Still got a Blockbuster nearby? It may become a cell phone store


With the prominence of services such as Netflix and Hulu, renting movies from a local Blockbuster has become a staple of the past. The dated rental company, however, may begin to change with the times. Dish Network is reportedly planning to start selling mobile phones at Blockbuster’s remaining brick and mortar locations.

Blockbuster recently began selling phones on its website under the moniker “Blockbuster Mobile,” and has been working with carriers such as Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile. This movement will expand to Blockbuster’s 850 retail locations, according to Bloomberg who spoke with sources familiar with the matter.

Dish, which acquired Blockbuster last year, could be using this venture to launch its very own mobile phone service. The company now owns a batch of wireless airwaves and is waiting for approval from the FCC before makings its next move.

The satellite TV service provider had planned on utilizing Blockbuster to sell mobile phones ever since it purchased the chain in 2011, Dish chairman and co-founder Charlie Ergen said according to Bloomberg. The company plans to bring on a partner to facilitate the launch of its mobile services, but all talks are on hold until Dish gains permission from the FCC.

“Wireless will compliment all of our technologies and allow us to be in more places and offer more of our services on one bill,” Joe Clayton, Dish’s Chief Executive Officer, said to Bloomberg yesterday.

This could introduce Dish into a whole new sector of the mobile market, giving the company an opportunity to excel in more than one area. Competing companies Verizon and AT&T currently control more than half of the U.S. market. Dish might be able to team up with an existing carrier, but further plans have been detailed at this time.

However, Blockbuster will have a sizeable hurdle to overcome: its lack of retail locations. Dish closed down half of the 1,700 Blockbuster stores when it bought the company out of bankruptcy in 2011, Bloomberg reports. AT&T and Verizon have more than 4,000 retail locations combined. When the movie rental company was owned by Viacom in 2004, it spanned about 9,000 brick and mortar stores.