The US telecoms regulator, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has announced that 214 firms have been cleared to enter the forthcoming 700MHz spectrum auction. The big-name bidders include major cellular operators, including AT&T and Verizon Wireless, as well as newcomers to the wireless sector such as Google. Almost 1,200 licences will be up for grabs in the auction, which is scheduled to start on 24 January. The whole auction is expected to take several weeks and will run until bidding has ended on all of the licences on offer. Almost a third of the spectrum will be subject to so-called ‘open access’ rules, which will require the winning bidder to allow access to the airwaves by any suitable device or application. This spectrum carries a reserve price of USD4.6 billion and it is thought Google may offer this as an opening bid then take no further part, thus ensuring that the open access frequencies are sold.