by Carlo Longino

Filed Under:
satellite radio

primosphere, sirius, xm

Company Says If XM and Sirius Merge, It Wants To Enter The Market

from the man-behind-the-curtain? dept

Originally, four companies bid on the licenses to operate satellite radio networks in the US; XM and Sirius were the only two left standing. However, one of the losing companies, Primosphere, is now requesting that if XM and Sirius merge, it be given half their spectrum so it can launch its own service. This is a particularly interesting development. On the face of it, the request by Primosphere would seem to take care of the supposedly pro-consumer concerns of the National Association of Broadcasters, which objects to the merger since it would only leave one satellite radio company. However, a merged XM-Sirius would resist giving up half its spectrum, since that would reduce its programming capacity, so it seems like there could be a catch-22 for the companies. Merge, and lose half their spectrum, or keep the spectrum and remain independent. The fact that Primosphere's popped back up after requesting its license application be withdrawn in 2004 has led some to speculate that another player could be motivating it. Given the way the debate over this merger has played out so far, that wouldn't too surprising.

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  • identicon
    Chris Maresca, 12 Jul 2007 @ 6:22pm

    From my reading...

    ... it seems that not ALL the spectrum was actually auctioned and that at least 50% of the available spectrum remains unused. It's that 50% that Primosphere is asking for, not 50% of the merged companies spectrum...

    But I could be wrong.


    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Carlo, 12 Jul 2007 @ 6:42pm

      Re: From my reading...

      Chris, I believe that 50 MHz was originally allocated for the satellite radio services, but only 2x12.5 MHz licenses were awarded at 2320 MHz-2345 MHz (see http://www.jneuhaus.com/fccindex/2_3_ghz.html). The 2345-2360 MHz portion became the WCS spectrum that's owned by various telcos.

      I'd be interested to see anything that could shed some more light on this, though.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Chris Maresca, 13 Jul 2007 @ 8:35am

        Re: Re: From my reading...

        Well, the article you link to says:

        "Because the FCC stated that they would "re-auction the [SDARS] license among the other existing applicants" should one of the licenses be otherwise denied."

        Which strongly suggests that the spectrum is still available. But I don't know anything about spectrum, so....


        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jason, 12 Jul 2007 @ 8:20pm

    I'd be really interested to see the financial backing of Primosphere. Seems to me they're being pushed along by the NAB to do anything in their power to stop this merger. So far all of the lies and US Senators that the NAB has tried to bring on board to stop this merger isn't working. They need a new angle, and this works perfect for what they're trying to accomplish.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    llama, 12 Jul 2007 @ 8:21pm

    Howard's going to be pissed

    monday howard will be back on, he's going to rip those people a new black hole but it won't matter.

    Basically Jesus wins everyone. Get used to it in this country.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sanguine Dream, 13 Jul 2007 @ 6:50am

    Shadow games...

    In light of all the tactics the NAB has pulled so far I would not be surprised if they were backing Primosphere. I don't think a player that had seemed to have fallen by the wayside (because of lack of funding or lack of profitibilty) or a brand new player would make such a ballsy request.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    anonymous, 16 Jul 2007 @ 5:09pm

    From the FCC's 1997 SDARS Report & Order:
    Although we originally allocated 50 MHz of spectrum for satellite DARS in the S-band (2310-2360 MHz), recently enacted legislation directed the Commission to reallocate 25MHz of that spectrum (and an adjacent 5 MHz) for any services consistent with the allocation table and associated international agreements and to assign licenses for that 25 MHz by auction. Accordingly, in this proceeding we will designate only two licenses for satellite DARS in the 25MHz that remains in the part of the S-band previously allocated for satellite DARS. We will award both satellite DARS licenses using competitive bidding to resolve mutual exclusivity among the current applicants, under the auction rules we adopt today.

    FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, June 25, 2007:
    The Commission has allocated the entire 2310-2360 MHz band for use by SDARS. The 2310-2320 MHz band and
    2345-2360 MHz band have been assigned for use by the Wireless Communications Service, but the spectrum
    remains allocated for SDARS. See 47 C.F.R. ยง 2.106.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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