Sirius XM May Switch over to XM

Amy Gilroy July 8, 2010 1

Sirius XM is preparing to switch over to XM satellites and run its service over XM rather than Sirius + XM satellites, it told suppliers and car makers.

Strategy Analytics said the satellite radio company told its OEM auto partners to prepare for a switchover to XM by 2016. Two aftermarket car AV suppliers told CEoutlook they were also informed of the change. But they were given no firm cut-off date and it is unclear if 2016 is a sold end date for Sirius satellites.

There are plenty of Sirius-only radios out in the field produced by such brands as Ford, Chrysler, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Volvo, Volkswagen, Subaru, Mitsubishi, Land Rover, MINI USA, Kia, Kenwood and Clarion. In retail stores, most radios sold since 2006/2007 can now work with both services.

Sirius XM did not respond to our inquiry on the switchover.

Industry members said the XM satellite system was considered the more robust system and that certain car companies “are adamant about keeping XM,” in the words of one supplier. “The XM platform is much more suited for OEM than Sirius…. It doesn’t mean they’ll make the satellites go dark. But they are moving very aggressively toward the XM platform,” he added.

Strategy Analystics’ analyst Roger Lanctot wrote in a blog that some car makers “are incensed that Sirius is making this unilateral change with little or nothing in the way of guidelines or even a public information campaign strategy. Sirius has made no public statement yet and company representatives have failed to respond to repeated requests for comment.”

He noted however that the choice to preserve XM over Sirius was a wise one as it is more robust system with a superior repeater network.

The impact of switch to XM on subscribers is not clear. Sirius and XM music services are now very similar and Sirius XM is able to do some cross platform programming (its Best of XM service sends XM channels to Sirius radios). There are also adapters from companies such as Bltizsafe that will convert a Sirius radio to XM.

The obvious benefit to Sirius XM would be considerable savings in the cost to operate satellites.

Source: Strategy Analytics and CEoutlook

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One Comment »

  1. Vicki Brown August 1, 2010 at 6:48 pm -

    My biggest fear is that the XM stations will go away. I refuse to buy a car with Sirius in it. So if by combining Sirius radio with XM satelites it means a change in the available stations, I’ll take a step back in time and stick with FM.