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XM Raises Service Fee

Washington — XM Satellite Radio announced it will raise its monthly service fee to $12.95, up from $9.99, staring on April 2.

The new service fee would match Sirius’ current rate.

XM will offer existing customers the opportunity to lock in the current $9.99 monthly rate with a two-, three-, four- or five-year prepaid plan until April 2.

In conjunction with the pricing shift, XM will now offer two premium services as part of the basic service plan. These include XM Radio Online, previously at $3.99 a month, and the High Voltage channel, featuring the Opie & Anthony talk show, formerly $1.99 per month.

XM also noted that since its launch it has added 51 channels and converted its music stations to commercial-free status.

Hugh Panero, XM’s president/CEO, said, “This new pricing approach will help fund future technology development, enable us to offer more attractively-priced radios and maintain our programming excellence.”

One mobile electronics retailer said the price increase will not affect XM’s sales. Paul Gosswiller, purchasing manager for 120-store, Scottsdale, Ariz.- based Audio Express said XM’s lower service fee “was always a minor point between XM and Sirius. Quite frankly the $12.95 Sirius fee never slowed anybody down. I think XM tried to use [the lower price] as a big issue, but it isn’t that big of an issue for most people.”