Is XM Radio Online working for you? - Orbitcast

Is XM Radio Online working for you?

XMSince last Wednesday I've been getting inundated with emails from frustrated users who have had problems with XM Radio Online. I tweeted about it, and received mixed responses.

Most of the emails were about 128kps streaming, but now it seems that is back to normal (for some, at least).
Sirius XM did not respond to an inquiry by Orbitcast, but reportedly customer service representatives have indicated that only accounts that were updated between March 6th and March 10th were affected. Still, other readers disagree.

Aside from calls to customer service, the company has not issued any official communication to subscribers about the outage, to my knowledge.

So with the details scant, I'm curious what your own experience has been. Are you having problems with XM Radio Online? Sound off in the comments below.


I upgraded to the $2.99/mo premium streaming last week. My card was charged and the XMRO package showed up in my account, but the player was stuck at low bandwidth and said I needed to upgrade.

But as of a few minutes ago, I FINALLY have 128k! It's about time.

Honestly I never even went for the on-line version. Been with XM since 2001 and Listen to Pandora.

XM who?

renewed my sub for 1-year the day before the cutoff to retain xmro streaming, it hasn't worked since.

It's working great for me, been listening all day and changing channels.

I got an email on Saturday, included below. I was FINALLY able to get back online then.

Dear SIRIUS XM Subscriber,

Thank you for being an XM listener and recently renewing your XM subscription. We hope you're pleased with the unparalleled listening experience XM Radio provides.

We recently processed your order to extend your subscription and unfortunately there was a technical issue that may have prevented your continued free access to the XM Radio Online listening account. This issue does not affect your radio subscription, only your XM Radio Online listening account.

If you are affected by this issue, you will get a message when logging on to XM Radio Online that says "Sorry, your XM Radio Online has been deactivated."

Simply click on the "Update Your Subscription" link in the message, and on the next screen enter your Radio ID. This will enable access. Your Radio ID is ########.

We apologize for any inconvenience this technical issue may have caused you. If you have any questions about your subscription or about listening online, please call us at 1-800-XM-RADIO.

Everything Worth Listening To Is Now On XM. With XM you can listen to great channels, programs, personalities, legendary DJs and celebrity hosts. Plus, we recently added more exclusive programming like Elvis Radio®, Bruce Springsteen's E Street Radio and The Foxxhole presented by Jamie Foxx.

Thank you for being a loyal listener and continue to enjoy SIRIUS XM Radio.

Joe Zarella
Chief Service Officer

Did NOT upgrade the online service.

Do not encounter a problem from 6 am to Noon. Monday through Friday

In one of your earlier tweets, I checked and had problems with it constantly buffering after 5-8 seconds of radio.


Online is not working for me. But that's because I'm not paying the extra fee for it. I remember reading/hearing that one of the terms of the "merger" were no price increases. What happened to that?

I agreed to a 3 year contract on 2/24. XM billed my credit card on 3/5. I have access to XM online but am limited to the 32k stream.

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Yep. I upgraded my account on the 12th of March (I pay monthly). Payed the $2.99 and still have 32Kbps. Had to use a OPRAH promo code to get 30 days free. That WAS at 128Kbps. I'll wait. But I'm going to call XM when all is said and done to get a credit.

I'm on a 5-year plan, for which no "account update" was necessary for continued access to XM Radio online. I just tried it, and i'm shut out.

Pretty much par for the course for Sirius XM since the merger. A company not at all focused on customer service or customer value.

I "locked-in" for a year before March 11th, mainly so I would get the better price on XM Everything. From reading the emails from XM, I thought that the free XMRO was going away (and being moved to a premium sub) so I wanted to lock that in too.

What it looks like now is...XMRO is still free, it's just at a crappy bitrate of 32kbps. If you want the better stream (128k replaced the 64k), you have to pay $3/month. Is that the way it is for everyone?

Yeah, it stinks but I'll live.

My XM Online is technically working but I'm only getting 32K streaming, not 128K. I did sign up for a trial account and that login gets 128K streams.

I did get some feedback from XM regarding this issue:
We are also sorry to hear that you are experiencing difficulties modifying your online player to receive the full quality potential of our service. Please note that this issue has been escalated to our Technical Department. Our Technicians are vigorously working to resolve this issue within a timely manner. We apologize for the inconvenience caused.

Hopefully XM gets this fixed soon. The 128K streams work - if you're a new customer I guess.

First off, sorry for being such a pest Ryan. I was just enraged by the lack of information from XM Customer service. I have called them numerous times since last Wednesday just trying to get an update as to when the Premium Service would be working. What I've learned more than anything else is that they are in the dark and clueless. Not that I expected any less, but the range of reasons I was given for the XMRO Premium not working was insane.

First I was told that my computer must be too slow. I said that I have a brand new Dell Laptop. The customer service rep’s response to that was “your internet connection must be too slow”. I said that I have DSL at a guaranteed bandwidth 6.0Mb. Then I was told that it was streaming at 128k and it must be that my computer's speakers are too "small" to replicate the CD quality sound. Then I asked for her to explain to me why when I clicked on the settings tab on the bottom right of the online player I was seeing "Choose Your Listening Experience" next to which it says "Your package does not include premium online listening. Upgrade now." I was told that was showing in error and would be corrected soon, but assured once again that the stream was 128k. My eight year old could tell that the stream was 32k just by the tinny, compressed sound. Just for shits and giggles, I signed up for a three day trail of Sirius Radio on line to compare. I listened to O&A on both. Sirius Online radio was obviously much better audio. Then I went to the 70’s channel, the all Metallica all the time channel (yuck) and then Hair Nation. Through the Sirius Online Radio, these stations sounded better than I ever heard them sound. When I switched over to XMRO, the sound was muddy and weak. I was just confirming what I already knew to be the case.

Tired of being jerked around I asked that I be connected to Technical Support. Within a minute I could tell I was wasting my time, again. I explained what was happening to the guy from tech support and he signed into my online radio account. He said “I got in no problem”. I asked him to click on the settings tab to see if he was getting the same error message that I was getting. He confirmed that he was. I asked him to take a listen and tell me how it sounded and he told me that he couldn't because he didn't have speakers on his computer. He then put me on hold for over twenty minutes just to come back and say “We’re working on it”. I asked for some kind of an estimate for how long it would take to get resolved and he said “Try again in 24 hours”. I mentioned that was the same thing I was told by customer service when they ran out of guesses as what the problem was. He then told me to email the group that deals with XMRO and they could help. I let him know that I did in fact email them four days ago and they never responded. He said that they must be really busy. I thought to myself, why would they be busy if the XMRO was working fine for everyone but me. Disgusted, I hung up.

Let me say that I really wasn’t chasing this issue with XMRO because I just had to have it right away. This was more of an experiment to see what the current state of XM was. In the past, I’ve never had an issue with XM customer service. Any time I had a problem, they were right on it. I understand that the economy is in the toilet and every company has had layoffs which has left them short staffed. For the most part that has inspired companies whose customer service was lacking to step things up. Take extra care of the customer in hopes of return business. That would make sense for a company like Sirius/XM that depends on customer retention. Instead XMRO is launched, but doesn’t work. Customer service has no idea what is going on and neither does technical support. Email support is either to busy to respond or doesn’t have any answers and isn’t responding intentionally. There isn’t a mention of issues on the XM website. No email sent to customers asking them to be patient while they work through issues with the new Premium Online Radio. No communication whatsoever. Not the slightest bit of a sign that they give a shit that there is a problem. I would never have put this much time into something like this before, but I have been a supporter and customer of XM for years now. I figured that if I didn't at least make an attempt to correct it, then I didn’t have a right to complain. I’ve home from work the last two day due to illness, so I had some time to kill. I wasn't upset that the Premium Service wasn't working right out of the gate, I was upset that XM didn't care enough to let me know.

At the end of all of this I once again feel disappoint in XM. Yeah, I know I am a shit head and should just cancel blah blah blah. Zero point Zero. And to make things worse…………It still doesn’t FUCKING work!!

Has anyone got XMRO to stream successfully at 128k?

They won't give an official response, ever. That's not their style, they'd prefer to let everyone remain in the dark frustrated.

How were you able to tell that it changed? Wanted to know what I should be looking out for.

Mine is still not working. I just get 32kbps which is horrible compared to the 64k before and the 128k that I'm able to get with the free trial account.

I have at least received an email from XM acknowledging a problem and that they are working on it. I think most people are just angry that things don't work, and there's no official statement on the issue. The customer gets the impression that XM doesn't care about paying customers or that XM is incompetent or both.

It doesn't help that their customer service "staff"/call-center gives contradictory information, even telling people they are not supposed to get the Premium Online.

No problems here, though I do notice there's no longer a choice for high-quality vs. low-quality streaming. I listen to a lot of talk (202 and MLB) so I don't really notice the difference.

32k is working but not 128k. I locked in my account before the dead line and every time I call support they tell me to try back in 24 hours. The Oprah 30 day trial is working fine at 128k.

It's weird, when you call customer "service", it really feels like company that's chasing it's tail.

To check the bitrate of the stream you're listening to, right-click the small Windows Media Player contols (where the play and stop buttons are), and click properties.

I signed up for the $2.99 premium last Wednesday, but am still stuck with 32K.

Boy am I glad I canceled my XM radio when I did, its amusing to see what used to be such a great company now a shell of its former self. Sirius has messed up satellite radio big time

When I sign in , I get ' Invalid email and/or password.
Please try again! '

I didn't pay for the upgrade, and I'm still listening fine everyday.

I've called XM 4 times since 3/11. It didn't work at first, then it did but at 31 kbps, now it doesn't again. This song and dance is getting old. This is the broken English email I received from the company

Dear Rich,

Thank you for contacting XM.

We apologize for the delayed response to your email.

We are happy to hear that the XM Radio Online audio quality is great. We have forwarded your query as it relates to the "KBPS" unto the relevant department.

Thank you for being an XM Satellite Radio listener and we look forward to many years of providing you with exceptional radio listening.

If we can be of further assistance, please feel free to send an additional email or you may contact a Listener Care Representative directly at 1-800-XM RADIO (800-967-2346). Our Listener Care Center's hours of operation are as follows:

Monday - Saturday: 8 AM 11 PM ET
Sunday: 8AM - 8PM ET

Thank you,

Melisia? And my comment about the "great quality" (I made no such compliment) but they'll forward my complaint about "THE KBPS" to the proper department. I've been blown off. No wonder the stock is getting delisted

There's something wrong with the Liquid Metal stream, mine only plays metallica songs. ???

Still stuck at 32k here.

Here is the deal! XM On Line has allways provided 128 Kbps, but you had to select it in the settings menu. I have a 5 yr contract which expires March of 2010. Long term contracts still get XM Online, and XM online autonomously decides whether the link can handle the 128 K. Mine is still running at 128 K and the user no longer gets to choose. The scam is that XM made it sound like only a new life time contract will get the 128 K, or you had to upgrade your contract to get XM online at all. The truth is you have XM online until your current contract runs out, and if you have it and your link/computer can handle it, then you get 128.

I also signed up for premium service and the settings section still says that my account does not include premium streaming. I would contact customer support, but from previous comments, it does not look like there would be any point.

Slacker premium is about the same price, eh?

I have a lifetime subscription to "XM Everything with Best of Sirius" but I don't get the option to set my stream quality. I just sent XM an e-mail asking them what's up with that. Hopefully I'll hear something soon.

As of this morning my online listening is still at 32k.

I upgraded my radio to a lifetime subscription.

When I go into settings I get the following message.

Choose your listening experience: Your package does not include premium online listening. Upgrade now.

I wish I had an ETA of when this was going to start working correctly!

MultiChannel News

I am so glad I deal with Sirius.... everyone I know that has XM has had some sort of problem.

The bit abou t"only accounts that were updated between March 6th and March 10th" is definitely NOT true. Many of us who are still having problems locked-in in February.


XM Listener Care was one of their stronger points prior to the merger. Since Sirius has taken over it's gone to shit

Mine is still 32k.

Locked in on December 31st, lifetime account. As of March 11th, no 128 kbps, and as of today (3/18), still no 128 kbps. I spread the word about the free 30-day trial option and it looks like many have had to go that route.

If they haven't fixed it in 30 days I see a class-action lawsuit coming.

I'm still at 32kbs, which is unlistenable, and getting a message that my package does not include premium listening. I'm in a one year subscription so that is wrong. They have had over a week to fix this. Ridiculous.

It works fine but sometimes the programming on-line is not the same as on the device. I like to listen to "This Americam Life" but on Saturdays at 1:00pm when it's on the device, it is not on on-line ("The Bob Edwards Show" is). This is very frustrating.

I upgraded my subscription term on March 7th to a two year term after being led to believe I would be getting online listening for that term for FREE at "near quality CD sound" which their website now defines as 128 kbps.

Still not streaming at 128 kbps. Have called "listener care centers" numerous times over the last week only to receive NO assistance, mis-information and the WORST service. Have emailed specific and detailed complaints only to receive emails back that do not address my issue or complaint.

Still at 32k here as well; lifetime sub

I am finally getting 128kbps after a week of frustration caused by the inept customer service dept. at XM. I can no longer recommend this service to anyone without warning them about the lack of communication on the part of a company that is unwilling to inform it's subscribers about things they need to know.

Still at 32knps online streaming... Its frustrating that even after 7 days and no communication to the customers they still have not fixed the problem.

I did not upgrade. XM online works just fine. Usually listen to 202 at work so I don't need the 128K feed.

Turns out even slacker is being hit with some outage this morning. Where are you pro-slacker people to complain??

BTW, my SIRIUS account didn't upgrade to 128 and I have a lifetime subscription...any ideas?

I'm still stuck at the 32Kbit rate (sounds pretty poor) on my lifetime subscription.

Thanks to Orbitcast for reporting on this issue. I hope we can look forward to continuing coverage of customer service and quality issues.

If you have a lifetime, thats all you will get 32k. They don't give away the 128k for free.

I haven't tried my XMRO as I did not lock anything in. It should completely expire on 04/21 which is my renewal anyways.

My Sirius Premium Internet stream continues to work fine on my PC and my SL2.

Customer service has told me (and many others) that lifetimers are entitled to 128K but are not getting it in many cases now due to technical problems. Also, an xmFan poster reported that 2 sources "well up the food chain" in corporate told him the same thing.

But that doesn't mean it's true.

I have called them 3 times, I blogged about this a few days ago here:

During my 3rd call they told me that I wouldn't get the premium stream for free even though I "locked in" with a 2 year subscription before March 11.

I also 'locked in' longer subscriptions & the quality went from an acceptable 64k down to an unacceptable 31k.

I sent an email inquiry and got an awkward response that said try back in 48 hours. 4 days have passed and no improvement.

Im not happy.

I am on a multi-year (but not lifetime) contract, locked in before XM started its downward spiral of ever decreasing sound quality and content quality. I have given up on listening to the satellite radios since the SQ is so poor but did listen to XMRO quite a bit, as the 64kbps was good enough for work.

Since 3/11/09, I have been stuck at 31kbps and customer service has been AWFUL. I've just been emailing as I don't have time to sit on hold, but they absolutely don't get the question I am asking. I've had my password resent to me, I've been told I'm not eligible for ANY XMRO, I've been told I AM eligible until my subscription runs out, I've been given every excuse in the book, but not a single response about the actual 128kbps issue!

This is absolutely unacceptable. The fact there has been an issue for a week with absolutely NO clarification by anyone official at XM is ridiculous.

I will say this, if I don't get the 128kbps stream and am stuck at 31kbps, my subscription is gone. XM did not EVER communicate before 3/11 that any "continuing" contracts wouldn't get the higher bitrate (if anything, they made it sound like the ONLY option would be the 128kbps stream, no more lower bitrate option).

I can get everything I personally want from XM from Slacker for a lot cheaper (plus my Slacker portable sounds infinitely better than my XM radio does!) and going to 31kbps on my online stream will be the straw that breaks this camel's back. This company went from being a fantastic service in 2003 when I first signed up to an absolute shell of its former self and a joke.

Technical glitches happen, but being kept in the dark for over a week about what is going on, and being given conflicting answers is ridiculous and unacceptable.

I'm a lifetime subscriber to both XM and Sirius. In both cases, I was assured that I would be entitled to lifetime "Premium" (i.e. 128kbps) internet audio streaming, because I had the lifetime subscription to the March 11 "cutover" date.

I checked my Sirius account, and could get only 32kbps. When I called Sirius, I was told there was a backlog of people who could not get through on the phone to sign up, prior to the cutover date; therefore, Sirius had extended the deadling until March 31, and the new 128kbps streaming would begin then.

I called XM numerous times, spending over 3 hours altogether on the phone. I was given numerous excuses, twice I was cut off and got a dial tone. I have EMailed XM's customer service three times now. One reply sent me only a link to the "new" channel list. One reply said my password was reset and the problem fixed (password *was* reset, problem *not* fixed). One reply said there *had* been some problems but they were fixed, and invited me to reply if I had further questions.

Well, it's been a week now, and it's still not fixed. In no case did anyone assign a trouble ticket number, or even indicate that they understood what problem I was reporting.

I certainly believe in the potential of satellite radio, but this company's execution is absolutely incompetent... it's no wonder the stock has plunged as low as 5 cents.

Management could issue an apology, but continues to ignore the situation, so management is even worse than incompetent, they are arrogant lying fatherless wankers.

I'm finally working (happened last Saturday). I haven't checked the speeds though but it's working. I use a Yahoo!Widget to listen so I don't really use the website interface. The widget doesn't time-out.

Just "fixed" this AM so I can get 32kbps, no estimate as to when I will get 128kbps. Round and round with customer service and technical support. No official notification, everyone I speak w/ at the company has a different idea of what is going on. Total chaos, from what I can tell.

What I really LOVE is having all these problems following the threatening tone they used in the email about this upcoming $2.99/month charge. And following the botched handling of the changes to the channel line-up after the Sirius merge. With customer service like this, it's pretty easy to see why they're struggling. I'll bet that net-net this will take months for them to recover the lost subscribers.

Tonight everything seems ok, but sometimes I can only play the stations I have in memory, and not the ones that aren't in memory.

I sent an email about this problem to:


It did not bounce back...

Hey guess what...........

Still doesn't work.

For shits and giggles I just signed up for a free trial of XMRO Premium, and low and behold ... it works. Sounds Great Too. Now only if they'd fix my actual account, that'd be nice.

Still doesn't work.

Still not working. As others have mentioned, if you sign up for a free trial, you get a nice 128K stream. If you locked in and/or have a lifetime subscription, you can only get an awful sounding 32K stream. I've seen reports that some people who paid the extra fee cannot get 128K; I've also seen reports that some of these folks can now access 128K after complaints and repairs.

One xmFan poster who called the corporate offices was told that lock-ins and lifetimers will get 128K but it may take several weeks to accomplish this due to technology problems. There also was a report that SiriusXM is preparing an official statement about the problem, which has persisted since March 11.

I am accumulating a hilarious, frightening string of email from customer support, each reply in the chain answered by a different person who mostly misunderstands the problem and supplies different information.

I think it might make a nice science fiction horror film screenplay.

I can't get 128kbps even through

I did get it when I first signed up for the oprah free sample using her code. But now when I go to the oprah site and I just select "Listen online now" - it works but only at 32kbps.

If XmRadio cancels my online altogether I may switch to launchcast at:

I've had XM for several years now. First they get rid of The Move, and then they tweak BPM to be more bubble gum than it already was. THEN my office listening get's messed up with XMRO.

Talk about misleading! Renew now or you will have to pay for XMRO is what I read. So I renewed early. Now I'm listening to crap 32kbps.

I called "customer care" and got so frustrated. I asked to speak with someone else, maybe a supervisor or someone who would listen to me. I actually was polite, but insistent. Didn't help. Back in the day, you called XM, you got someone who knew what they were talking about.

Instead, I got someone that insisted I was wrong that I had to pay the $2.99/mo for XMRO. So I gave up and emailed. They reset my password. Like that was going to do anything. So I email again. Here's what I finally received:

"Please accept our sincere apologies for you not being able to receive the correct bandwidth streaming. We have investigated your account and it shows that you have updated your XM Radio Online account. Unfortunately, there is an issue with the streaming bandwidth. Our Technicians are currently aware of the situation and are working to have this issue resolved. Your patience in this matter is appreciated and you will be contacted as soon as possible."

Still 32kbps.

"net-net this will take months for them to recover the lost subscribers."

Or never. This has backfired on them, I won't be giving them more money ever. Unless the original XM is recreated.

Still not working. Free trial still works. Good work XM!

No 128K yet!

I could have written the comments from Ed Baxter as my experience and thoughts are identical.

I finally figured out I could keep my blood pressure lower by just sighning up for free trials on both XM and Sirius with every email account I have. This will keep me going for weeks.

No question these guys aren't up to the task.

i still have no 128k here eiether. signed up for lifetime membership the night before the deadline on march 10. also they've never charged my creditcard for the payments for lifetime on all 3 of my radios.

Whoo - Hooo

Still doesn't work!!

I'm on the 3 year subscription plan that I started last summer. My XMRO is working but has been downgraded to the 32KB from the 64KB I had before. I called customer service because my account subscription showed I didn't have premium that should have been grandfathered until the end of my 3 years. They added it and at the same time the rep gave me an e-mail in case it didn't work smoothly, which should have been my sign. She said there was widespread issues with the conversions they were working thorough. After a week it's still not working... Been on the phone with support a couple times with promise it would work after 4-6 hours, yesterday spoke with a supervisor that wouldn't even give me a window of when it would be fixed but said they are "working on it". I hate this for the company because I love their product, they just need to get their crap together on the service side...

Still not working and I'm getting to the point where I'm going to can my sub (which is 3 radios).

Yep, still 32 kbps here. And today I was given the same email I received yesterday "Log out, log back in, try again in 4-6 hours." As many have posted, I locked into a lifetime partially for the benefit of XMRO at high quality. Although one rep has told me I should not be getting 128 as a lifetimer, all the other reps treat it like a tech issue that will be resolved at some point. So I think we will still get it, eventually. I agree with the posts here though, it is ridiculous that they have not sent out a message to all subscribers clarifying this - they will lose a ton of business over this, no doubt.

Hey guys - WAKE UP !!!!! - If you bought into satelite radio to avoid the annoying DJ's talking over & between every song intro with meaningless BS - THEN EMAIL EVERY ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE STATIONS AND TELL THEM TO S H U T - U P !!!! If you dont stand up now, commercials are next - I promise!!!!!

still at 32 k no 128 here either.

Internet streaming hasn't worked with a damn for me since mid-last week. I either can't login (never gets to the screen and times out) or I get a "Gateway timeout" error message after logging in. It does this until sometime between 10 am and 12 pm and then works fine for the rest of the day.

It seems like they're trying to do everything can to lose me as a customer after five years. It's just one thing after another with this company. Every couple of months it's another F-U.

"Upgrade your account before march 11th an receive premium online for the duration for free"

This was a carrot on a stick - we are all bending over now - they got their money and they want us to still pay for it. Can you say bankruptcy!!!!

Upgraded to a lifetime sub on March 1st assuming I would be locking in the 'high' quality stream for life - and was dropped to 32kbps where I have sat ever since. Calls to XM report 'technical' issues - however it seems from reading elsewhere SiriusXm doesn't seem to want to give the lifetime people the 'high' quality feeds.

Unfair Trade Practice: I've been an XM radio customer for the last 4 years, and enjoying the online service for the last 3. I am taking issue with the fact that they DOWNGRADED my online bandwidth in the middle of my contract period. I had been receiving 64kbps for the last three years and was DOWNGRADED to 32kbps a couple of weeks ago. 'F' them. Would anyone find it acceptable if your ISP suddenly DOWNGRADED your bandwidth in the middle of your contract? 32kbps sounds like the radio is playing over my phone. This is good economic climate to start charging people for something that used to be free with the radio subscription. I'll miss Little Steven's Underground garage, but screw XM, Siriusly.

It seems everybody's been duped. When I received the email stating:
"If you extend your service now, you can continue to listen online FREE for the length of term you choose"
XM's lexical slight of hand cleverly omitted "premium" online listening in that statement although the premium stream was plastered in the same webpage for the subscription extensions and 11MAR deadline.

My most recent response from XM:
"Please note that you were promised the free online listening throughout the end of your subscription which you are currently receiving. The CD quality that was mentioned would have been at the cost of $2.99 per month."

The offer stated that if you extend your contract you will receive on line listening for free and avoid the 2.99 charge per month.

2.99 a month IS the charge for PREMIUM SERVICE.
This is not the time to screw over the customer.
When people are having hard times this is the LAST thing you should do - this could be the nail in the coffin for XM!!

I sent this to some local newspapers, CNET, the CA Attorney General and the FCC:

Consumers Beginning to Pay for Satellite Radio Monopoly

U.S. Justice Department and Federal Communications Commission decisions allowing the XM / Sirius merger, thereby eliminating competition in the satellite radio market, are starting to impact consumers. As a long-time XM subscriber, I was dismayed to learn that Sirius XM would start charging $2.99/month for their radio internet-streaming service, a service formerly bundled with a paid subscription. The good news, so I thought, was that the service was being upgraded "to near CD quality" and that I could continue to receive it for free if I agreed to a longer commitment.

The Sirius XM offer came to me in the form of an email that stated "On March 11, 2009, the XM Radio Online listening platform will be upgraded to a higher quality digital audio and no longer included as a part of a base subscription at no charge. If you renew now at, you can continue to listen online for FREE for the length of term you choose -- but only if you act quickly."

Since I went ahead and "locked-in" for a year, you might think I would receive the "higher quality digital audio" - but you would be wrong! I actually received a DOWNGRADED signal, of poorer quality than I had prior to the lock-in. This fact was not in the original offer email, or in any of the public Sirius XM information. Repeated calls and emails to customer service have revealed that this is no mistake, it affects thousands of customers (just search online for this issue), and I have no recourse but to pay the additional $2.99 if I want as-good-or-better service as I once had for free.

Sirius XM actually performed a classic "bait-and-switch," duping their customers into a long term commitment promising one thing and then delivering another. I wish I could say anti-trust proceedings would consider incidents like this in the future, but I have my doubts.

I have called 3 times and emailed 4 times to Sirius XM with all our concerns of their "bait-and-switch" and lowering our bit rate to 32bit, and this is the standard response I get...

"Dear Mr. Allen,

Thank you for contacting XM.

We have read your emails and we certainly understand your concerns.

Thank you for being an XM Satellite Radio listener and we look forward to many years of providing you with exceptional radio listening.

What great customer service???????

I signed up on Mar 10 for a 1 year contract extension because I thought it included the new premium online service as stated, I can't get the 128kbps connection, CS told me I have to pay $2.99/mo for it, I said I would consider cancelling my service because of this rouse, she didn't seem to care. I can only get the 32k, the 64k that I used to use is now gone for everyone. This is totaly horsesh-t. I really wish I saved something in writing that said I'd get the premium online service with this contract extension. Damn. But if you sign up for a trail service on the Oprah website you can get the 128k for a month, maybe they'll fix it by then...

It's clear what they're trying to do is add as many charges as possible so you're actually paying as if you had both XM and Sirius before the merger. Since the merger I went with XM with the Sirius bonus and now the added charges for online use I'm only $2.00 away from what I was paying for both services. The added charges will continue and the commercial breaks on the talk stations will get longer even after they're out of debt, if that ever happens. Besides, someone has to pay for those years of free subscriptions they give away to new car owners.

It's been completely down for me today, and 'xm radio online' is #15 on Google Trends right now so I must not be the only one. I don't even care about the premium quality, I just use the 32K connection since I listen primarily to talk radio at work. This kind of thing used to happen periodically, but now that my monthly bill is going to be nearly 50% higher I'm paying closer attention. If I hadn't gotten so addicted to O&A after joining XM years ago I would have long since cancelled after the Sirius XM merger has brought nothing but negative changes.

SIRIUS online... No problem what so ever.... I have an SL2 and have been getting the 128kb/s since it came out.

I am on with "tech support" right now. What a joke. He keeps putting me on hold and then coming back and telling me to logout/login. Of course, nothing changes each time I do this. 32kbs everytime.
I fell for the renewal ploy also. I renewed as soon as I got the email. I think it was late January. I, like so many others, thought this would lock me in with premium online listening. As we now know, it did not.
Yesterday, I broke down and agreed to pay the lousy $2.99 per month. Of course, I thought that would instantly upgrade my online account to 128 kbps. And . . . IT DID NOT! Still stuck at 32 kbps after four phone calls and one email to tech support.
Here is the text of the email reply:

We are more than happy to assist you. However, our records indicate that you have accessed your online account after sending this email as of 03/26/2009. If you are still unable to access the online account, please contact us for further assistance.

UNBELIEVABLE! I didn't say that I couldn't access my online account. In fact, I very specifically described the bandwith problem that I was experiencing.
This experience has been incredibly aggravating.
p.s. I'm still on hold with tech support.

IT'S FIXED! I think the tech support guy basically re-entered/reset my entire account. I was on hold forever.
I do, however, have to pay the $2.99/month. This despite the fact that I, like so many others, thought I would be grandfathered in with the early renewal. It was definitely a scam, but I am happy to finally be listening to 128 kbps.
Worst tech/customer support ever!

Here is my XM tech support case number: 1-45Q949Q
Just tell whichever idiot that happens to answer your call to do the same thing to your account.

I logged into XM online for the first time today following a 2-year renewal that I did about 6 weeks ago. When I renewed, I was told I would get Premium XM online (as an upgrade to the on-line service I always had in the past) with the XM- everything renewal. I called XM this AM and they ensured that I had Premium online on my account (which i can see in the 'Account Info' box online). Unfortunately, I still cannot get into the 128kbs feed - only the low-grade on-line feed. I called back and was told that the premium feed is 'still being worked on' system-wide, so I'll have to wait an indeterminate period for it to pop up on its own. Reading some of the prior entries of people who paid for - and are getting premium XM, I don't believe what I'm being told by XM.

Has anyone been able to successfully deploy the premium service without having to pay the $2.99/mo fee thay keep asking for on the log in screen? Thanks.

I purchased TWO lifetime subscriptions, in order to lock in our premium online listening. Now an email from XM:

Thank you for contacting XM.

We do apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced regarding the bandwidth issue.

We have investigated your request and our records indicate that you are only able to receive the streaming service at 32kbit/s or 64kbit/s. The 128kbit/s is only available to subscribers who are being charge for the streaming service. We understand your concern in this matter and have forward your issue onto the relevant department for review.

We've been told numerous times over about four phone calls that this was some technical problem and various XM representatives have tried to help us access the 128K stream. This is the first we've heard of XM trying to weasel out of providing 128K to lifetime subscribers!

OMG, this is the exact same story that I have been going through. WTF XM!! This is a ongoing issue with me since they "upgraded" my account... more like a downgrade. I have nothing to hold over them as I'm a "lifetime" member.... I suggest calling the main office in DC. Here is the toll free number: 1-877-967-4672, then, wait for a operator and tell them that you would like to talk to someone in the U.S. (If you don't do this, you get the extra crappy help desk.)

Good luck to all, I have vowed to contact the same person in D.C. everyday until I get 128kbps stream!

So, a follow up. I contacted my "person" at the head quarts in D.C. He told me that there was a "mis-wording" and that they intend to make good on their mistake to those of us that "locked in" to the service. He promised me that I would see the change to the 128Kbps stream in 7-10 days. I told him that if I didn't see the change, I was going to start calling 2 times a day, every day to bug him and his managers.

I'll so him one better. If it isn't fixed in 7-10 days, I'll return here and in addition to the 877-967-4672 number that I posted last time, I'll post his extension. Are you all with me to flood their helpless desk?

Here is my latest response...should i believe???

Dear Mr. Allen,

I am pleased to let you know that we will be able to give you streaming at the rate of 128K for the entire length of your existing subscription. Please be aware that when your current subscription expires, the standard rate will apply. This service will be available within 7-10 days.

If you have any further questions please feel free to contact me.

Best Regards,

Debra Alltop

Corporate Customer Relations

XM Radio Inc.

M-F: 8am -10pm EST

Sat: 10am -10pm

Phone: 1-877-967-4672 ext36828


Check out what XM told me about the 32kpbs I've been 'upgraded' to by renewing my membership.....

Thank you for contacting SIRIUS XM.

We sincerely apologize for any misunderstanding as it relates to your XM Radio Online service and we are happy to assist you.

There is a difference between the terms premium XM Radio Online service and premium XM Radio Online listening. The premium XM Radio Online service is attached to a customer’s account to ensure that they continue to receive online listening privileges for the duration of their service plan. With this service, you will only be able to receive the 32 kilobytes per second rate.

However, our premium XM Radio Online listening allows you to listen at our new 128-kilobytes per second rate (close to CD quality sound) and it is available to any XM Satellite Radio subscriber for the rate of $2.99 + taxes per month.

Based on your account information, you are able to listen online but you are not able to access our premium listening service. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused.

5 emails and 5 or 6 phone calls in an ongoing saga.... bought a GMC truck that had xm. i ran w/sirrus. i cancell sirrus to get xm... i made the girls promise me that when i paid a year subscription i would not have to pay extra for high quality internet radio.... i had to pay 7.99 month w/sirrus for high quality internet... they assured me xm doesnt charge for internet radio and it was high quality.... radio worked fine for 2 weeks. it had a high/low bandwidth selector in the settings tab... two weeks in and all hell breaks out.... i really thought i just got screwed.... all these calls i make, they assure me im supposed to get high quality.... i know i didnt pay extra for it... so im not sure what im supposed to have.... my last call was today...... they told me all my calls up to this point were useless... no one ever made a service ticket for me.... she finally made one and says someone will contact me within 3 days... she did say system will be up and running in 7-10 days.... glad i found this site... i thought i was the only one... it is really pissing me off..... 9 hours of my day at work is online radio....

can someone please confirm this???

my online account says i have:

Audio 1 year of XM Everything for $77 1 Year
XMRO XMRO BASIC XM Everything 1 Year

does this mean one day i will be getting 128k back? the XMRO is the 128k feed?

Below please read my latest interaction with XM. I sent an email to Joe Zarella (, and the response was almost immediate. Looks like they may have a plan if you ask forcefully enough. We'll see in a 7-10 business days......

I am pleased to let you know that we will be able to give you streaming at the rate of 128kbs for the entire length of your existing subscription. Please be aware that when your current subscription expires, the standard rate will apply. In order to do this , I will need to open a ticket and this service will be available within 7-10 business days.

Best regards

Doloris Chinn

Executive Escalations Relations


Mr. Zarella,

I am writing to express my serious displeasure at that way that XM radio has handled the renewal of my subcription and online radio account. I was led to believe by your advertising that I would recieve premium online listening by renewing my contract. I renewed my contract, and was downgraded to a horrible sounding 32kbps. I have seen many emails and complaints about this matter, as well as responses from you about assumptions of old subscribers sound rate. Before I upgraded I had at least 64kbps, now I have renewed for 3 years, and only have 32kbps. Please do something to fix this problem and ensure that I get at least 64kbps, or I will be forced to file a complaint with my Attorney General's office.

I wouldn't believe that. I've been told that at least once a week since March 11th. Here it the latest response I received. This should really make everyone happy.

Dear Mr. Baxter,

Thank you for contacting XM.

We have received your email and we are sorry to hear that you are still unable to get XM Radio Online at 128kbps. Our records indicate your radio KERJ020Z is on a 1 year subscription with free online listening because you locked in before 3/11/09. Free online listening is streamed at 32kbps. The Premium stream of 128kbps is for subscribers that are paying the additional fee of $2.99 per month. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause.

If we can be of further assistance, please feel free to send an additional email or you may contact a Listener Care Representative directly at 1-800-XM RADIO (800-967-2346). Our Listener Care Center's hours of operation are as follows:

Monday - Saturday 8AM - 11PM ET

Sunday 8AM - 8PM ET

Thank you,


XM Radio Inc.
1500 Eckington Place NE
Washington, D.C. 20002
XM Listener Care: 1-800-967-2346

Here's the latest from XM. Now they are sticking with the story that if you locked in prior to March 10th, you will have 32k not 128k. You'd still have to pay for the upgrade. I can only guess that they really just don't care. Has anyone that was an existing subscriber and extended thier contract prior to 3/11 getting the 128k as no charge?

Dear Mr. Baxter,

Thank you for contacting XM.

We understand your concerns as it relates to the implementation of an XM Radio Online service fee.

In response to your email, the XM Radio Online service fee was explained in the offer which is paraphrased below:

"On March 11, 2009, we will upgrade the online listening experience to near CD-quality digital audio. Satellite radio subscriptions will no longer include internet radio at no charge. If you upgrade your monthly, quarterly or semi-annually subscription to a 1 ? 3 years annual savings plan, prior to this date, you will continue to get online listening for FREE for the length of your subscription.

This is your chance to keep listening online at no charge. After March 11th premium online listening will cost $2.99 per month".

If we can be of further assistance, please feel free to send an additional email or you may contact a Listener Care Representative directly at 1-800-XM RADIO (800-967-2346). Our Listener Care Centers hours of operation are as follows:

Monday - Saturday: 8AM ? 11PM EST
Sunday: 8AM - 8PM EST

Thank you,

XM Radio Inc.
1500 Eckington Place NE
Washington, D.C. 20002
XM Listener Care: 1-800-967-2346

I would not be so frustrated by this if XM had not basically SAID - you lock in, you get premium radio. Granted, I'm not jazzed about the price increase, and I would not pay it for XM Radio on line... the content of XM has gone down since the merger. (hello Slacker Radio? much better, even free)

I have emails from XM saying there was a "glich" and it will be fixed soon - they promise to tell me when - it's been a MONTH. Still no premium. So email off to Mr. Zarella.

These guys are crooks. Total bait and switch. It's time they get a big slap from the feds.

Update! I sent my email, and received this reply. and I have Premium on line radio now. hmm Granted, I thought I was getting TWELVE months (the amount of time I extended my subscription) instead of ELEVEN months. They are still crooks in my book.

Dear Mr. John Chasse,
Thank you for contacting Joe Zarella on your issues that you are having with the lock in for online listening. I am glad to let you know that I have set up today for you to be locked in to the Premium 128 KB Streaming Speed for the duration that you locked in for the free online listening. The Period you are locked in for was till 3/10/2010. You will have the 128 KB streaming speed free up until then. If you wish to continue with the online listening from that point on it will be at the $2.99 a month. That is almost a year away, so enjoy the service right now for free.
Best Regards,
XM Corporate Customer Relations

Ever since the day I upgraded to Premium Service the reception has been unbearable. The stream buffers every few seconds and will completely stop at least once every few minutes. I have contacted Customer Service three times and get a completely different answer each time -- none of which is useful. I am at a loss of what to do at this point. I have been a faithful 202 listener for years and will be crushed if I have to cancel the service. But this issue is a daily source of anger and frustration! Which is worse?

Here is my latest promise. This time its coming from the customer support email address, so information is starting to get consistent. We'll see if it really happens.......

Dear Mr.

Thank you for contacting XM.

We understand your frustration and we will be more than happy to address this issue.

A ticket has already been open so that your online service can be updated to the 128K streaming quality. It will take up to 7 days to be upgraded.

I extended my contract for 3 additional years back on 3/20/09. There is even a line item on the invoice for "XMRO 3yr XM Everything Premium" for $0.00, but I was still only getting the 32k service. I called customer service 2 weeks ago and never got a response. So today, I sent an email to and also called customer service. Within 1 hour I was upgraded to the premium 128k service for the remainder of my contract and someone from XM called and left a message at home saying that everything was taken care of. It's about time...

Just checked this morning, and I now have the premium online service. When I go to the settings page I now see Premium Online Listening as an option. It sounds great. Finally!! I also called customer service and complained about the lack of good service I had paid for. I demanded a 1 month refund, asked to speak to a manager when they said no, and got the refund.

I sent an email to the J. Zarella guy. I got a nice response saying how sorry they were and that I was going to get 128k free for the duration of my subscription. He would have to open a ticket and the service would be available in 24 hours. Now for the good/bad news. It did not take 24 hours for the service to be turned on, but just over 6 hours. I have two radios on my account; one expiring/renewing in just under a week and one I extended for three years back when the hype started. That afternoon after getting the response email, I checked my online account and guess what? they put the XMRO premium on the radio that was expiring in just under a week and not the one that I renewed before the upgrade cut-off date. Also it's got reoccurring out beside it which I hope is just a system thing and there are credits for the service somewhere. I have sent back a reply email telling him about the issue now at hand, but have not got a reply nor action yet. If it isn't one thing it is another with XM. On the brighter side, I can change the radio ID in the XMRO system and it does play at 128k.

Stop complaining, if you syriusly don't like XM, then quit. That's what I did. I quit. And now I listen to various AM/FM radio stations and lots of CD music. At least I don't have to deal with XM's unkept promises and lies anymore.

I paid the money to listen to XM on line but for some reason my home computer has no sound when I sign on to XM. I can sign on to XM with any other computer and XM works fine. Does anyone have a solution or had the same issue

A rather quick call to corporate customer care at the number provided in the email and the whole issue was resolved with a few "We're Sorry's" along the path. The squeaky wheels are seeming to get the grease on this issue. XMRO Premium free for three years then standard rate afterward.

I can download a 1GB movie in 12 minutes, but cannot keep a steady 128k stream on XM online. Weak!

Ok, here is an update on this. I, like many others, have talked to customer support over and over about this issue, had tickets opened, etc. I signed up for a lifetime membership, partly because they offered me Lifetime XMRO Premium as part of the deal. I have been told everything under the sun, lots of it conflicting. Here is what I think happened. Originally, they truly were going to offer this. I believe this because my account subscription used to say "Lifetime XMRO Premium" or something to that effect. Well sometime in April, it disappeared! I can still see it in my history though. So that tells me at some point they decided they could get more money by not offering that with the lifetime bundle. You can still get XMRO for free, but it's not premium, it's 32 kbps (which is worse than the 64kbps that was in place previously). Furthermore, I have been told they do not yet have a lifetime XMRO plan anyways, so there is no way to add it to your plan except as a "recurring" charge. So that makes sense, because it means TECHNICALLY they can't give it to you anyways. But I had them add the "recurring" premium plan to my account, and sure enough it works. I explained I wasn't paying for it, because I was promised I would get it for free. So they credited me for three months in advance. If they get a lifetime plan at some point, I will make sure they give it to me for free. Until then, I will probably have to call in every three months and make them credit my account. Disgusting, I know.

I use to think satellite radio was the future. Used it for awhile and enjoyed some of the programming. Then my receiver went out and that's when the trouble began. I called customer service and asked the representative to send me a new receiver. I could hardly understand her, but I figured as long as she heard "new receiver" and had my address, no problem. A few days later I received an entire XM radio car kit; a receiver (which did not fit the home base or the one in the car) a base, an antenna, remote, etc. The car system was fine and I didn't need all this stuff for the car. I called XM customer "service" and tried to explain the situation to the man I was speaking with. It seems all their representatives have heavy accents of some kind and are very hard to hear and understand. This man had a heavy southern drawl, and instead of apologizing and saying they would send the right receiver, he begins talking to me like I am six, and telling me how it's really not that difficult to install the components for the car. I just want to listen to the damn radio, not become a technician. Besides, the car unit is fine. It's just the little receiver I need. Somehow I ended up getting XM service half-price for a year, thinking at some point I'd get to an XM dealer and get things straightened out. However, I'm quite some distance from an XM dealer and haven't gone in. Also, I need simplicity with things like this and if it's a headache it's not worth my time. So, I figure I've given it several months, I'm a long way from a dealer, the telephone "representatives" are hard to deal with, etc., it's time to go ahead and cancel. Should be simple. Well (surprise!) it's not. I went through all this baloney and I'm still not sure if my account has been canceled. I'll call my bank tomorrow and see what they can do to make sure these crooks don't try any more funny stuff.

The bottom line is that I am encouraging every one to either not start a satellite radio subscription, or get out of any current situation with one, because there will be trouble at some point if you have equipment problems, technical questions, or other things unforeseen.

It was working fine last week now for some reason after I log in nothing happens I don't hear any music no matter what I click on and it keeps asking me if I want to install software. Very frustrated and ready to cancel all of my XM Services which at least three.

I added on line listening 5 days ago and still nothing !
The only reason I do not cancel is that there is no other service yet! I tell you though, it is getting old "as always" It is not worth the hassel :-(

A month ago, I renewed and found out I no longer had the free listen online feature. I threatened to cancel and they added it for free and said it would take 15 to 20 minutes for the system to refresh. This was on top of the $77/yr deal I had.
Still not working today - says my online radio was deactivated. I called to inquire, waited 25 mins on hold. I hung up, called back, and selected the "cancel subscription" option. I got someone in 90 seconds but told them to cancel my service. Amazingly, she was able to get it working immediately and told me she'd extend my service for 3 months free of charge for the inconvenience but at that point, I was done.
I'll miss Opie & Anthony but otherwise, I'm completely done with XM and their crappy customer service.
For those of you that want the online, threaten to cancel and they'll give it to you free.
If you're paying more than $77/year for both XM and the online listening, you can probably get a better deal. That $77 goes down another ~$10 if you're willing to give them a credit card to put on file to autorenew. They do send a reminder email and notice via snail mail as a reminder that your subscription will auto-renew so this is not a bad option either but can only be used once.

Today I called XM, because I wanted to change my ONLINE ACCOUNT username. The Tech representative, not the agent, told me that this was not possible. The system will not allow XM or Me to update this info, even though it is out of date by 2 years. Is this customer service? I was told that XM would note the complaint, but many customers are calling about the same problem and that they would just add mine to the list. (Which really means it is not going to be addressed) What a company!

I'm on hold with XM's cancellation department right now. I'm quite pissed. I just talked to some girl named "Miles" who spent 10 minutes with me "negotiating" a deal that was $32.52 higher than last year's fee for the same service. I paid $77 last year for "XM Everything" and the 32kb online service. After whining about the new rates she seemed to be offering me a deal at $109.52 for the year, which would be the same exact service as I had. So that's where I get the increase of $32.52.

But then she hit me with "But this deal requires you to buy a new radio." WTF!!? I told her I don't need a new radio. My XM Roadie works fine. She said then the deal is not available. OMG WTF LOL Is this some sort of joke?

So if I don't buy a newer radio I have to pay what amounts to about $180 for the year. How the hell did I go from $77 to $180 for the year?

So I'm on hold with XM's cancellation department STILL. Look how long my email is. They purposely take their time and don't answer the phone in the cancellation department.

This is BAD service. I think I'm going to get an iPhone and connect it to my car stereo and listen to music with Pandora. I'm not going to continue giving money to XM.

Wow Chris, at least you're getting a better deal than I am. I signed up for a 2 year XM Everything Package in March of 2009. When I first signed up, I had online radio access. Within three months of my contract, they cancelled my radio access saying that I had called in and changed my package to a one year package starting in June of 2009. When I pointed out how ridiculous that was, customer care refused to listen to me. I went to the Better Business Bureau of NY and my online service was back on.

Last month I get a bill for $82.66 for June 2010 through June 2011. Now mind you, I have already paid a 2 year package that's good through March of 2011. When I called to talk with customer service, they again said that I had signed up for a one year package. When I pointed out that I had paid through March of 2011 and that they were charging me more than the stated online rates of service and I asked to speak to a supervisor, they hung up on me.

I then received an email from Sirius XM stating that they were going to cancel my service.

So I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau of New York again. Seriously this is getting old. I am such a sucker...I should have never ever signed up for Sirius XM. Call me stupid. I just want a refund for what they owe me and for them to stop sending me harrasing emails explaining why they're justified in charging me $82.66 for only three months of service. Its highway robbery.