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verizonwirelesslogoBoth Sprint and Dish Network are looking to buy Clearwire, the Bellevue-based wireless broadband operator that’s most coveted for its spectrum holdings. But now there may be another player in the mix.

The Wall Street Journal reports today that Verizon Wireless has offered to pay as much as $1.5 billion to Clearwire for its spectrum leases.

This news comes just hours after Dish Network offered $25.5 billion to buy Sprint Nextel. That follows the satellite TV provider’s previous offer to gobble up Clearwire for $3.30 per share, or $5.15 billion, slightly more than $2.97 per share offer from Sprint.

A study that one Clearwire shareholder commissioned shows that the company’s spectrum is worth two to three times more than what Sprint is currently offering.

In January, Clearwire CEO Erik Prusch did his best to keep staffers focused, even with the media reports circling. In a memo to staff titled “Transaction Update,” Prusch reassures staff that there are no layoffs planned at this time and that “Clearwire remains a separate company and it is business as usual for all of us.”

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