Sat Radio Companies OK with Merger Conditions

Conditions on the pending satellite radio merger? That's OK with XM and Sirius.

Both companies wrote the Federal Communications Commission recently about proposed conditions that could be tied to their pending combination. XM and Sirius have stated in the past that they would accept certain requirements such as a la carte programming choices for customers and a price freeze on some subscription plans.

The XM/Sirius letter sent to the commission, which was obtained this week, came after FCC Chairman Kevin Martin began circulating a proposed order among other commissioners that would clear the companies' merger.

On a la carte, the companies said they would offer a range of options, including the sale of 50 channels for $6.99 a month, allowing customers to choose either 50 Sirius channels or 50 XM channels. Additional channels can be added for 25 cents each, and premium programming would be priced at an additional cost. Also, 100 channels would be available on an a la carte basis for $14.99 a month.

There also would be news/sports related or family tiers available to customers, the companies said. XM and Sirius said they would have a la carte radios available at retail three months after completion of the merger.

On equipment, XM and Sirius said a merged company would permit any device manufacturer to develop equipment that can receive satellite radio. And device manufacturers will be permitted to incorporate other technology in receivers, including HD Radio, iPod ports, internet connectivity or other services.

XM and Sirius also said a combined company will not raise the retail price for the basic $12.95 per month subscription package, or for any a la carte programming offerings, for three years after completion of the merger.

As for a public interest set-aside of channels, the companies said they would offer six channels from each service, amounting to 4 percent of full-time channels, to non-commercial, educational and informational programming. And the companies said they would launch service to Puerto Rico wither three months after the merger.