When you crack your smartphone screen, your first instinct is probably not to call a satellite TV company. Dish is hoping to change that with its new on-site repair program for phones.
Dubbed Smart Phone Repair, Dish's new service is available to anyone, whether you subscribe to its TV service or not. Dish will send a repair technician to wherever you are, teasing the possibility of same-day appointments in some cases. The company says it can serve any zip code in the U.S.
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Dish offers two kinds of phone repairs — it will replace your phone's screen or swap out a dead battery. What it can't do at the moment is repair Android devices. At launch, Dish is restricting its phone repair service to iPhones, and a limited number of iPhone models at that. Dish will repair an iPhone 5, 5s, 5c, 6 and 6 Plus, according to the drop-down options on its website. The company says it plans to support additional devices "in the coming months."
The lure of turning to Dish to fix your phone is the convenience. Instead of having to lug your broken phone out for repairs — or give up the use of your phone for several days after shipping to an off-site repair center — you can have a Dish technician come to you. Dish also promises same-day repair, estimating that most fixes can be completed within 45 minutes.
You'll pay up for that convenience, though. Prices vary depending upon the model and the repair work you need done, but Dish's screen repairs are a lot pricier than what Apple charges for iPhone service. Dish lists a cost of $135 to fix an iPhone 5c screen — $6 more than Apple's listed price. Fixing an iPhone 6 Plus with Dish will cost you $185; that's $129 through Apple. On the bright side, battery replacement is $4 cheaper through Dish, at $75 than it is at Apple.
Ultimately, the success of Dish's phone repair service will hinge on how quickly it adds support for devices beyond the iPhone and how extensive its Android support turns out to be. If it catches on, look for other service providers to follow Dish's lead. After all, I can't imagine AT&T would be too pleased watching subscribers for its DirecTV service turning to rival Dish to fix their phones.