Spain

Last update: 13.01.2020 - older versions

The Spanish DAB Association (Asociación Foro de la Radio Digital), comprising both national private and public broadcasters, is responsible for DAB/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, in some Comunidades Autónomas, DAB services were launched on additional regional multiplexes, but  they are currently switched off.

The Council of Ministers reached an agreement on Digital Radio in June 2011 and approved a Digitalisation 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

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: 10.07.2015 - older versions

In this country there are

on air.

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
Total19019

Last update: 10.07.2015 - older versions

Some manufacturers (mainly premium) offer DAB/DAB+ receivers as an OEM extra.

Manufacturer Model Type Price (euros)
Mercedes-Benz E Class DAB/DAB+/DMB receiver 505.78
BMW 5 Series DAB receiver 451.32
Mini All DAB receiver N/A
Audi A6 DAB receiver 475
Porsche 911 DAB receiver 543
Wolkswagen Passat DAB/DAB+ receiver 220
Seat León DAB receiver 200

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 (http://www.radiomaria.es/) 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: 10.07.2015 - 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).

Spain's autonomous governments await court rulings on digital radio
21.02.2020 - Spain Spain
Companies interested in rolling out DAB+ digital radio in Spain have called on regional governments to launch calls for tenders for DAB+ licences. 17 autonomous regions are currently concerned - in four of those (Asturias, Navarra, La Rioja and Madrid) the Supreme Court has ruled in favour of a call for tenders, while in the Basque Country and the Canary Islands, the decision has ruled against it.

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Court ruling to determine fate of digital radio in Valencia
20.02.2020 - Spain Spain
The autonomous government of Valencia may be required to launch a call for tenders for digital radio services in the region, should the ruling of the Valencian Superior Court of Justice rule in favour of Mirendica - a legal consultancy firm soliciting the launch of digital radio in the autonomous region.

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DAB+ at home and in the car
21.01.2020 - Spain Spain
This article outlines the specifications of DAB radio, touching on the technology's various benefits for listeners and broadcasters, and Germany's recent introduction of regulation mandating DAB+ radio in cars and certain types of consumer receivers.

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Navarra government launches call for tenders for new regional multiplex
09.01.2020 - Spain Spain
The regional government in Navarra, Spain, has advertised capacity for six DAB services on a future ensemble for the region, designated FU-Nav. Simultaneously, the government has advertised a total of 72 DAB licences across 12 ensembles, each of which will have local coverage.

Read more


Bcast brings DAB+ to Tenerife
22.12.2019 - Spain Spain
A new DAB+ multiplex operated by Polish broadcast operator Bcast has launched on the Spanish island of Tenerife, in the Canary islands. The multiplex was launched near the town of Adeje.

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Spain urged to get on board with DAB+ in light of EECC
11.12.2019 - Spain Spain
Radio industry stakeholders in Spain are endorsing the uptake of DAB+ digital radio in Europe, and urging their government to follow in the footsteps of Italy, France and Germany, by introducing a national law in line with the EECC directive, which requires new cars across the EU to be capable of receiving digital terrestrial radio by the end of 2020.

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Spain trailing behind rest of Europe on DAB+ front
30.09.2019 - Spain Spain
While the radio industry in Europe continues its transition to digital, the Spanish government has yet to manifest any signs of commitment to the rollout of DAB+ in the country, prompting industry experts to raise their concern on the matter.

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Spain urged to follow European counterparts and drive DAB+ growth
21.09.2019 - Spain Spain
The digitisation of the radio industry continues to sweep over Europe, prompting digital radio enthusiasts in Spain to urge their country to follow suit. According to the digital radio report published by the EBU, the two transmitters currently active in Spain only cover 20% of the population, offering no more than one service that is not available through the FM band.

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Spanish government delays digital radio talks amidst second digital dividend uncertainty
27.02.2019 - Spain Spain
The Spanish government's decision to postpone discussions around the implementation of digital radio in Spain has been met with frustration by DAB+ supporters including political party Coalició Compromís.

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Compromís to seek development of DAB+ in Spain
17.12.2018 - Spain Spain
Jordi Navarrete, Senator of the Valencian political party Compromís, is expected to recommend the creation of a paper addressing the development of DAB+ in Spain to the Spanish Senate Industry Committee.

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Key Information

Status: regular
Population: 46.4 million
Population coverage: Sparkline Graph 20%
Services: 18 DAB, 1 DAB+
Last update: 10.07.2015

Useful Links

DAB Barcelona
www.minetur.gob.es/telecomunicaciones/Espectro/RadioTV/RD/Paginas/RD.aspx
Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism
rtve
Cellnex Telcom