Spectrum auction in Germany for selling 5G frequencies, now into its 10th week, has attracted bids worth 6 billion euros or $6.7 billion so far.
The amount raised in a record 405 auction rounds for the 41 blocks on offer has exceeded forecasts, Reuters reported.
Deutsche Telekom leads in 13 of the blocks, with competitor Vodafone is ahead in 12 and Telefonica Deutschland in eight, according to auction results published by the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA).
New entrant 1&1 Drillisch, a virtual mobile player controlled by United Internet, leads in eight blocks.
Drillisch, and United Internet, have slashed their dividend payouts to conserve cash so that they can stay in the game.
Industry bosses say that inflated auction costs would undermine their ability to invest the billions needed to build 5G networks – as happened in a pricey spectrum auction in Italy last year.
Market leader Deutsche Telekom has complained that the regulator has forced up prices by offering too little spectrum.