The two largest operators in the US – AT&T and Verizon Wireless – have come out fighting against further concessions for smaller rivals in next year’s spectrum auction.

Both operators blogged against T-Mobile’s request that a set aside of 30MHz of spectrum for smaller bidders be triggered earlier in the auction process.

“Under the FCC proposal, the set aside does not kick in until bidding reaches several defined thresholds. First, the price for the spectrum hits $1.25 per MHz pop,” said Verizon’s policy blog.

“Second, the rules also require that the auction raise enough to buy out the broadcasters and pay for their relocation expenses before the set aside kicks in,” it continued.

“Now it [T-Mobile US] wants to eliminate the requirement that the auction produces enough revenues overall to pay off the broadcasters,” the blog added.

T-Mobile US, and its CEO John Legere, have argued that the forthcoming spectrum auction is a chance to create a less lopsided mobile market, one that is not so dominated by AT&T and Verizon Wireless.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) accepted a plea for setting aside 30MHz but last week chairman Tom Wheeler rebuffed a T-Mobile US request to expand that pool of reserved frequencies beyond 30MHz.

Claure’s claws are out
Less substantive than the spectrum debate, Legere had a brief to-and-fro on Twitter with Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure.

In typical style, Legere tweeted: “I give credit to @Sprint for swinging the bat when they do – but #allin is a swing and a miss, guys!! l#sprintlikehell”.  The reference is to Sprint’s new All-In tariff.

Normally, rival CEOs remain aloof from Legere but Claure chose to respond: “@JohnLegere am so tired of your Uncarrier bullshit when you are worse than the other two carriers together. Your cheap misleading lease”

It is unclear if Claure’s response was an outburst or, more likely, a calculated tactic. He is in the midst of turning around Sprint. The CEOs of AT&T and Verizon Wireless have chosen not to bandy words with Legere. Unlike the two incumbents, Sprint is a smaller player like T-Mobile US. Perhaps Claure might have decided to behave more like an outsider himself.