European Skies Fertile Ground for Satellite Radio

November 2, 2011

The arrival of satellite radio service in parts of Europe may not be far off, according to a recent report at Advanced that suggests at least two organizations are now quietly jockeying for the pole position.

One is Madrid-based Ondas Media SA, led by CEO David Krueger. Ondas has been promoting its vision for some time and most recently partnered with BMW to demo an in-car receiver at the Medientage show in Munich last October.

The company says it's currently working on deploying terrestrial repeaters in key urban markets and has been actively testing the technology in Italy. Potential transmission partners said to have secured European spectrum include Solaris Mobile and Inmarsat, though the latter has yet to establish its orbital platform.

Also in the running is Onde' Numerique, a French firm headed by former WorldSpace executive Franz Cantarano that purchased some of that firm's assets after it declared bankruptcy. Onde' Numerique's website says its service will offer 50 channels of unique programming designed to appeal to contemporary French consumers.

Contrary to hopes and fervent rumors circulated among shareholders in U.S.-based SiriusXM, there's no real evidence that either it or major corporate shareholder John Malone's Liberty Media remain serious contenders in European radio's race into space. Speculation about such a possibility came to a boil when Liberty seemed poised to acquire defunct satellite broadcaster WorldSpace, but that deal later fizzled due to debt complications and a sour business climate.

Both Ondas and Onde' Numerique are expected to have a strong presence and possible launch announcements at this week's Mobile World Congress in Barcelonia.

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