Last update: 18.09.2020 - older versions

Political parties urge Spanish government to take action on DAB+

In July 2020, Spain's Izquierda Confederal parliamentary group - made up of various political group from across Spain - presented before the Senate a proposal for the introduction of a law to urgently address the promotion and development of terrestrial digital radio broadcasting. The proposal was not objected by any parties,  and is expected to be debated at a Plenary sitting.

First signs of DAB+ in Spain

Spain first began broadcasting terrestrial digital radio in April 1998 covering Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia. From 2002 to June 2011, 23 transmitters covered the 52% of the Spanish population through three national multiplexes (1 SFN and 2 MFN). In addition, DAB services in Catalonia were launched on one additional regional multiplex, but they were then switched off.

The Council of Ministers reached an agreement on Digital Radio in June 2011 and approved a Digitization Plan for Terrestrial Broadcasting with the following measures:

  • Reduction of DAB coverage from 52% to 20%, in order to facilitate a migration to DAB+
  • Flexibility for the broadcasters, in order to allow for migration to DAB+ 
  • Study of a possible reassignment of the multiplexes 
  • Promotional activities through the Spanish DAB Forum 
  • DAB+ trials 
  • A study of the necessary conditions to determine the date of  a possible analogue switch off

Despite the measures approved, the only one carried out was the reduction of DAB coverage from 52% to 20%. There was no DAB+ migration and today, the original three national multiplexes are transmitting DAB services in the metropolitan areas of Madrid and Barcelona, covering a 20% of the Spanish population. The only standard allowed by law for regular broadcasts continues to be DAB, although there is a DAB+ program transmitted on trials.

Regional DAB+

In January 2020, the regional government in Navarra advertised capacity for six DAB services on a future ensemble for the region, designated FU-Nav. Simultaneously, the regional government advertised a total of 72 DAB licences across 12 ensembles, each of which will have local coverage.

Last update: 10.07.2015 - older versions

Due to the enforcement of the Digitalization Plan for Terrestrial Broadcasting, DAB services are on air only in Madrid and Barcelona including their metropolitan areas, covering 20% of the Spanish population.

The migration from DAB to DAB+ has not been carried out.

Last update: 03.03.2021 - older versions

In this country there are

on air.

Please note:

(a)    These web pages are updated regularly to reflect current services on air, however they may not be exactly up to date.

(b)    The logos shown on these pages are for illustrative purposes only – manufacturers and broadcasters are directed here for information on implementing station logos.

A total of 18 DAB and 1 DAB+ audio services are on air, but enhanced features as text, images or programme guides are not available.

Simulcast on AM / FM Exclusive on digital Total of services
DAB programmes 18 0 18
DAB+ programmes 1 0 1

Last update: 16.02.2022 - older versions

In Spain, 91% of new cars sold in 2021 have DAB+ as standard (Source: JATO Dynamics 2022).


Last update: 15.06.2016 - older versions

There are a few DAB receivers available with some retailers.  Since DAB digital radio is not being promoted to the consumer at this time, digital radio receiver sales are not being measured and are presumed to be virtually non-existent.

Mobile Phones

The world's first smartphone with DAB/DAB+ digital radio built in, is available in Spain. More information available here.

Last update: 21.10.2019 - older versions

Spanish Broadcaster Radio Maria ( started DAB+ test transmissions in Madrid and Barcelona on 2014 December 30th.

This is the first time DAB+ has been used for radio broadcasting in Spain. This DAB/DAB+ network is operated by the Broadcast Network Operator Cellnex Telecom.

Last update: 04.09.2020 - older versions

The Spanish DAB Association comprising of both national private and public broadcasters are responsible for DAB/DAB+ regulation in Spain.

National station licenses are issued by the central government, while local and regional licenses are the responsibility of the regional government. Licenses are valid for 10 years with an automatic renewal for a further 10 years and operators must commit to the promotion of DAB digital radio. Advertising and sponsorship are permitted under the same rules which exist for analogue radio, and data is permitted on up to 20% of multiplex capacity.

Digital terrestrial broadcasting is allowed by law in Band III

There are three layers of services set out by law:

  • National, with 1 SFN multiplex and 2 MFN multiplexes
  • Regional (Comunidad Autónoma basis), with 1/3 SFN multiplex (nowadays without transmissions) and 2/3 MFN multiplex (not implemented)
  • Local, with 237 areas covered by different frequency blocks in Band III

Nowadays, due to the entry into force of the Digitalization Plan for Terrestrial Broadcasting, DAB services are on air only in Madrid and Barcelona including their metropolitan areas. The DAB services have a bit rate of 160 kbps, with the exception of Radio Nacional (192 kbps), Radio 3 (192 kbps), Radio 5 (192 kbps) and Radio Clasica (224 kbps).

Political parties urge Spanish government to take action on DAB+

In September 2020, Spain's Izquierda Confederal parliamentary group - made up of various political group from across Spain - presented before the Senate a proposal for the introduction of a law to urgently address the promotion and development of terrestrial digital radio broadcasting.

Javier Sánchez, RTVE: “It's about time”
08.11.2023 - RTVE WorldDAB Member - Spain Spain
Javier Sánchez of RTVE has been elected a member of the Steering Board of WorldDAB, the international body that oversees the development of DAB, to promote DAB+ over the next two years, including Spain. How should we interpret this move by RTVE and your new responsibility? Sánchez laughs. "As a "it's about time". This is something that should have happened more than a decade ago. There are plenty of reasons. But suffice it to point out that RTVE was the only EBU Big Five that was not a member of WorldDAB."

(Gorka Zumeta) Read more

RTVE, a firm commitment to revitalise DAB
06.10.2023 - Spain Spain
There is no longer any doubt. The RTVE Corporation maintains that "the future of radio broadcasting in Spain depends on the implementation of DAB+" and, in line with this statement, has joined, as a full member, the WorldDAB, the international organisation that brings together all the players involved in the extension and implementation of Digital Terrestrial Radio throughout the world. The decision changes from the outset the prevailing status quo: the standstill in which we found ourselves, submerged by the pressure and interests of the private operators, who do not want to open up the advertising pie or the sector to other players.

(Gorka Zumeta) Read more

RTVE joins WorldDAB
26.09.2023 - RTVE WorldDAB Member - Spain Spain
Radiotelevisión Española has decided to join WorldDAB, the association that promotes the adoption of digital radio worldwide based on DAB/DAB+ standards. The future of radio broadcasting in Spain depends on the implementation of DAB+, as is the case in most European countries. Especially in the case of a public audiovisual service provider such as RTVE, whose mandate is to provide maximum social and geographical coverage, with the highest quality and technology available. It should be borne in mind that, as of today, the penetration of linear radio distributed over the Internet (streaming) is only 7% of the Spanish population.

(RTVE) Read more

Emisoras Musicales expands its reach in Madrid with DAB+
20.07.2023 - Spain Spain
Emisoras Musicales, one of the leading groups of thematic digital radio stations, has started broadcasting on DAB+ in Madrid. Emisoras Musicales has already been broadcasting on DAB+ for some time in various cities in eastern Spain, such as Valencia, Alicante, Castellón, Elche and Murcia. Now, Madrid joins the list, offering listeners a wide range of content and programmes. The broadcasts are currently unlicensed.

(Emisoras Musicales) Read more

Spain: RTVE wants DAB+ 'no longer ignored'
12.06.2023 - Spain Spain
Spanish public broadcaster RTVE wants to offer its services "in all environments", including DAB+. This was more evident than ever at a conference that clearly aimed to get DAB+ on the Spanish political agenda. RTVE hosted the 'Trends of European audiovisual public services' conference last Thursday. It brought an analysis of how public audiovisual networks interact with traditional television and radio on the one hand and the internet, various platforms and social networks on the other. However, the focus was largely on radio, because there, unlike television, Spain completely missed the digital train.

( Read more

Ángel García Castillejo (RTVE): "We cannot leave aside the transition to DAB+, either alone or together".
10.06.2023 - Spain Spain
The Corporation's Director of Audiovisual Policies, Public Service and International expresses his determination to face the challenge of digital radio migration in Spain. Today, 4 million DAB+ receivers "on wheels" can only tune to pirate stations. The 'R' of the RTVE Corporation was present, with outstanding advances on its future, at the conference "Trends in European public audiovisual services", which was held last Thursday at the Prado del Rey Auditorium. The conference was an opportunity for the public corporation to state its position in the debate, which has been frozen for two decades, on the adoption of DAB+ as the broadcast standard that will replace the majority FM.

(Gorka Zumeta) Read more

What to do to keep listening to your car radio
05.06.2023 - Spain Spain
From 31 December 2020, all new cars sold in Spain will include a DAB or DAB+ receiver for radio tuning, in addition to the usual FM antenna. The big question is why it is necessary to incorporate this system in cars if Spanish radio stations have not spent a single euro on promoting this type of broadcasting in more than 20 years. And yet, almost all the well-known ones broadcast in DAB+ and every month new ones appear which would be considered illegal but which take advantage of the vacuum that exists.

(El Debate) Read more

RTVE's 'Trends in European public audiovisual services' event features DAB+
31.05.2023 - Spain Spain
The Prado del Rey Auditorium will host a conference on 'Trends in European public audiovisual services' on Friday 9 June, starting at 09:30. The event will be attended by Elena Sánchez Caballero, acting president of RTVE, and will bring together representatives involved in decision-making and opinion leaders in the field of audiovisual public policies. During the presentations, Spain's inaction in terms of the deployment and implementation of digital terrestrial radio in DAB+ will also be addressed, as well as the emergence of gatekeepers and walled gardens as a possible threat to the continuity of public audiovisual service provision.

(RTVE) Read more

Spain: telecoms operator wants to force nationwide DAB+ itself
12.04.2023 - Spain Spain
Spain is getting its first nationwide network on DAB+, after all. Operator Hola DAB and Spanish telecoms player Ibertel Telecom, which operates some 600 masts, are working together to, in a first phase, roll out DAB+ in 18 Spanish urban regions before the summer. The government in Madrid has still not recognised DAB+ as an official standard, even though Spain, followed the EECC directive, to mandate DAB+ in new cars. It means that currently a quarter of Spain's car fleet is already equipped with DAB+. So even if the country leaves it hanging administratively, there are radio stations and an audience ready to take advantage of existing opportunities.

(RadioVisie) Read more

¡Hola DAB! Ibertel jumpstarts DAB+ in Spain
11.04.2023 - Spain Spain
Thanks to a new effort by telecom infrastructure company Ibertel, DAB+ is getting a jump start in Spain. After the initial roll out of digital radio in Spain in the late 1990s, the technology has largely stalled with DAB on the air in only a few markets. In recent years, however, the calls to implement DAB+ in the country have grown louder. In response, the Hola DAB project has quietly been moving forward to put in place the infrastructure needed to bring DAB+ to the whole of Spain. The initial phase of Hola DAB aims deploy DAB+ networks in 18 provinces across Spain, and then gradually growing to reach 95% of the Spanish population. Ibertel currently provides transmission services from 600 sites across Spanish territory. Despite being widely used elsewhere in Europe, Spain has not officially authorised the use of DAB+ in the country.

(Radio World) Read more

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Key Information

Status: regular
Population: 46.4 million
Population coverage: Sparkline Graph 20%
Services: 18 DAB, 1 DAB+
New cars with DAB/DAB+ as standard: Sparkline Graph 91%
Last update: 16.02.2022

Useful Links
Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism
Cellnex Telcom