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A Site Visitor Asks: Can I Receive My Satellite Radio Service Beyond the U.S.?

Officially: No. Unofficially: Yes


Updated February 28, 2009
I recently received this email from a site visitor:

"We plan to go south this winter camping in our truck camper for about 5 months and I would like to hear the Patriots football games and get some local news. I know that governmental rules cover air waves and certain things can't be advertised but would Sirius Satelite Radio be heard in Mexico and maybe even farther south into Central America? I'd like to hear N E Patriots games and some local news from New England. It would also be nice to have ENGLISH speaking stations available as they are far and few in southern Texas and below. Thanks for any help. - Wayne"

The U.S. based version of SIRIUS Satellite Radio and the XM Satellite Radio service are prohibited from promoting their respective services beyond the continental borders of the United States and Canada.

What The Services Say

The SIRIUS website says: "SIRIUS is currently licensed to offer service within the continental US. For more information on SIRIUS Canada, visit www.sirius-canada.ca. SIRIUS is not currently available in Mexico."

The XM Website says: "XM is available in the continental U.S., its territories and adjacent waters, as well as in Canada. In Canada, the XM service is made available through XM's exclusive licensee, Canadian Satellite Radio Inc..."

But, even though XM has separate U.S. and Canadian operations, actual satellite coverage of both XM and SIRIUS doesn't exactly respect borders.

Now For the Reality

Even though the services have an official stance, the reality is a bit different. There is anecdotal evidence to support reception for both services beyond the areas they are limited in promoting including Mexico, Canada, Cuba, Jamaica, The Dominican Republic, Central America, and even portions of South America - depending on the service.

An unofficial “coverage map” for SIRIUS can be seen at www.deadzones.com.com

By viewing this map, you can get an idea of how far reception has either been suggested by users or is possible under the right conditions.

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