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XM Launches Free Tuner Promo

Washington — XM Satellite Radio is launching its first “free tuner” promotion on May 1 for the “Dads and Grads” season.

For a limited time, the company will give away a Roady 2 XM receiver when a customer purchases any XM radio (including the MyFi).

At an earnings conference today, ( see XM Revenue Soars) also said the transition to a higher monthly service fee April 2 has been well received by customers. The company said the 30 percent increase to $12.95 resulted in a minor churn increase of 0.2 percent to 1.4 percent. “I’ve been in the cable industry a long time. This is nothing like the high monthly churn that traditionally occurs in the cable industry with a rate change,” said president and CEO Hugh Panero.

XM said it’s partnership with Major League Baseball is also showing an early payoff in new subscribers. XM asked 800 new subscribers in April what specific programming most influenced their decision to buy XM. The company said 16 percent of respondents cited baseball.

Commenting on the possibility of the XM service combining with MP3 players, XM said that it is possible that is new Connect–And-Play antennas might eventually be reduced to a size where they might complement MP3 players. The Connect-And-Play antennae have a built-in XM tuner chip and are currently designed to work with any home-audio products with special connectors. In other portable (wearable) products, XM said that 450,000 MyFi receivers have shipped since November.