Dish Network Plans Cellphone Sales at Blockbuster

Posted by at 4:42 pm on December 6, 2012

Blockbuster is planning to diversity its business into mobile phone sales as a test for owner Dish Network’s planned entry into the wireless business, according to sources familiar with the matter. The effort will begin in Blockbuster’s 850 surviving retail locations shortly, with the once-giant movie-rental business selling phones from Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and T-Mobile.

Chairman and Co-founder of Dish Charlie Ergen said in October that Dish had planned on using the stores to sell phones since it purchased the chain in 2011. “Wireless will complement all of our technologies and allow us to be in more places and offer more of our services on one bill,” he said.

Dish has acquired a portion of the broadcast spectrum, and is awaiting revised rules from the Federal Communications Commission on how it may use the acquired bandwidth. The FCC chairman believes that Dish’s entry into the wireless sector would stoke competition into the rapidly consolidating market.

Dish Network plans to deploy an LTE-Advanced network to cover 30 percent of the US population. The company is required to deploy that network to the 30 percent mark within three years, or by 2016, but Dish maintains that is unrealistic, as the network must undergo development, testing, certification, and deployment.

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