Satellite tv operator Dish Networks is preparing to sell mobile phones through its Blockbuster video stores, according to a Bloomberg report. Dish bought the Blockbuster chain in April 2011 and has already started offering mobile phones on the Blockbuster website, so it seems logical that consumers will soon be able to purchase smartphones at the retail stores.
The news comes less than three weeks after reports that Dish Networks and Google might be planning to launch a cellular network. Dish holds spectrum in the 2 GHz band and the 700 MHz band, and has said that it hopes to launch a wireless broadband business by finding a partner. In the past, the company has considered partnering with or buying a carrier, according to reports, but that looks less likely in light of the recently announced Sprint Nextel/Softbank merger and T-Mobile USA’s deal with MetroPCS.
Blockbuster partners with nationwide U.S. carriers to offer the phones on its website, so the business could be in jeopardy if Dish gets serious about launching a cellular network. Such a move would put Dish into direct competition with Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA, so the carriers might not continue working with Dish’s Blockbuster unit to offer phones.