DISH Network Corp (NASDAQ:DISH) has finally given up its attempts to acquire Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S). The Financial Times’ David Gelles reports that a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission indicated on Thursday that the satellite television provider was abandoning its bid.

Dish Network

Next Steps For Sprint Nextel

Earlier this week, DISH Network Corp (NASDAQ:DISH) said it wouldn’t increase its bid for Sprint Nextel. Softbank Corp. (TYO:9984) (PINK:SFTBF), the Japanese telecom company which originally wanted to buy Sprint, increased its offer to $21.6 billion for 78 percent of Sprint’s shares last week.

Now that DISH Network has dropped out of the race, Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) shareholders will be able to vote on the offer from Softbank, and it’s expected that they will accept the offer. U.S. regulators must still provide the final clearance on the deal, although the Department of Justice has approved it on one condition. Softbank Corp. (TYO:9984) (PINK:SFTBF) agreed not to use equipment made by Chinese manufacturers in any part of Sprint Nextel’s network when it does the improvements it is planning.

Is It Over For DISH Network?

Even though DISH Network Corp (NASDAQ:DISH) didn’t win Sprint Nextel, it may not be completely out of the wireless game just yet. On Thursday Clearwire Corporation (NASDAQ:CLWR) said it would officially accept the increased buyout offer from Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S), which had been raised to $5 per share. However, officially accepting it and having the transaction actually close are two different things.

Gelles reports that DISH Network has been collecting billions of dollars’ worth of wireless spectrum as a hedge to protect against the decline of the satellite television business, which is maturing rapidly. The problem for the company right now is that it doesn’t have a way to deploy it if it does not acquire Sprint or Clearwire Corporation (NASDAQ:CLWR).

Softbank’s Next Move

On Thursday in Tokyo, Softbank Corp. (TYO:9984) (PINK:SFTBF)’s annual meeting was held, and CEO Masayoshi Son attempted to convince shareholders that his plan to turn the company into the world’s biggest mobile provider would work. He said that he was thinking about acquiring T-Mobile USA if the deal with Sprint Nextel didn’t work out.

A source however, told The Financial Times that the company may get back into the acquisition race for the struggling U.S. carrier. The source believes that regulators in the U.S. may allow Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) and T-Mobile USA to merge in order to make a stronger rival for AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ).