Seventy-four companies can bid for the next generation ofwireless phone servicesthat go on the block Dec. 5, government officials said today. The 99 licenses covering 51 regions are key pieces of the emerging wireless technology. The market with the highest number of potential bidders -- 34 -- is, surprisingly, American Samoa. Larger markets -- requiring more capital -- have attracted fewer bidders: New York and Los Angeles had 22 and 20 announcing companies respectively. Winners will provide "the telephone systems of the 21st century," FCC Chairman Reed Hundt said. Still, unless these companies -- which include heavy hitters like AT&T, Sprint, TCI and Comcast -- actually innovate with the licenses, the technology will turn out to be a failed promise, communications analyst Jerry Michalski of Release 1.0 told TIME Daily. For instance: "The way to offer the consumer something valuable is to pursue voice data integration," Michalski says. "Very few companies are doing that."