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Blockbuster said to sell smartphones at its retail stores

As Dish moves away from DVD rentals and into mobile-phone sales, could it be making moves to offer its own wireless mobile service?

Blockbuster is rumored to be getting ready to sell mobile phones at its retail stores.

When DVD rentals don't work, maybe sell... mobile phones? Rumor has it that Blockbuster is getting into the phone hawking business at its retail stores, according to Bloomberg.

What seems like a random choice might actually be a conscientious maneuver by Dish Network, which bought the struggling movie rental chain last year. Dish is primarily a provider of satellite-TV service, but over the past year it's been making moves to get into the wireless business.

Recently, Dish launched Blockbuster Mobile and started selling smartphones online. Blockbuster Mobile works with Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon and offers devices including Samsung's Galaxy S3. Selling these phones in brick-and-mortar stores seems like a decent guess for Dish's next step.

After Dish bought Blockbuster, for $320 million, Dish said it planned to keep 1,500 Blockbuster rental stores open and maintain 15,000 employees. However, after hundreds of stores slipped into the red, the company ended up keeping open only about 850 locations. Bloomberg reports that mobile-phone sales are said to be planned for all of the stores that stayed open.

According to Bloomberg, Dish may be heading toward offering its own mobile service. It apparently has bought some wireless airwaves and is waiting to hear back from the Federal Communications Commission about how it will be allowed to use them. Last month Dish said U.S. regulators wouldn't grant immediate approval for its own service, but perhaps now the process is moving along.

"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 chairman and co-founder Charlie Ergen told Bloomberg in October.

Both Dish and Blockbuster declined to comment on whether the DVD rental chain will begin selling mobile phones at its stores.