Dish Network plans to sell mobile phones in through its Blockbuster stores, according to a report from Bloomberg.
The report, citing unnamed sources, said that Dish has begun selling Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) and T-Mobile USA phones through Blockbuster's website, and that the company plans to expand those sales to its 850 Blockbuster retail stores.
Dish and Blockbuster declined to comment on the report, according to Bloomberg.
Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile phones are currently available through Blockbuster's "Blockbuster Mobile" website. The site is powered by Simplexity, which runs a number of other online mobile phone sites include its own Wirefly.com site.
"Wireless will complement all of our technologies and allow us to be in more places and offer more of our services on one bill," Dish CEO Joe Clayton told Bloomberg.
Dish currently sells its satellite TV offerings through its Blockbuster stores, and the addition of wireless phones could signal Dish's intention to expand its wireless operations.
Dish purchased Blockbuster in 2011. Around the same time, Dish acquired 40 MHz of MSS S-band spectrum in the 2 GHz band. Dish is now awaiting final FCC rules that would allow Dish to deploy an LTE Advanced network on its MSS spectrum, which the FCC has renamed AWS-4. Dish has said it could launch the network by 2016.
The FCC will vote on the rules for Dish's spectrum Dec. 12. The agency will also vote on rules for the auction of the PCS H Block.
However, Dish executives have said the company would likely partner with another wireless carrier in order to enter the wireless business. Those discussions likely have been stalled by recent industry consolidation: Softbank is working to purchase 70 percent of Sprint for $20.1 billion, and T-Mobile is working to merge with MetroPCS (NYSE:PCS).
Interestingly, last month the Wall Street Journal reported that Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Dish held talks in recent weeks about collaborating on a wireless broadband service. The report, citing unnamed sources familiar with the situation, said that the talks are not advanced and might not amount to anything.
- see this Bloomberg article
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