XM Radio kindly asks that you put them out of business…

If you’re an XM Radio subscriber, you’ve undoubtedly already received word of the rate hike coming your way on March 11th.


So, in addition to a rate hike, we’re losing XM Radio Online access, too.  As you can read, they know they’re getting ready to screw you, so they’re going to do you a big favor by letting you “Lock In” your current rate by renewing before March 10.  What champs.

Do you like how they capitalize the word “FREE” in reference to the online service?  Last time I checked, I paid for that access as part of my base subscription.  And as of March 11th, not only is my monthly fee going up $2, but I’m losing access to the online service which XM Radio normally charges $7.99 per month for.  Since we’re losing access to XMRO ($7.99 value) AND getting our monthly rate raised $2, they’re actually cutting back your service and charging you $10 more per month for LESS service.  Sounds like a hell of a deal, doesn’t it?  Seems like XM Radio’s found a terrific way to exercise their monopolistic power over consumers.

What’s happening is that XM Radio and Sirius are merging operations, including Online Radio services.  Sirius normally charges $12.95 per month for online access, unlike XM’s $7.99, but their online audio service is streamed at 128kbps.  XM Radio has a “low” bandwidth option that delivers audio at 32kbps and an “high” bandwidth option that streams audio at 64kbps.

This so-called unspecified “Near CD-Audio” option XM Radio’s changing to will just alienate a large portion of existing XM customers who don’t currently have higher-bandwidth connections.  So, the net result is that some people who want and currently pay for the XM Radio Online service won’t be able to use it any longer since their connection speed won’t be suitable for anything beyond the current bandwidth settings as they exist today.  Mobile users will most certainly lose the ability to enjoy XM Radio Online service unless they using a 3G mobile connection.  So, this is actually a REDUCTION in service options, not a increase of value as XM Radio would have their customers believe.

I’ve been using the “high” bandwidth option on XMRO for more than two years now without complaint.  While there is significant audio quality difference between XMRO’s low and high bandwidth options, there’s not as much difference between XMRO’s 64kbps option and Sirius’ 128kbps option as you might think.  I certainly don’t think there’s $5/mo worth of difference, anyway.  You decide.  I’m pissed-off, however, because I actually use XMRO the vast majority of the time, and it’s one of the only ways I can justify paying for a yearly subscription to XM Radio in the first place.  After they carve it out of our plans and throw $2 worth of salt in the wound, I’ll have very little incentive to continue paying for a service that’s steadily gone down-hill since Sirius and XM Merged.

XM Radio users may recall when, prior to the merge, they were able to listen to XM Radio without all the jibber-jabber from former sucktacular MTV-VJ drop-outs like Alan Hunter and Nina Blackwood.  Alan’s insipid desire to praise truck drivers for driving trucks every day at 4:30pm is hugely annoying, as is Nina’s Blackwood raspy, non-stop lip-service.  We have Sirius to thank for these marked declinations in service quality which span throughout the XM Radio spectrum.  Service “upgrades” my ass.

Seems they think we should pay more for less.

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