Thu, Jul 12th 2007 6:15pm
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 The fact that Primosphere's popped back up after requesting its license application be withdrawn in 2004 has led some to speculate that another player could be motivating it.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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