Primosphere: The next satellite radio service?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007 at 5:54 PM
Tags: 2, XM

A new Satellite Radio?Primosphere was one of the four companies who bid for the SDARS licenses back in the late-90s, and as you can tell, they lost.

Now, as a result of the pending Sirius-XM merger, they want back in.

In 1996, Primosphere Limited Partnership bid $68 million for a SDARS license, stating that they intended on restoring music genres no longer available in major radio markets. The service would have essentially been ad-supported satellite radio. But they lost, and in 1997 the FCC officially dismissed their application.

But Primosphere didn't give up. They filed a series of petitions between the time their application was dismissed, all the way into 2004 when Primosphere submitted a motion to withdraw the Application for Review.

But the FCC never acted on the motion to withdraw. And in February, right after the Sirius-XM merger was announced, Primosphere decided to withdraw its withdrawal. (Yes, you read that right.)

The reason?

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. And if Primosphere is still one of the existing applicants, then they are still in the running.

So Primosphere requested that if the Sirius-XM merger is approved, that the other half of the S-band spectrum available to be given to Primosphere.

Primosphere has said they will construct and launch their own satellites (they've in fact already paid the launch fees for the other two satellites they originally proposed), and expect they can be up and running with their own service within 5 years.

"A better way to avoid the anticompetitive effects of the proposed XM/Sirius merger would be to have a new competitor in the SDARS who could begin operating immediately," Primosphere wrote in a FCC filing (PDF).

Fast forward to July 3rd, and Primosphere is now asking the FCC (PDF) to consolidate the Sirius-XM merger application, with its application to launch and operate a satellite radio service.

This is getting really interesting.

[via Satellite Radio TechWorld



It looks like they can do it. Or at least like they're going to do it. But all of the legal shuffling makes my head spin.

In typical jim norton fashion, "That name Stinks"

Isnt primosphere actually looking to start immediately with approval from the commission to use the existing Siri/XM satellites? ( some old sat tv ruling)

Wouldn't that be amazing though!? I mean Primosphere, after 20 years finally gets a chance! I still say all those Motions for Acceptance of Late-filed Pleadings, Motion for Reconsideration, Motion after Motion for so long was just unbelievable. It was their own fault for losing the auction. You can even see the auction round data at the FCC site and look at exactly when they gave up bidding.

i wonder if they could use existing sats? isnt that what slacker is doing? i believe(could be wrong) the only difference would be the caching of the sat signal? also isnt that new european sat service using the K-U band? seems like there would be lots of possibilities here.

Anyone want to bet that the NAB is behind this?

Primosphere can beging operating immidiatly if given half the band width and the existing satellites too?


Yea.... and I can drive that Lamborgini at 180 MPH as long as you give the car too me.


XM/SIRIUS would have to freeze pricing and give up band width to a competitor. NO NO NO

StOP dreaming about getting MLB on your Sirius, Stop dreaming about Howie on your XM.

ITS Not worth it.

Yes the new European service is using KU band, Have you seen the size of the antenna? It is the size of a fish bowl.

Slacker will also use existing sat in I think the KU band. They say that their antenna is 4" square. And I thought that my XM and Sirius antennas were huge.

The white-haired shyster must love this. An ad-supported "competitor" who can't possibly compete with Xirius. The commercialized format of Primoshere's programming will also make it much easier for him to bring commercials to the music channels on Xirius.

He may be a shyster, but he's no dummy.

with both licenses in two separate looks like the SatRad market will be competitive once again.

SatRad - 1
NABastards - 0

This is great news for those in favor of the merger!

Primosphere's action just might kill the argument the merger results in a monopoly. This shows that there are other companies that think that Sat Rad is viable and can support additional firms.

Just my not so humble opinion.


I guess they aren't considered competition either?

This is great news for those in favor of the merger!

Uh, no it's not. As I read what Ryan is saying here they want half of the existing bandwidth being used by Sirius/XM.

It doesn't help to have BOTH Sirius and XM content being shoved down half of the bandwidth.

How can anyone possibly view this as a positive for the merger?

XM & SIRIUS won't "let" this happen. They absolutely will not relinquish their bandwidth upon merger, and if that is the "deal breaker" to the merger, they will let the merger fail. There is no benefit to them to be one company with only half the bandwidth. They'd be cutting channels left and right, and not able to offer the full services of both XM & SIRIUS. Unless Primosphere comes up with their own bandwidth or PURCHASES either XM or SIRIUS, they're not going up.

I never stated that anyone would be relinquinshing any bandwidth or that this would even happen. The fact that there are other companies willing to bet on Sat Rad shoots down that the idea that a merger of XM-Sirius results in such a monopoly that no other firm would possibly enter the market.

Good point dualsub2006. Mel will be glad to give up half of the S-band spectrum if it means he can pack the music channels with commercials. Getting "stuck" with half of the S-band spectrum wil also get him out of all the promises that he is making to the minority groups for more diverse programming. Sorry, minority groups, the FCC forced a new player down our throats and took away half of our band spectrum.

Mel would be happier than a pig-in-shit if all of this happened.

Wow, Not one person here thinks for a second that the NAB or clear channel or CBS might be the finantial backing behind Primsphere? This could be leverage by the NAB to get XM/Sirius to drop the merger Idea combined with the "if they go for it anyway" backup plan to buy 1/2 the bandwidth. Look at all the restrictions the RIAA wants, Look at what Slacker wants... WTF give up exclusive OEM's?

No Merger. NAB admitted XM/Sirius were winning the battle of the words... NAB is winning the battle of Lobbying. But thats fine.. Merger was a bad Idea anyway.

This is interesting to say the least. As far as I have heard, if XM/SIRI have to give up half the spectrum, then the deal is off.

And I have also heard that the remaining 2 portions of spectrum that were left (total of 4) were shifted to WiMax. This means that XM/SIRI would have to give up the bandwidth for Primosphere to take off.


>>>>"i wonder if they could use existing sats? isnt that what slacker is doing? i believe(could be wrong) the only difference would be the caching of the sat signal? also isnt that new european sat service using the K-U band? seems like there would be lots of possibilities here."

Not unless XM/SIRI don't give up the bandwidth. Primosphere has already paid for their satellite launches, so they either have the satellites in the ready, or they'll be produced as soon as they get the ok. You correct about Slacker using the KU band instead of satellites.

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