Primosphere: The next satellite radio service?
Tags: 2, XM
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.)
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.