Satellite Radio Growing in US



SIRIUS Satellite Radio announced that it ended 2006 with approximately 6,024,000 subscribers, an 82% increase over the company’s 2005 ending subscriber base of 3,316,560.

SIRIUS added a record 2.7 million net subscribers in 2006. Based on preliminary financial data, SIRIUS achieved its first ever quarter of positive free cash flow in the fourth quarter of 2006.

CEO Mel Karmazin said mobile video could be available in 2008 model lines, geared toward young viewers sitting in the back seat. Sirius subscribers would have to pay an additional charge atop their $13 per month subscription.

Larger rival XM Satellite Radio with some 7.2 million subscribers, has also talked about the possibility of nationwide broadcast of live TV to cars, but said it would wait for signs of a significant market before it rolled out such a service.

XM has agreed to provide 128 kilobits per second of its bandwidth to OnStar Corporation for use with XM-enabled GM vehicles, regardless of whether their owners are XM subscribers. XM plans to introduce the first in-car real-time weather tracking service this summer. The service, which XM developed with Baron Services, will track weather conditions between a GPS-equipped car and its final destination and deliver them in real time via satellite.

Satellite radio is now being built into cars with about half of car owners deciding to sign on as their free, 3-month subscription trial ends. As the number of new cars with satellite radio increase (from about 27% this year to around 55% in 2010), the conversion rate is expected to go down to about 44% by 2010.

Sirius uses 12.5 MHz of the S band between 2320 and 2332.5 MHz. XM uses 12.5 MHz between 2332.5 to 2345.0 MHz.

Both are under fire due to their powerful satellite repeaters which can push out more than 2000 watts EIRP, overpowering two-way, 2.3 GHz WCS wireless broadband radios that AT&T claims can supply competitive broadband wireless services.

Rumors of a merger between the two rival satellite radio providers are still just that — rumors.

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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