Dish Network Wednesday ended its bid to acquire Clearwire, clearing the path for rival Sprint Nextel to acquire the 50 percent of Clearwire it does not already own.
Dish said it was withdrawing its tender offer to acquire Clearwire for $4.40 per share, which was topped last week when Sprint raised its bid to $5.00 a share.
Dish had sought Clearwire's spectrum as part of an effort to build a company that could deliver a fully integrated nationwide bundle of video, television, broadband Internet and voice services.
Dish's proposed Clearwire takeover ran in parallel to a Dish campaign to acquire Sprint itself for $25.5 billion. But Dish abandoned that acquisition last week after Japan's SoftBank raised its bid for Sprint.
On Tuesday, Sprint shareholders overwhelmingly approved SoftBank's $21.6 billion offer for a controlling stake in Sprint.
The Clearwire acquisition is seen as key to efforts by Sprint and SoftBank to create a company with enough US spectrum capacity to compete with bigger carriers Verizon and AT&T. Sprint is the third-largest US mobile carrier.
Clearwire shares fell 1.8 percent in after-hours trading. Dish shares fell 0.2 percent in after-hours trading.