Rumor: Dish planning to sell mobile phones through Blockbuster retail stores as soon as next year

by: AdrianDecember 6, 2012

Anyone familiar with the recent South Park episode called “A Nightmare on Facetime”? In a nutshell, Blockbuster stores were pretty slavishly bashed, being basically called haunted houses where only spirits and ghosts still dare to set foot in.

And while that looked like a pretty realistic picture – I honestly didn’t even know there were still Blockbuster brick and mortar stores open – we might soon see a comeback from the home video rental service provider.

No, renting of DVDs is not going back in style anytime soon, but Blockbuster might be looking to draw up new audiences by… selling phones. What does that have to do with the company’s focus ever since 1985? Very little as far as we can tell, but it’s actually all part of a bigger plan devised by Billboard’s new “father”, Dish.

Dish Network, as you may already know, is looking to extend its area of expertise beyond just satellite broadcasting. To do that, the Colorado-based giant has gone into a real shopping spree last year, acquiring several companies knee-deep in financial trouble. Among them, there were names like DBSD and Terrestar, but also Blockbuster. Subsequently, Dish made a move to buy Hulu as well, but failed.

What was unclear all along however were Dish’s plans for these struggling companies, especially Blockbuster. And while Dish is still reluctant to officially announce if Blockbuster will stay in its usual business of renting and streaming video content, it’s pretty obvious there will be a new focus or at least a new one in addition to the old – mobile.

Blockbuster’s online store has already started selling Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile phones, and, if we are to trust Bloomberg, the handhelds will be up for grabs in 850 brick and mortar locations across the US as soon as next year.

But is this only a first step for Dish? We can only speculate at this time, but we know there are plans for building an entirely new mobile network in the States, which might go live by 2016. The plans were set back earlier this year by the FCC, but, according to new reports, they’re back on track.

Not only that, but there are also speculations that Dish might have joined forces with Google to make this new wireless service reality and that just makes us more excited about the whole thing. Even if we still don’t fully understand Blockbuster’s planned role in this and even if we’re very much aware of how tough would be for Dish and Google to go against the untamed forces that are Verizon, AT&T and even Sprint and T-Mobile.

Any other thoughts? Do you think the Blockbuster brand can be resuscitated through mobile? Would you ever buy a phone from a Blockbuster store? How about a phone on a Google-Dish network?

  • livexunit

    Hey look, im @ a Blockbuster Store down here in the comments…. there is no one here!

  • since no one goes there i can’t see anyone knowing they even sell phones so unless they do a good job of giving good deals on phones and marketing it then no one is going to know or care

  • SamsungFTW

    I saw a Blockbuster store the other day, and it surprised me a bit because I, too, thought they had pretty much become extinct. But if Google and Dish start a mobile network, and sell their service out of Blockbuster stores, Blockbusters will start to be like Starbucks. I say this based purely on the number of people that are fed up with their carriers and ready for some competition to offset their shared monopoly. The current carriers seem to agree that if they all rip us off, they can all get away with it because if we want service we have no choice. Hence the doing away with unlimited data, even for those who were supposed to be grandfathered in, giving everyone an unreasonable data limit, and then making everyone share data on top of it. They are marketing that like it’s a benefit. Yay! I get to use less data so it can be allocated between me and the rest of my family! What a deal!

    I, for one, would switch to Google/Dish without even thinking about it. Even if their speeds are horrible. And even if coverage is the worst of any carrier. And for those who wouldn’t, it’s good for you too, because then the current carriers would have to be less greedy, being that there is a competitor that doesn’t want to rob us all blind.