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 Pérez: "Lack of spectrum killed the radio star"
27.01.2023 - Spain Spain
"The possible disappearance of DTT in 2030 could lead to the ostracisation of radio," says Javier Sánchez Pérez, a member of the Radio Committee of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). Pérez reflects on the major challenges facing the broadcasting of audiovisual content. "Furthermore, in an adverse scenario, it could be questioned in Spain whether it is profitable to maintain FM services in a network initially designed to offer television services and without having undertaken the migration to DAB+. Because, so far, no one has demonstrated that there is a more efficient way of transmitting linear radio services to large audiences than with DAB+. Think of countries like Switzerland, whose DTT never had a high penetration rate and switched off in June 2019; but where DAB+ is profitable and overtook FM consumption already in 2019."

(Gorka Zumeta) Read more

Emisoras Musicales now broadcasting on DAB+
25.01.2023 - Spain Spain
Spanish audio media company Emisoras Musicales has announced that its radio stations are now available on DAB+. The company launched the DAB+ offering with 17 stations, and since added three more from third parties. The company says the digital signal covers the entire Mediterranean coast of Spain and inland areas of the Valencian Community, where its analogue FM signal previously couldn’t reach. The company’s stations include Activa FM, MuyBuena, Bikini FM, La Flamenca, Esencia FM, La Mega, RockStar, Gold FM, La Indie and Corazón FM, which are now available on the digital radio channel in the peninsula — DAB+ channel 8D via wireless communications provider TelTower.

(RedTech) Read more

DAB in Spain, getting closer? Tender goes to the Constitutional Court
02.11.2022 - Spain Spain
Jaime Rodríguez Díez, lawyer - partner at Díez & Romeo Abogados, shares the latest news on the state of DAB in Spain. Between September and October 2022, the Constitutional Court has admitted 16 Appeals for Protection (Recursos de Amparo) filed by several radio broadcasters against the refusal to award digital terrestrial sound broadcasting (DAB) licences. This is a step forward with regard to the situation of DAB.

(Panorama Audiovisual) Read more

Spain: regional and local DAB radio goes before the Constitutional Court
21.10.2022 - Spain Spain
Spain's Constitutional Court has received 13 appeals from radio stations requesting digital radio licences. The challenge dates back to 2018 when the radio stations requested public tenders for available digital radio licences. Several reasons promoted the requests: low availability of broadcast radio licences, lack of available spectrum, an infringement on plurality and the ability operate in the digital world, leaving citizens with a reduced radio offer.

(Lawyer Press News) Read more

Javier Sánchez: "What about the future of radio in cars?"
17.06.2022 - Spain Spain
Javier Sánchez, a member of the Radio Committee of the European Broadcasting Union raises concerns that Google is planning the future car entertainment system without taking into account the radio sector. "What could happen if the future of car radio ended up depending exclusively on Google, in the form of Android Automotive? (Spoiler: not good)," Sánchez says. "Because in Android Automotive there is no radio screen, but rather multiple buttons in the Media area. And one of those buttons is the radio button, sharing an area with aggregators..."

(Gorka Zumeta) Read more

Spanish Senator calls for urgent measures to implement DAB+
16.05.2022 - Spain Spain
Compromís senator Carles Mulet announced that the Valencian coalition has tabled an amendment to the General Telecommunications Law to include the implementation of digital terrestrial radio DAB+ saying, "we are far behind in not digitising radio as in other countries around us". He recalled that in Europe all new vehicles are required to incorporate digital terrestrial broadcast receivers.

(Compromís Senate) Read more

Energy efficiency and sustainability of radio broadcasting in Spain
10.03.2022 - Spain Spain
Javier Sanchez: "Perhaps it is worth opening a dialogue on the energy efficiency and sustainability of the radio in Spain... Extending it to the entire broadcast network in the territorial scope of coverage, it can be immediately deduced that electricity savings can be obtained by migrating from FM to DAB+."

(Gorka Zumeta) Read more

The dangers of not digitising FM in Spain
03.06.2021 - Spain Spain
Third parties can remove content from a radio station unilaterally and without justification. No radio broadcaster anywhere in the world wants to use 5G broadcast and no internet operator has expressed their willingness to open that line of business. Because there is neither use case nor business case.

( Read more

Coast FM launches on DAB in the Canary Islands
30.04.2021 - Spain Spain
Despite any clear regulation in place in regards to the broadcast of DAB in Spain, Coast FM has become the first radio network in the Canary Islands to broadcast on DAB digital radio.

(Gorka Zumeta) Read more

Spain urged to develop digital radio plan by Compromís
30.04.2021 - Spain Spain
Spain's Compromís parliamentary group is urging the Spanish government to urgently address the promotion and rollout of DAB+ digital radio broadcasting.

(Tercera Informacion) 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