WASHINGTON — The two largest cell-phone companies dominated bidding in a record-setting government airwaves auction, according to results released Thursday.

WASHINGTON — The two largest cell-phone companies dominated bidding in a record-setting government airwaves auction, according to results released Thursday.

AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless combined to account for $16 billion of the $19.6 billion bid in the auction, an Associated Press analysis of the Federal Communications Commission data shows. Verizon Wireless bid $9.4 billion and AT&T $6.6 billion.

The results raised concern that the auction failed to attract any new competitors to the cellular telephone market to challenge the dominant companies.

Google Inc. was not among the winners, meaning the search engine giant will not be entering the wireless business.

One new entrant, Frontier Wireless LLC, owned by leading satellite television company EchoStar Corp., won nearly enough licenses to create a nationwide footprint. Frontier bid $712 million, according to FCC data.

Verizon Wireless, a joint venture between Verizon Communications Inc. and British telecom giant Vodaphone Group PLC, won nearly every license in the consumer-friendly "C block."

The frequencies, which encompass about one-third of the spectrum at auction, is subject to "open access" provisions pushed by the FCC chairman, Kevin Martin. That means people on the network can use whatever phones or software they wish.

Verizon won enough licenses to cover every state but Alaska and said in a statement it was very pleased with the results.

Google posted a bid for the C block licenses early in the auction, assuring that the open-access provision would be put in place, but the offer was not enough.

The third leading bidder was Qualcomm Inc., which pledged $1 billion.

A section of airwaves dedicated for a nationwide emergency communications network failed to attract a winning bidder. Martin said Thursday he had ordered an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the matter.

Public interest groups asked the agency on Wednesday to investigate allegations about a meeting between Frontline Wireless LLC and its financial backers and a company called Cyren Call, created by Nextel Corp. co-founder Morgan O'Brien.

Frontline was widely expected to bid on the public safety spectrum block. But the company dropped out before the auction began after failing to meet a minimum required payment.

Cyren Call was acting as the agent for a nonprofit public safety trust that would operate a shared network with the winning bidder.

On the Net:

Federal Communications Commission: www.fcc.gov/