Sirius Satellite Radio ( SIRI) said it added 359,000 new net subscribers during the third quarter. The New York-based pay radio shop said once again that it remains on track to have 3 million subscribers by year-end. Sirius had 2.17 million users at the end of the quarter ended Friday. The news comes a day after Washington-based rival XM Satellite Radio ( XMSR) said it added 617,000 new net subscribers during the third quarter, for a total of 5.03 million users. XM last week raised its year-end forecast to 6 million users from 5.5 million. "With the traditionally heavy holiday selling period coming up, we fully expect demand for our service to accelerate significantly through the remainder of the year," said Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin. "With the recent introduction of our new programming line-up, which will include Martha Stewart Living Radio later this year and Howard Stern in January 2006, we are ushering-in an exciting new chapter in satellite radio." In August, Sirius boosted its 2005 subscriber target to 3 million, up from its prior forecast of 2.7 million. The company has now reiterated the 3 million-user target at least twice. Both companies charge $13 a month for the premium radio service, and despite rapid revenue growth each outfit has racked up massive losses. But investors have focused mostly on the sector's growth potential as satellite radio begins to reach the mass market. On Tuesday, Sirius shares rose a quarter to $6.78 and XM added 22 cents to $36.20.
Even though AT&T tried a last-minute bribe of promising 5,000 new U.S. jobs to help gain support for the deal, the Justice Department filed a complaint to fight the combination of the nation's No. 2 and No. 4 wireless carriers.