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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Culture

XM gets new satellite, Sirius gets new partner

Rival satellite radio companies make headlines, get boosts to stock prices Tuesday. Images: New XM satellite fills the airwaves

Rival satellite radio companies XM and Sirius both made news Tuesday, with one launching a satellite and the other landing a new partner.

And both companies got a boost to their stock prices Tuesday morning, after UBS raised its investment ratings on the businesses.

XM Satellite Radio announced the successful launch of its third satellite, XM-3, which is capable of transmitting more than 150 channels of music, news, sports, talk, comedy and children's programming. The satellite was built by Boeing Satellite Systems and launched by Sea Launch's Odyssey platform from the Pacific Ocean off the equator. XM-3 joins sister spacecraft XM-1 and XM-2, and will eventually be parked at 85 degrees west longitude.

The launch comes a day after XM announced that it will raise subscription fees by about 30 percent.

In a separate announcement, Sirius Satellite Radio said Volvo vehicles manufactured in North America will have its service as an exclusive dealer-installed accessory from 2005.

Buyers of four Volvo models planned for 2005--S80, S60, V70 and XC70--can purchase the kit for $142.25, which is a prepayment of a monthly subscription for 11 months. But they will receive the service for 13 months, as the satellite radio firm is providing two additional months at no extra cost. Those who purchase a Volvo between March and May will get the full cost of the subscription reimbursed.

Several car makers, including Ford--which hopes to sign up 1 million users for Sirius over the next two years--have satellite radio as factory-installed options in their automobiles.