Remember how Sprint made that $2.1 billion offer for Clearwire? Everyone saw it coming from a mile away, and it was the logical next step for the relationship between Sprint and Clearwire. But now, there’s a potential third suitor involved – and Sprint’s not very happy about it.

Dish Network is now offering Clearwire $2.2 billion, along with an 11% increase over Sprint’s offer for Clearwire shares. Dish wants Clearwire’s valuable spectrum to start building out a new cellular network in the United States, even though there are lots of hurdles that stand in the way: with Sprint already owning more than half of the company, there are most likely numerous agreements in place that prohibit just the type of partnership that Dish wants to create.

In a press release last night, Sprint stated that its offer was superior to Dish’s:

In contrast, the DISH proposal includes a series of interdependent commercial agreements, debt and equity purchases and spectrum sales, which together with the other conditions required by DISH to complete the transaction, makes the proposal not viable. In addition, the DISH proposal would require Sprint to voluntarily waive rights that it holds as a stockholder of Clearwire and that it possesses through various vendor and customer contracts that significantly predate Sprint’s proposed acquisition of the remainder of Clearwire. Sprint does not intend to waive any of its rights and looks forward to closing the transaction with Clearwire and helping consumers across the country realize the benefits of this combination.

It will certainly be interesting to see what ends up coming out of all this. But even if it doesn’t work out for Dish, there’s always Google, right?

[New York Times | Sprint]