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.

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

RTVE celebrates World Radio Day and switches on Ukrainian public radio on DAB
13.02.2023 - Spain Spain
On World Radio Day, this year under the slogan 'Radio and Peace', RTVE has launched an initiative to support the Ukrainian people and its public radio, within the framework of the public service function of the Corporation: the temporary broadcasting of the generalist channel of the Ukrainian public radio, Suspilne Ukraine, which can be heard through Radio Nacional de España in its DAB broadcasting in Madrid and Barcelona.

(RTVE) Read more

Suspilne Ukraine to launch on DAB in Madrid and Barcelona
08.02.2023 - Spain Spain
On Monday, RNE begins temporary broadcasting of the Ukrainian public radio channel, Suspilne Ukraine, on DAB radio. This is a solidarity initiative in support of Ukrainians fleeing the war and seeking refuge in the country, and of Ukrainian public radio, as part of the Corporation's public service function. The acting president of the Corporación RTVE and its Board of Directors, Elena Sánchez Caballero, together with representatives of the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, will visit on Monday the Centre for Care, Reception and Referral of Ukrainian Refugees (CREADE) in Pozuelo de Alarcón (Madrid), located a few metres from Prado del Rey, to "switch on" the signal of 'RNE - Suspilne Ukraine' and to hand over DAB receivers.

(RTVE) Read more

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

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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