders - Telefonica Deutschland, Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone - were successful," the Bundesnetzagentur said in a statement. 

Vodafone bought frequencies for €2.1 billion, Deutsche Telekom for €1.8 billion and Telefonica for €1.2 billion, it added. 

The auction was for frequencies of 700 megahertz (MHz), which will provide faster Internet connections via mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets in rural areas. 

The proceeds will be invested in digital infrastructure.

The revenues of €5.1 billion are a far cry from the €50.8 billion the German government raised in the auction in 2000 for new 3G network licences.