In the past, I have called the SiriusXM merger anti-competitive because it created a Satellite radio monopoly which could lead to higher prices and Al took me to task during our conversation.
Perspective from south of your border.
You can bet that price increases will happen!
I consider myself to be a "charter" subscriber to XM (US) as I subscribed the very first day the service was offered in the northern tier of the US way back in November of 2001. I doubt they have many subscribers who've been around longer than I.
Since the merger in '08 for the US side of the services, I've lost included online access (they want extra for it now) and my quarterly bill has gone from under $60/quarter for two receivers to almost $75/quarter thanks to a new "royalty fee". Additionally, they now levy a $15 fee for swapping a radio out, a service which used to be self-service and free.
Later this year, the three year moratorium against price increases that was a mandate for merger approval expires and I fully expect yet another price increase or service reduction to follow immediately.
Subscribers up north should be prepared for eventual sticker shock.
Sirius and XM don't use MP3. It's entirely possible that their 64 kbps is equivalent in quality to MP3 at 128 kbps, especially if they use AAC or AAC+.
To date there is no such thing as an audio codec that compares favorably to 128kbps MP3 when running at very low bitrates like 64kbps or less. So, unless SiriusXM came up with a world beating audio codec a decade ago and the rest of the world never learned about it, I'd say that hypothesis is on very shaky ground.
As it turns out, I work for a company (Mozilla, the makers of Firefox) who's helping make that next generation of codec (Opus, formerly known as CELT), and all the listening tests these days have been on ~64 kbps AAC and better (spoiler: Opus wins ).
While I agree that it seems unlikely that Sirius or XM came up with something better than 128 kbps MP3 10 years ago independently, if they're just using AAC, I'd say their job was done for them.