US gets record bids in airwaves auction

A key benchmark was reached last in the ongoing US government airwaves auction, triggering a provision that the government says will lead to greater freedom and flexibility for cell phone subscribers, an Associated Press report said.

The 'open-access' provision will allow subscribers on about one-third of the publicly owned spectrum to use any phone and any type of software they choose on the resulting network, the Associated Press report said.

The bid came on the same day that a new record was set for most money pledged in an airwaves auction, the report said.

Following 21 rounds of bidding, the total pledged stood at $15.6 billion, beating the previous mark of $13.9 billion set in 2006, it said.

At the same time, another block of airwaves designated for the creation of a national public safety network has not received a bid since the first round, endangering the viability of the plan, the report said.

The open-access spectrum, known as the 'C block,' received a bid of $4.7 billion Thursday in the 17th round, exceeding the $4.6 billion minimum bid required to trigger the consumer-friendly provisions, it further said.