Countries using DAB/DMB
The radio technology known as Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB or DAB+), and its TV sibling, Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB), is being operated in several regions worldwide, either in the form of full commercial services, or as feasibility studies. There is a growing user base in countries as Denmark, Norway, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and South Korea. In the UK the percentage of total listeners tuning into DAB services fell while analogue FM grew in the three months to September 2013, prompting ED Vaizey to postpone the analogue switchoff with no future date specified.
This article provides brief information on most of the regions using DAB, DAB+ and DMB.
- 1 Andorra
- 2 Australia
- 3 Austria
- 4 Belgium
- 5 Brunei Darussalam
- 6 Canada
- 7 China
- 8 Croatia
- 9 Czech Republic
- 10 Denmark
- 11 Estonia
- 12 France
- 13 Germany
- 14 Ghana
- 15 Greece
- 16 Hong Kong
- 17 Hungary
- 18 Indonesia
- 19 Ireland
- 20 Italy
- 21 Malaysia
- 22 Malta
- 23 Mexico
- 24 Monaco
- 25 The Netherlands
- 26 New Zealand
- 27 Norway
- 28 Poland
- 29 Portugal
- 30 Romania
- 31 Russian Federation
- 32 Serbia
- 33 Singapore
- 34 Slovenia
- 35 South Africa
- 36 South Korea
- 37 Spain
- 38 Sweden
- 39 Switzerland
- 40 Taiwan (Republic of China)
- 41 Thailand
- 42 Turkey
- 43 United Kingdom
- 44 Vietnam
- 45 References
- 46 External links
There were two public radio stations (Ràdio Nacional d'Andorra and Andorra Música) broadcasting by this system. Their coverage was practically of 100% of the population of the principality, only using two repeaters: Pic de Maià and Pic de Carroi. The broadcast was carried out on the block 12D (229.072 MHz).
In 2005 the repeaters were deactivated and in 2006 definitely turned off up to the present without further explanation.
DAB+ was launched in 2009 – with services in five major cities: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide (~65% of population). 16% of households in the five cities own a DAB+ digital radio. 13% of total listening is via DAB+. Trial services are taking place in Darwin and Canberra (extended for 12 months in Aug 2013). Several automotive manufacturers offer DAB+ digital radio as a standard feature.
Sixteen on channel repeaters will be rolled out across the five mainland capital cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide) which have a single high powered transmission (to address coverage gaps). Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) and the public broadcasters are working with the Federal Government on a timetable for regional roll out. CRA has developed a “best practice” automotive document which addresses some of the implementation/User Interface issues that have been evident in some of the earlier models.
Digital Radio Austria (Verein Digitalradio Österreich) will apply for a DAB+ trial license. Two transmitters will operate as a single frequency network, with one transmitting a 10 kW signal. This test mode is scheduled to last a year, with the possibility of an extension in to 2015. The twelve radio stations which will take part in the trial are being selected. Unlike earlier trials, consumers will receive more information on this new way of radio consumption and there will be a large volume of digital radios available in consumer electronic shops.
Austria is committed to a digital radio future and a report by the regulators, the Austrian Communications Authority (KommAustria) and RTR-GmbH recommended DAB+ in Band III as the way forward. As planned, KommAustria completed a call for interest regarding DAB+ in August 2012. KommAustria intended to launch DAB+ by an open call for tender regarding the DAB+ network if enough parties showed believable and sustainable interest. A minimum limit of 12 possible programs (to fill one MUX coverage) was set. Unfortunately this limit was not reached as too few parties showed interest or failed to meet the criteria of the call for interest. Most remarkably, the public broadcaster ORF and the bigger players in the Austrian market did not show interest but strongly voiced their opposition against the launch of DAB+ in Austria. However there is a group of broadcasters who are very outspoken in favour of DAB+, but the majority of radio stations remain unsure. The public broadcaster ORF has renewed its objection to any DAB+ plans. In the upcoming “Digitalisation Concept” which marks the authority’s official strategy and schedule for the digitalisation of broadcasting, KommAustria plans to elaborate on the technical details of a possible DAB+ network. There will be no further calls for interest but the possibility for a call for tender upon request. Nevertheless a working group that was created in 2009 to consider the countries digital future is still at work. Its members are stakeholders from the Austrian radio market who represent opponents and proponents of digital radio. It consists of the regulatory authority, the public broadcaster ORF, the commercial and non-commercial broadcasters associations, the electronic industry and consumer associations. The group is constantly watching and evaluating the progress of digital radio in other European countries. The success of digital radio in Germany will have an impact on whether Austria decides to implement DAB+.
The Austrian Association of the Electrical and Electronic Industry (FEEI), and Austrian radio stations such as Radio Arabella and LoungeFM have founded the digital radio club, Digital Radio Austria. The aim of the new organisation is the promotion and development of digital radio in Austria, developing the media category “Radio” in the digital media world, the establishment of radio on new platforms and to promote the provision of information and support for education and training in the field of electronic and new media. 
French speaking Belgium (Wallonia and Brussels)
The Radio Télévision belge de la Communauté française de Belgique (RTBF) is the public broadcaster for the Belgian French speaking community. Since 1998, RTBF has operated one DAB multiplex simulcasting its five FM radio stations and two BRF (the Belgian German speaking public broadcaster) FM radio stations, covering of Brussels and Wallonia. On this multiplex, RTBF is also testing four DAB+ audio and data channels (indifferent bit rates and with slideshows) for itself and also for the private radio stations. The aim is to plan a roadmap for DAB+ in French speaking Belgium together with the private broadcasters, subject to approval from the French Community Government and the regulator, the Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel (CSA). In Spring 2011 a common vision of the main broadcasters, both private and public, was defined with a four-tier strategy for migration from analogue to digital radio (DAB+ broadcast; hybrid radio; single online radio player and radio on TV). In summer 2011 the Parliament of the French speaking Community adopted unanimously a resolution asking the French-speaking Government to support the migration to digital radio from 2011 onwards.
The CSA (regulator) launched a public consultation about digital radio in autumn 2011 which provided positive feedback. In spring 2012, the CSA recommended to the Government a DAB+ rollout based mainly on two layers in Band III. In June 2012 the Government authorized RTBF to proceed with DAB+ trials for commercial and non-profit radio stations licensed by the CSA.
The next step is to achieve a public funding agreement to finance the investments needed for the technical DAB+ rollout, upgrade of the RTBF DAB network to DAB+ to ensure deep indoor coverage of Brussels and Wallonia, for a potential public launch in 2015 (to mark the 101st anniversary of the first radio broadcasting in Belgium). RTBF is testing Radio DNS interactive slideshows on its DAB+ channels.
Flemish speaking Belgium (Flanders and Brussels)
“De Vlaamse Radio – en Televisie omroep” (VRT), is the public broadcaster for the Belgian Flemish Community. VRT has one DAB multiplex in operation with nine radio stations including four DAB only brand extensions. The stations on air include Nieuws+ (news), Sporza (sport), Klara Continuo (classic music) and MNM Hits (Top 40). Norkring, which operates VRT’s multiplex, also has a license for another multiplex and is examining the possibility of a DAB+ roll out. In February 2013 Norkring launched a “call for interest” for a DAB+ roll-out in the Northern part of Belgium. Based on the results of this call, Norkring has now launched a second call to include a progressive deployment, with the Brussels DAB+ roll-out in the first phase. Norkring is waiting for the answers of this second call, planned in Autumn 2013.
As VRT and RTBF’s multiplex covers the whole country’s main road networks, since 2012 they have been broadcasting data traffic information (via TPEG) on behalf of Be Mobile, a company specialised in the provision of traffic and mobility content. Their first client so far is Toyota Belgium.
In 2007 RTB (Radio Television Brunei, the public and main broadcaster) began a DAB trial, originally to last for five years to include simulcast services. Five RTB stations are broadcast on DAB in Brunei.
A task force has been set up within RTB, which is working closely with AITI (Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei) on the plans for a commercial launch.
DAB services were on air in Canada’s major cities - Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Ottawa for around 10 years with coverage reaching about 35% of the population. While the rest of the world has embraced DAB or DAB+ using Band III, Canada’s digital output was restricted to L-Band. This has resulted in a lack of receivers in the market, high prices and slow consumer uptake. Combined with the fact that the US, Canada’s powerful neighbour to the south, has opted for a different system of broadcast, this has led to a complete re-think by the regulator, CRTC, and broadcasters on the future direction of digital broadcasting in Canada. The situation is complicated by the need for spectrum, now occupied by dormant DAB transmitters, for new digital TV and broadband roll out. The CRTC has discarded its 1996 plan for DAB replacement of all AM and FM radio. Instead it proposes keeping these stations on analogue and using L-Band for new digital multi-media services. However, stakeholders are considering how L-Band is used in other countries before deciding how to reallocate the spectrum. As a result, while existing DAB multiplexes are slowly being dismantled, there is no firm plan for replacing them and delivering digital radio services to Canada’s population of 32 million potential listeners. Canada’s broadcasters are expected to lobby for a portion of the L-Band spectrum to be retained for broadcasting services.
China’s State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT), chose DAB for the standard for digital audio services in May 2006, and tested DMB services in the following years. Beijing Jolon, GTM in Guangzhou and other broadcasters provided DMB services during the Olympic Games in 2008. DAB is now on air in three cities (Beijing and Hong Kong in Band III and Shanghai in L-Band).
Some of them provide several DMB services among audio services. Beijing Jolon, the biggest local broadcaster in Beijing, has launched ‘Push Radio’ based on DAB in 2010 in Beijing. Beijing Jolon broadcasts 30 hours – or 25 program channels everyday through Push Radio. 16 Audio programs are broadcast 15 times per day and downloaded onto receivers. Value added services such as news, data and slideshow have been provided through Push Radio services. Cooperating with Commercial Radio Australia (CRA), Beijing Jolon has upgraded their latest generation receivers to support DAB+ and is trialling Push Radio in Australia.
Trials using DAB were launched by Croatian Radio Television (HRT), the biggest Croatian public broadcaster, in 1997. Centred around Zagreb, the HRT multiplex broadcast simulcasts of its three national radio services.
This trial has now been completed.
Network operator TELEKO operates one regular local DAB/DAB+ multiplex using band III and L Band, which reaches 5 million inhabitants of the Czech Republic. The signal broadcasts in Prague and the surrounding area, in Příbram, Brno and the surrounding region, the Moravia-Silesian region, the Usti nad Labem region and Hradec Kralove region. 15 radio stations are being broadcast on the TELEKO multiplex.
Network operator RTI CZ operates 52 radio transmitters in the FM band, predominantly in Western Bohemia. In 2011 RTI CZ obtained a license for Digital Radio DAB (L Band) in the Pilsenregion, Carlsbad region, South Bohemian region and inPrague city. RTI cz company serve DAB broadcasting in West and South Bohemia.
From 1 March 2013, the selection of digital audio broadcasting (DAB) was expanded to include new projects of public broadcaster Czech Radio. Owners of digital audio devices are now able to listen to three new stations, two of which have been up until now limited to online broadcasting: Czech Radio – Radio Junior, Czech Radio Jazz and Czech Radio Plus.
The digital audio signal is available to approximately 53% of Czech inhabitants. Digital networks are powered by three operators which have obtained the appropriate permission from the Czech Telecommunication Office. Up to 18 stations are available to audiences in many Czech regions.
The Czech Parliament published four key requirements for successful implementation of digital broadcasting:
- The government should announce a schedule for the development of terrestrial digital radio broadcasting including a specific deadline for the completion of the transfer from analog to digital broadcasting.
- Czech Radio should permanently obtain frequencies for digital broadcasting and should become, like Czech Television, the operator of its own public service multiplex.
- Digital TV broadcasting has proven that it would be appropriate to use a national body which would be able to efficiently coordinate the steps taken by all individual entities. Following this example, the parties involved should establish the National Association for Digital Audio Broadcasting (NA DAB) comprising - in addition to the representatives of Czech Radio - ministries and governmental offices, licence holders, car producers, operators, electronic appliance dealers, etc.
- The state has to motivate private operators. An amendment to the law on broadcasting could, for example, loosen the rules regarding the ownership of digital stations.
In addition to Czech Radio, other commercial entities also expressed their support of digital broadcasting during the seminar: Lagardére Active CR (holder of the first historical digital licence) and the dance music radio station, SeeJay Radio. A unilateral resolution in favour of DAB was also adopted by the Council for Radio and Television Broadcasting.
Denmark has one of the highest numbers of DAB users per capita in the world, with 32% of the population having access to a digital radio set. Public service broadcaster DR (Danish Radio) began regular services in 2002 and more than 10% of all radio listening is now on DAB, with an additional 4% on the digital internet platform. Cumulative set sales in 2012 were approximately 1.7 million, of which 0.6 million were DAB+ sets. Since 1 November 2011, DR broadcasts exclusively on DAB multiplex 1 except for a news loop, and multiplex 2 is reserved for commercial broadcasters. A third multiplex is planned for regional and local stations. The latest parliamentary Media Agreement 2012-2014 stipulates that the FM band will close in 2019 if at least 50% of radio listening is on digital platforms by that time. As part of the agreement, the national single-frequency DAB block now used by public service broadcaster DR may be swapped on the 1st of January 2015 for the two DAB regional frequency blocks now employed for a single commercial multiplex. The proposed frequency swap will also mark the switch-over of all Danish DAB transmissions to the more efficient DAB+ standard. This increases the total transmission capacity of DR enough to migrate its nine regional FM-only stations to DAB, and allow the commercial multiplex to develop further.
The Ministry of Culture has just finished their report and recommendations for the transition from FM and politically, it is desired that decisions are taken before Christmas. The situation has changed in that the commercial market has shown interest in itself to fund the regional mux, and there is broad agreement on a transition to DAB+. Of particular interest is that a number of new players have shown interest in investing in the Danish radio market and act as a gatekeeper, a new regional DAB+ MUX3.
Estonia has been carrying out experimental DAB broadcasts since 2000. There were four DAB programmes available on the multiplex of the Eesti Rahvusringhääling (ERR) the Estonian Public Broadcaster though no information is available on whether these services remain on air.
The CSA has set Friday, June 20, 2014 as the start date of the broadcast for digital radio for the authorized radio stations in the areas of Marseille, Nice and Paris.
The rule states that the start date is set at least six months in advance. This period will enable publishers of radio and multiplex operators to conduct all necessary technical and commercial operations launch services.
DAB+ is now part of the multiplex allocation in France. The original CSA publication called T-DMB and each radio station had 104/1000 of the multiplex. T-DMB is still part of the possible technology for RNT in France however with DAB+, each radio station has 76/1000 of the multiplex 
The authorization for the multiplex operators was given mid October 2013.
Radio Galère is now allowed to broadcast in Marseille in DAB+ until the end of the 2013; The TDF and France Multiplex may also continue to broadcast in Lyon in T-DMB and DAB+ until the end of June 2014. Nantes was already allowed until the end of the year. In January 2012 it was reported by the French newspaper ‘Les Echos’ that the CSA had requested the Ministry of Industry to include DAB+ in the technical standard for France. The consultation for this closed in May 2012 and the technical decree was released 16 August 2013, including DAB+ to the list of permitted standards. At the end of 2007, France’s Government announced that the official standard for digital radio in France would be DMB-A, to be marketed as Radio Numérique Terrestre (RNT).
At the end of 2013, the French Parliament will examine an update of the 1986 law about radio and television. Then the CSA should publish a timetable for a call for applications for tenders for digital terrestrial licenses for France’s next 20 biggest cities which will add up to 62% coverage. An additional tender will also allow to add DAB+ services to the 14 multiplexes in Paris, Marseille and Nice, as well as five more multiplexes in these towns.
In April 2012 the CSA re-launched a call of tender for three cities (Paris for seven multiplexes, Marseille and Nice for six multiplexes each). The four main commercial radio groups decided do not bid and the government did not allow the public service (Radio France) to pre-empt frequencies. At the beginning of October 2012 the CSA published the candidates selected for the three cities. At the beginning of 2014, six multiplexes will be on air in Paris, four in Marseille and four in Nice.
Roll out of terrestrial digital radio was scheduled to start in December 2009 but was postponed amid opposition from several sources, including private radio operators. The Prime Minister commissioned a further report by David Kessler, former chief executive France Culture, which was published in mid-2011 and suggested that the conditions had not been met for the full scale deployment of digital radio in France. The report suggested a moratorium of two to three years during which time the French market would look at the deployment of digital radio in the rest of Europe. The report also stated that the government approved the CSA’s decision to allow further trials to continue.
The CSA is responsible for taking the findings of the Kessler report forward and in order to do this set up an ‘Observatory’ which includes all of the industry players. The publication of the Kessler report meant the market could move forward after a period of stagnation and to this end various trials were put on-air (Paris, Nantes, Marseille and Lyon).
By the end of 2013 more than 120 national, regional and local programs will be broadcast in Germany. Also more than 90% of the German population can listen to at least one digital radio ensemble. This is considered to be a respectable success two years after the launch.
Despite some changes in the national multiplex, the prospect for both commercial and public broadcasters is very positive as receiver sales are increasing. Furthermore a stable ecosystem of private digital radio stations could be established in metropolitan areas such as Frankfurt, Berlin and Munich.
The current focus of broadcasters and network operators is to continue their marketing efforts in all media. For this reason the initiative ‘Digitalradio Deutschland’ was founded by the commercial broadcasters on the national multiplex (represented by DRD GmbH), the ARD group, Deutschlandradio and the network operator Media Broadcast. The goal is to coordinate the b2b and b2c marketing initiatives of all stakeholders to foster the evolution of digital radio in Germany by obtaining a reasonable market penetration by end of 2014.
Coordination with the device industry is carried out via the initiative ‘Digitalradio Deutschland’, organised by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi). Five working groups were created to guide all areas of digital radio development and roll out, such as receiver/devices, data and traffic services, networks or advertisements.
The initiative hired consumer electronics market professionals which significantly improved the communication with the retailers. Many stores are now equipped with in-house-coverage solutions. The German car manufacturers offer DAB+ receivers for nearly all models either as an option or line fit. Two commercial telematics service providers use data capacity on the national mux to transmit TPEG based traffic information via DAB. The impressive coverage of Germany’s highways over the last two years was secured through market collaboration and support for the technology.
On 14 May 2008 FonTV, Africa’s first mobile phone enabled television content service, was launched via DMB. The network is operated by Black Star TV in collaboration with OneTouch and VDL. This launch followed on from a successful trial that ran in Accra during 2007.
FonTV is a subscription based service costing around 2Euros a month. Black Star TV operates three mobile TV services, including the BBC World News and ultimately hopes to provide up to six TV channels and four digital radio services. While coverage is currently limited to the areas around Accra and Kumasi, the operator has plans to roll out FonTV across the country.
There is interest in the DAB family of standards in Greece and, although no services are on air, DAB radios are available in many shops.
Frequency planning has allocated a national multiplex and one for each of Greece’s nine regions. It is likely that when Greece does progress with its digital radio roll out it will use DAB+.
The first stage of broadcasting seven channels in DAB+ on a 24-hour basis in Hong Kong started in August 2011. After the completion of the network construction of seven hilltop sites on 19 June 2012, 17 out of the 18 channels are broadcasting formally.
The Government issued DAB+ licences to three commercial operators – DBC HK (Digital Broadcasting Corporation HongKong Ltd, formerly Wave Media), Metro Broadcast and Phoenix U Radio, together with the public broadcaster, RTHK.
Four broadcasters are now broadcasting via DAB+ on Mux 11C(220.352 MHz) in VHF Band III. The four DAB+ stakeholders have formed a Consortium (an Industry Working Group) which together with its Technical Committee is looking after detailed network implementation. A Marketing Committee is planning marketing and promotional activities. RTHK will operate and maintain the network on behalf of the Consortium and the seven hilltop sites.
Hungary has chosen DAB+ for its digital radio standard, and there is a test multiplex on air broadcasting seven radio programs to the Budapest area. The multiplex is operated by Antenna Hungaria, which also runs DVB-T multiplexes, national TV and radio stations in Hungary.
Pursuant to the contract concluded with the former National Communications Authority (actually National Media and Infocommunications Authority) by December 2008 Antenna Hungária had constructed the first phase of its digital terrestrial radio network. Thereafter the Company started experimental broadcasting on its DAB+ digital terrestrial radio network, which is received since 23 January 2009 in and around Budapest.
From the beginning, the programs can be heard are the channels of Magyar Rádió Kossuth, Petőfi andBartók (and then could still be heard the three channels of Swiss Satellite Radio). The experimental broadcast was supplemented in mid-February 2009 by adding Sláger Rádió and Magyar Katolikus Rádió (Hungarian Catholic Radio), in April (together with two channels ceased to be broadcast until that time) Klubrádió as well as Danubius Radio and Juventus Rádió (which is not transmitted from January 3, 2011) in October raising then the number of channels to thirteen, providing listeners with a broader variety of programs. From 19 November 2009, Sláger Rádió and Danubius Rádió were cancelled from the list after terminating the nationwide broadcast of their programs. However, the program of Lánchíd Rádió and Inforádió were put on the DAB+ radio system on 19 November 2009 and 17 February 2010. From January 3, 2011, there are 7 available radio programs within the frames of the experimental DAB+ broadcastin in Hungary: Kossuth, Petőfi, Bartók Rádió and Magyar Katolikus Rádió, Klubrádió, Lánchíd Rádió, Inforádió.
The Indonesian government has announced an official decree that Indonesia has chosen the DAB family of standards as the national standard for digital radio. Indonesia is the largest country in south-east Asia with a population of around 240 million. DMB trials have been running in the capital, Jakarta, since 2006. There are four services on air. The trial is operated by the regulator and MNC, the largest media company in Indonesia.
Milad Yogyakarta (Rush Mochtar Fadhillah) as CEO of Bang Habib said, All Radio local and national in Indonesia will shift from analog (FM) to digital (DAB+) in 15 July 2018, because it is in analog (FM) much less good at all, and can hear all the local and national radio in digital (DAB+) with more clarity.
National Public Broadcaster RTÉ operates a full-service Multiplex across a five transmitter network covering 52% of the population in the main cities. Two commercial trials are operating in Dublin, Cork and the South-East of the country carrying a mix of FM simulcasts and DAB exclusive stations operated by independent companies dB Digital Broadcasting Ltd and Total Broadcasting Ltd. Legislation has been in place since 2009 to enable commercial broadcasters to engage with DAB but the broadcasting regulator has not addressed the issue of establishing a regulatory framework to date. It is expected that Ireland will adopt the DAB+ standard.
Regular services in Italy started in December 2012 in the Trentino region following a decree by AGCOM. The decree was published in May 2012 assigning one block for national public radio and two blocks for national commercial (12A, 12B and 12C) and additional blocks for local services (12D, 10A, 10B 10C and 10D). The Department of Communications released the licenses for the Trentino area to the private national operator Club DAB Italia and to local consortia DBTAA and Digiloc.
In 2013 regular broadcasting licenses were also assigned for the Alto Adige region and five multiplexes have been authorised.
Network expansion is continuing with Club DAB Italia and Rai has announced an extension plan to be completed within 2015. Additional regions will be licensed throughout 2014.
Since the launch of its first pilot DAB+ trials in late 2009 in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur, there is no decision yet on the time line for the implementation of digital radio and broadcasting services in Malaysia. The sole DAB+ equipment (from head-end to transmitter) are owned and operated by the public broadcaster, Radio TV Malaysia (RTM).
In February 2013, RTM invited local agencies such as the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), various members of the local radio industry and Telecoms Malaysia to a joint field trial study. Some elements of the field trials included identifying minimum reception figures for in building reception loss, minimum figures for acceptable mobile reception and speed tests.
Considering the conservative power of the trial DAB+ transmitter of 1 kW, the results of the field trial looks promising and are in line with figures already established by the ITU and in broadcasting agencies in Australia. 15 FM radio programs are available on the DAB+ platform, nine from RTM and six from the commercial radio stations.
Efforts are underway to study/familiarise staff with other aspects of the DAB+ system such as adding Slideshow (SLS) and text (DL) in order to maximize the full potential of DAB+. Therefore, Malaysia is still gaining familiarity, experience and confidence with DAB+ technology.
Malta was the first European country to roll out a DAB+ network and services were on-air in October 2008. There are nearly 40 services on the two national multiplexes which include unique digital only stations, MOT, EPG and DLS applications. The multiplexes are operated by Digi B Network and cover 100% of the population. By the end of 2012, over 25% of Maltese radio listeners were tuning in via DAB+.
A second national mux (6A – Digi B2) was launched in 2011. The use of the digital radio platform has increased by 4.12% to 13% over the same period last year (January–March 2012) and the use of FM has dropped by 7%. Malta boasts a vibrant and growing DAB+ community of services.
In recent years, Mexico has tested several digital radio platforms. While there is support for digital radio via the DAB family of standards among some Mexican broadcasters, a Cofetel official says “The primary problem in Mexico is that here the L-Band is used for maritime transmissions and space communications.” In 2010, the country’s broadcast regulator, Cofetel, decided on IBOC as Mexico’s primary digital radio platform, in line with its neighbour to the north, the USA. 
A T-DMB test was carried out in VHF Band III on Channel 6A between July 2009 and September 2009. Monaco and the area around it has a transmitter, but due to some on-going technical issues, at present digital radio in Monaco is on hold.
Prior to this, the principality of Monaco broadcast DAB digital radio services to 100% of its population of 32,000 people since 2005. Stations on air have included MFM, Radio Classique, Radio Monaco, Riviera Radio and RMC. All were simulcasts of existing FM services.
NPO will extend coverage of its existing DAB mux from 70% to 95% early 2014. NPO plan to gradually migrate services to DAB+ by the second half of 2013. From 1 September 2013 commercial stations (VCR) will start to be introduced and the total of stations will increase from 9 to 21. NPO plans a part switchover from DAB to DAB+, starting in the 2nd half 2013.
NPO will extend the network with a further 14 transmitter sites by early 2014. By 2015, the network will be further extended with an additional 24 transmitter sites, enabling good indoor reception across virtually all of the Netherlands.
Digital radio services have not been introduced into New Zealand at this stage, other than on a trial basis in two cities. These trials have been licenced by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, but as yet there has been no requirement to develop wider policies concerning digital radio services.
New Zealand’s government owned broadcast and telecoms company, Kordia, has been operating a DAB test service in Auckland and Wellington since October 2006 with two transmitters operating in Band III. The multiplex delivers a mix of DAB and DAB+ services, including eight audio channels, slideshow and EPG. No DAB+ rollout is planned.
The government has set a switch-off date for FM broadcasting in January 2017. Some conditions have to be met for an FM shutdown to take place, other conditions will merely affect the timing of a shutdown.
- Coverage (absolute condition for FM shutdown): Before 2015, the public broadcaster NRK must achieve coverage of 99.5%, the commercial broadcasters on the national network #1 are required to reach 90% of the population
- Digital listening (condition to be met in order to shut down FM in 2017. Failiure to reach it can postpone the shutdown until 2019). Before 2015 50% of the radio listeners must daily use a digital radio platform (currently this is 45%). This does not specify market share of listening, contrary to the UK requirement, only reach. “Digital platform” also includes listening via internet and via the digital TV network. This condition is set in order to measure the listeners' independence of the analogue FM-platform.
- In-car solution (condition to be met in order to shut down FM in 2017. Failiure to reach it can postpone the shutdown until 2019). Before 2015, there must be reasonably priced, well-functioning in-car adaptors on the market. In half of all Norwegian municipalities there must be an offer of in-car DAB-adaptor installation.
After 2017, small local stations may continue to broadcast on FM. The criteria for exactly which stations will have this opportunity will be specified by 2015. The report leaves it to the broadcasters to choose between DAB or DAB+ transmissions. By 2017, all DAB broadcasting in Norway wil most probably be in DAB+ format.
There are two regular multiplexes on air in Warsaw and Katowice. In addition to the regular multiplexes, there is one trial multiplex delivering DAB+ services running in three locations in Poland: Warsaw, Kielce, Szczecin. Operated by Emitel, the trial local multiplex broadcasts four national DAB+ services, three local DAB+ services (the same in all regions) and one TPEG service is broadcast.
This year (2013), after the switch off of analogue TV, in Warsaw and Katowice, Polskie Radio is planning to start regular DAB+ transmission with 12 services - five national (Jedynka, Dwojka, Trojka, Czworka, Polish Radio External Service), two regional services (supplied by public regional radio stations, depending on region) and five new nationwide services created by Polskie Radio. The multiplex will contain solely public radio services. From end of 2013, regular DAB+ services in Warsaw and Katowice will commence. From 1 May 2014, regular DAB+ services in Gdansk, Kielce, Kraków, Wroclaw and Szczecin will commence. From 1 October 2014, regular DAB+ services in Poznan, Lodz and Opole will commence. From 1 January 2015, regular DAB+ services in Bydgoszcz, Koszalin, Olsztyn and Zielona Gora will commence. From 1 April 2015, regular DAB+ services in Bialystok, Lublin and Rzeszow will commence
Expansion of the DAB network awaits a decision by the Portuguese government. It is likely that future rollout will use DAB+ or DMB. A trial operated by RDP ran from 1999 until 2011.
There is one trial multiplex on air broadcasting a total of six DAB services from public broadcaster Radio Romania.
A decision on the DAB family of standards in Russia has not yet been made due to an issue with frequency availability. However some western manufacturers of DAB+ equipment have become interested in entering the Russian market and are willing to finance the deployment of an experimental broadcasting zone on trial.
The Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Society has announced that Serbia will switch from analogue to digital radio and television broadcasting by 2015. The Ministry of Telecommunications, the Ministry of Culture and Media, the Broadcasting Agency and the Republican Agency for Telecommunications are working on a common strategy.
MediaCorp launched the DAB service in Singapore in November 1999 and was the first broadcaster in Asia to offer DAB digital radio service. On 1 November 2011, MediaCorp announced its DAB service would cease with effect from 1 December 2011.
Listeners could continue to receive MediaCorp radio through online streaming as well as mobile phone apps alongside the FM services in Singapore. Rediffusion Singapore launched its DAB service in July 2006. It was the first country in the world to introduce subscription based DAB+ digital radio service for the mass market. In April 2012, Rediffusion Singapore announced its service was under receivership and went off-air from 1 May 2012. It’s branding and assets were brought over by Eduplus Holdings in June 2012.
There are no plans to turn on the DAB network in Singapore. Services are running via FM and online streaming.
The Post and Electronic Communications Agency of the Republic of Slovenia has set up a public debate regarding the future of digital radio.
According to the announced roadmap the national agency will publish a public tender for a digital radio network in DAB+ with a minimum of 1.1 Mbit/s bandwidth with national coverage.
Once the first multiplex is filled with radio content, tenders for additional multiplexes will be published.
Until November 2013 Slovenia’s public broadcaster, RTV Slovenia, broadcast four DAB services on a trial multiplex covering the capital city of Ljubljana and central Slovenia. About half a million people, or 22.5% of the population, were potentially able to receive DAB transmissions.
The Joint SADIBA/NAB Digital Radio DAB+ Trial Working group's application for a high–powered DAB+ trial licence has been approved. The trial licence was granted to the South African Broadcasting Corporation (the applicant on behalf of the NAB radio members) by the regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA). The trial will run from the 1st April 2014 to 31 March 2015, and Sentech will be the signal distributor for the duration of the trial.
The SADIBA/NAB Working group is encouraged by the commitment of all stakeholders in putting digital radio firmly on the South African broadcasting agenda.
The South African DAB+ trial will consist of two high power transmitting stations (10kW transmitter power) 100kW ERP situated in Johannesburg and Pretoria in the province of Gauteng. The trial will operate as a SFN in VHF band III on Channel 13F on a frequency of 239.200 MHz. This will happen after coverage verification at transmitter powers of 2kW, 5kW, and 10kW. The total area covered by the trial is 21185km2 and the total gross population covered is 10 705 387 (21.5% of total SA population). It is envisaged that between 18 and 20 radio from the Public, Commercial and Community sectors will participate in the trial. The trial will allow the testing of: End-to-end technical functionality Extent of portable mobile coverage Signal permeability Demonstrate digital radio services and value-added services Performance in the field using typical consumer equipment and professional test and measurement equipment. The effects of vehicle penetration loss, building penetration loss and clutter (e.g. buildings and vegetation) on coverage. Testing of the various encoding methods (stereo, para stereo, mono) for different audio types and at different bit rates to get a good understanding of what bit rates/encoding to use for the different program types. Investigate the delivery of PAD within these tests, synchronisation with the audio and rate of change of the images. In July 2013 over 200 radio industry representatives came together at the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC) facility in Johannesburg to attend a landmark workshop on the rollout of DAB+ digital radio and to discuss plans for a high-powered DAB+ trial transmission extending from Pretoria to Johannesburg by end 2013. The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), indicated that it stands ready to support broadcasting innovation in South Africa, which will be the first country to exploit opportunities for delivery of educational services via DAB+, as well as services for those with disabilities. Broadcasting radio via DAB+ will also allow ICASA to license new entrants where FM bandwidth is congested.
MobileTV PTY performed technical tests of DMB (Digital Multimedia Broadcasting) and DAB+ in Gauteng from August 2011 until the end of July 2013 and plans to expand trials in South Africa. The prospective broadcaster will launch trials of DMB technology in the Free State and the Western Cape before the end of the 2013. In July 2012 they applied for a commercial license and expect to get an answer during 2013. ICASA has granted test licences for Cape and Bloemfontein, while assessing new applications for Port Eliazbeth, East London and Mpumalanga. MobileTV PTY aims to switch on the trials in Cape Town and Bloemfontein on 1 October and 1 November respectively. Their two transmitters will be relocated from Pretoria and Johannesburg Autumn 2013.
MobileTV PTY ran two TV channels and one radio station on a test license. If a license is granted they would then cover 15-20 million of the 45 million people in South Africa and expand coverage in parallel to sales of devices and uptake of services. MobileTV PTY has teamed up with SABC, the public service broadcaster in South Africa. SABC reaches 76% of the population daily and is by far the biggest broadcaster and is partially financed by a TV license and partially by advertisements. MobileTV PTY is in dialogue with the Department of Education to evaluate whether the technology can be used for educational purposes, such as to reach rural schools and colleges in a cost effective manner. The Department is primarily interested in the abilities of data transfer but an educational TV channel has not been ruled out. SABC will offer their 18 radio channels. MobileTV PTY wishes to also offer distribution for private radio stations following the launch.
No programmes are on air. Mobile TV PTY is awaiting a commercial license from the government. If licences are granted they will within the first year cover up to 50% of the population of South Africa, although they aim to increase this to between 80 and 90% within 2–3 years. Their plan is to broadcast 6-10 mobile TV channels and two radio stations. Additional services that combine broadcasting and the internet on the same device will be an essential part of their business model. Such services include traffic information, gambling, integration with social media and touch-screen shopping.
As the first country to commercially launch mobile TV, South Korea is the most successful DMB market in the world. More than 62 million DMB enabled devices have been sold, of which the most popular are mobile phones. This number is expected to rise even more with an increase in coverage; services already cover over 80% of the country. Hundreds of DMB devices are available in this market and usage of mobile TV increases year on year. Interactive services are also growing in popularity adding value to broadcasting services.
The Korean government has set up a digital audio project to recommend a digital audio broadcasting standard for Korea. Following ETRI’s investigation of various digital radio platforms, a major decision is expected regarding the adoption of a digital radio technology for South Korean broadcasters.
Korea’s latest innovation is an interactive mobile TV service, or Smart DMB, launched in May 2011 with six terrestrial-DMB operators (T-DMB). With Smart DMB, mobile TV viewers are able to search the internet, receive EPG information updates, and even enjoy ‘TV Screen Capture and Share Service’ through SNS while watching television. Moreover, hybrid DMB was launched in Aug 2013 for the high quality video service.
A DAB+ trial has been on air in Seoul since December 2013.
A total of 18 DAB audio services are on air. Population coverage is currently 20%. 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
DAB transmissions in Sweden started on the 27th of September 1995 and today the coverage (MUX1) is 35% of the population with services from public service broadcaster Swedish Radio (SR). The license under which SR operates is valid until 31 December 2019.
During the years several propositions have been put forward to the Parliament suggesting a larger digital radio network roll-out for public service broadcaster SR. This is seen as the first step to a switchover from analogue FM to digital DAB/DAB+.
In 2009, trial transmissions of DAB+ started and the coverage (MUX 2) quickly reached 22% of the population with 16 services from public service radio, commercial radio and community local radio.
In 2010, the Radio and TV Act came into effect which, for the first time, allowed commercial radio companies to apply for digital licenses. This paved the way for a radio industry united behind DAB+, something for which both public and commercial services have been lobbying for. At the same time, the Swedish Government allocated spectrum for a total of four nationwide multiplexers in VHF band III to digital radio DAB/DAB+. Two multiplexers are reserved for SR and two multiplexers are reserved for commercial radio. Three of the multiplexers are regionally MFNs and one multiplexer is a nationwide SFN on channel 12B.
In 2012, the license regulator (MRTV) started the license process for commercial digital radio. All major commercial broadcasters, representing 91% of all listening not counting SR, applied for a total of 22 audio programme licenses spread over 2 commercial multiplexers.
In 2013, the Government appointed a Digital radio Industry Coordinator to put forward a Digital Switchover (DSO) plan at the latest in November 2014 after consultation with SR and the commercial radio broadcasters. The purpose of this plan is to put forward a proposition on DSO for a decision by the Swedish Parliament.
Today, January 2014, the radio industry awaits the commercial licenses to be issued (expected in Quarter 1-2014) and the Switchover Plan to be put forward by the Digital Radio Industry Coordinator appointed by the Government (expected in Quarter 2-2014).
The Federal Office of Communications awarded a radio licence to the Digris AG company for the operation of DAB+ islands throughout Switzerland.
Today there is one national (with four regional multiplexes for the four different languages) two regional and one local multiplexes, covering the German, French and Italian speaking areas of the country, with a mix of public and commercial services. In the middle of October 2012 the standard DAB was switched to the standard DAB+. Two to three programs per region will remain on simulcast service DAB/DAB+ until 2015.
The original four multiplexes are run by the public broadcaster SRG SSR, the first commercial DAB+ multiplex which was launched on 13 October 2009 now broadcasts 14 commercial radio stations in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. A second local commercial DAB+ multiplex started in December 2012 in the German speaking part with six commercial radio- and three public radio stations and a first regional commercial DAB+ multiplex in the French speaking part will start at the end of 2013.
Switzerland first launched DAB digital radio services in 1999 when the public broadcaster, SRG SSR went on air. Marketing activities started in 2006.
Taiwan (Republic of China)
The Broadcasting Corporation of China (BCC), a private network with nationwide coverage, operates three FM and three AM channels as well as a digital audio broadcasting system. In July 2010, the Government of the Republic of China announced plans for digital convergence by 2015. During the first stage of the program, from 2010 through 2012, a number of bills being formulated and sent to the legislature for review, including a radio and TV broadcast law. Taiwan has been a supporter of DAB and DAB+ broadcasting and planned for a full implementation of digital broadcasting (both TV and radio) by 2010. Lack of marketing, promotion and consumer awareness has slowed this digital expansion. The new laws being developed should set a firm timeline in place for digital conversion of all media and telecoms. DAB in Taiwan is solely operated by SuperFM on a trial basis. There are seven trial services available including one DMB.
SuperFM broadcasts multiple foreign language programmes, for example in Vietnamese, Thai and Filipino aimed at foreign nationals living in Taiwan but who are unable to listen to their home nation’s radio programmes via analogue radio.
Following the successful licence auction for commercial digital TV channels in December 2013, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission is looking to auction about 4,000 similar licences for digital radio in early 2015.
The licences would be in the nationwide and region-wide categories. There are expected to about 20 nationwide licences. The auction will be held on a phase-by-phase basis.
The NBTC's broadcasting committee will sign a memorandum of understanding with MCOT, the Public Relations Department and the Royal Thai Army at the end of January 2014 to conduct a year-long trial of digital radio broadcasting.
The digital radio service will be provided on VHF (very high frequency) bands that will be returned to the NBTC by the state agencies that own existing analog TV concessions.
The existing analog AM and FM radio frequencies will be allocated for community and public radio. There are 525 AM and FM channels nationwide.
The estimated final price of a commercial digital radio licence would be around Bt100,000. About 10 licences to provide network services to the prospective digital radio operators will also be granted.
The first Thailand Broadcasting Master Plan (2012-2016) states strategies for digital terrestrial radio roll-out, roadmap and policy for digital terrestrial radio roll-out within two years, after the adoption of the Master Plan. DAB+ demonstrations started in Bangkok on 1 March 2013. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), jointly organised the “NBTC/ITU Workshop on Digital Radio Technologies” held in Bangkok, Thailand, 1–3 March 2013. The Workshop was supported by WorldDMB, MCOT Public Co., LTd., the Government Public Relations Department, and the Royal Thai Army Radio and Television Station.
NBTC is in the process of developing a policy document for digital radio services that will be published in 2014.
TRT, the Turkish Broadcasting Corporation, has aired DAB test transmissions broadcasting four simulcast services in Band III and covering the capital, Ankara. A second transmitter was also planned for Istanbul. In 2010, neither transmitter was broadcasting thus it is assumed these trials are now complete. 
The UK radio industry is committed to a digital future for radio and is working towards a Digital Radio Switchover.
Government criteria for setting a date for digital radio switchover are:
- Digital listening share to reach 50% of all listening hours (it is now 35.6%)
- When local commercial and national DAB coverage reaches FM equivalence
- Significant progress on conversion of cars to digital radio
A Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Government the BBC and commercial operators in 2012 establishes an agreement in principle to fund the build-out of local DAB to FM equivalences over the next five years, with a commitment to consider further funding if necessary. It confirms also the Government’s commitment to a decision on radio switchover in 2013.
The BBC has committed to build-out its national networks to 97% and at least five new local multiplexes will launch in the next year. Significant signal boosts in London, Manchester, Leeds have improved coverage for thousands of households and there are more to come during 2013/14.
The DCMS Digital Radio Action Plan can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/digital-radioaction-plan
- Digital listening now 35.6%, up 14% year on year from 31.3% (Rajar Q3 2013)
- DAB is the most popular device for digital listening (65% of all digital hours) and 24 million adults have access to a DAB digital radio, up 10% year on year
- All platforms show growth in hours, with DAB up 13% year on year, online/apps up 37% and DTV up 7%
- 51% of the population tunes in via a digital platform each week, up 13% year on year
- Digital listening hours up 14% year on year from 320 million to 366 million
- The share of analogue listening in home is below 50%, at 49.7%
As of Q1 2014, 45.2% of new cars came with DAB digital radio as standard, up from 42.8% in Q4 2013.
Following the Government’s statement on digital radio at the end of 2013 it has now published a range of supporting documents here. These include a preliminary analysis of the impact of a switchover, as well as a number of documents addressing technical and communications issues.
The public broadcaster in Vietnam, VOV (the Voice of Viet Nam), trialed the DRM standard in 2005, HD-Radio in 2009 and DAB+ on July, 2013. The road map for digital broadcasting radio and television 2020 has been granted by the Prime Minister of Vietnam since 2009. The Ministry of Communication and Information got together with other broadcasters in Vietnam: VTV, VOV, VTC and TTNVN to implement the digital broadcasting scheme by 2020.
- http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/12/16/minister_kicks_dab_can_miles_down_the_road/ Ed Vaizey kicks analogue switchoff can down the road