In a deal with EchoStar Communications that will enable users to hear its 64 commercial-free music channels on millions of TV sets, Sirius Satellite Radio last Thursday leapfrogged its lone competitor

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter)--In a deal with EchoStar Communications that will enable users to hear its 64 commercial-free music channels on millions of TV sets, Sirius Satellite Radio last Thursday leapfrogged its lone competitor to become the nation's most-listened-to satellite radio service.

The deal, however, gives about two-thirds of EchoStar's 9.7 million Dish Network subscribers the Sirius service free, meaning that XM Satellite Radio and its 1.7 million subs still beats Sirius' 400,000 in the battle to woo consumers willing to pay a monthly fee to hear innovative radio programming.

Under the arrangement, subscribers to several of Dish Network's premium packages will get the free Sirius service. Sirius hopes that a significant number of those satellite TV viewers will enjoy listening to satellite radio enough to purchase it for their cars, boats and RVs, while EchoStar's hope is that more of its subs will upgrade in order to get the free Sirius service on their TVs.

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