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XM, Sirius head for the Great White North

Both satellite radio firms have been given permission by regulators to deliver commercial-free content in Canada.

XM and Sirius got a toehold in Canada when the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Thursday granted them permission to offer commercial-free channels of music, news, sports and entertainment in the North American country.

Neither company committed to a date to launch broadcasts, but said only that they were studying the conditions of the license.

While XM will operate through its partner, Canadian Satellite Radio, Sirius has launched Sirius Canada jointly with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Standard Radio.

XM and Sirius, with 4 million and 1.5 million subscribers respectively in the U.S., have been looking for ways to increase their subscriber base. To that end, they have been working closely with various automobile manufacturers to include satellite radios as a factory option in new vehicles.

Sirius satellite radio, which is lagging in subscriber figures, recently announced plans to add new services such as stock quotes, sports scores and cartoons from the second half of next year.