Dish wireless network could come from slinging phones at Blockbuster

Rent a movie, buy a phone

In the pre-Netflix world, Blockbuster reigned supreme. Now, you're more likely to find shelled-out buildings with fading blue and yellow signs than a functioning storefront.

The passé DVD and video game rental shops may get a new lease on life, however, if a report from Bloomberg turns out to be true. Not only that, Dish Network might finally find its avenue to become a wireless service provider.

Sources speaking with the publication reported that the plan is to shift Blockbuster Mobile, an online service that sells devices on carriers like Verizon and Sprint, to the roughly 850 Blockbuster retail locations.

Dish, a satellite TV service provider, bought Blockbuster last year. While it seems the initial move would be to continue selling phones on other networks, it opens the door for Dish to start sending out phones on its own wireless network.

Ball rolling

This isn't just a flight of fancy for Dish - the company has gobbled up wireless airwaves and is waiting word from the Federal Communications Commission on how it can use the spectrum.

Selling phones out of Blockbuster storefronts has been Dish's plan since it bought the chain in April 2011, Bloomberg noted.

While it may be hard for some to believe, the stores -once 9,000 strong - still rent and sell DVDs while also serving as a venue for Dish to sell its satellite services.

Part of Dish's plan is to work with another company to get its wireless service off the ground.

Dish has reportedly sat down with Google to discuss a wireless service partnership, though those talks were in the preliminary stages and might not lead anywhere.

The company's CEO also said Tuesday that Dish won't hold more talks with potential partners until it hears back from the FCC.

Though Dish has a steep hill to climb - AT&T and Verizon own much of the wireless market, while the companies' retail stores number above 4,000 - partnering with another company could be the ticket to offering a truly competitive service.

Either way, buying phones and renting movies have always gone hand in hand...right?

Via Bloomberg

Michelle Fitzsimmons

Michelle was previously a news editor at TechRadar, leading consumer tech news and reviews. Michelle is now a Content Strategist at Facebook.  A versatile, highly effective content writer and skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, Michelle is a collaborative problem solver and covered everything from smartwatches and microprocessors to VR and self-driving cars.