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What: Shares of Clearwire (Nasdaq: CLWR) plummeted as much as 24% in early trading, and remain down nearly that much as of this writing. The WiMAX network operator got shut out of a deal between LightSquared and Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S).

So what: Sprint gets $9 billion in cash to help run LightSquared's LTE network. Terms also call for the carrier to receive $4.5 billion in credits to buy access to the network, which would, in theory, reduce Sprint's reliance on Clearwire and its rival standard to deliver 4G service, The Associated Press reports. Interestingly, investors hated the terms of Sprint's deal; the telecom's shares slumped nearly 20% on the news.

Now what: Forget for a moment Sprint's newfound love for LightSquared. AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) are winning customers with their LTE-in-training networks, while Boingo Wireless (Nasdaq: WIFI) handles high-speed connectivity at more than 300,000 Wi-Fi hotspots around the world. All signs point to decreasing interest in Clearwire's WiMAX offering. Do you agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think using the comments box below.

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This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.