All Sections

What good is DAB+ radio in a phone and will it eat up my data allowance?

LG just announced that its Stylus 2 smartphone will be the first mobile to feature DAB+ radio support, but what are the advantages of DAB+ radio on a mobile device, is DAB+ better than internet radio, and does DAB+ use your data allowance?

You’d think that the Stylus 2 would pack in loads of creativity and productivity tools, to make full use of that stylus pen, but LG’s latest news will actually appeal to radio fans, as the Stylus 2 has full DAB+ support. Phones used to come with FM radio support built in, but this feature seems to be dying a death now, and we expect DAB+ radio will instead appear in a lot more mobiles in 2016.

Read next: Hands-on LG Stylus 2 review

So, is there any advantage to DAB+ radio support in mobile phones?

Will listening to DAB+ radio on my phone use my data?

Thankfully, no. Just like FM radio before it, DAB+ doesn’t require a connection to the internet. This means that you can merrily stream digital radio for as long as you like on your phone without using any of your data allowance.

DAB+ vs internet radio: which is best?

DAB+ radio doesn’t use any of your data allowance, and roughly 80-90 percent of the UK has DAB coverage now too, so you’d have to stray well off the beaten track to lose signal.

Conversely, internet radio constantly eats your data if you’re not connected to WiFi, although mobile coverage is slightly better in the UK, so you’re more likely to find a signal. Internet radio also has a much wider selection of stations to listen to, although a large number of them are really quite crap.

Will DAB+ catch on in mobiles?

Only time will tell. It’s nice to have the option to stream music for free, with no pressure on your data limits. However, most music streaming services like Spotify and Napster now offer the option to download as much music as you like to your mobile, for a small monthly fee. And you can also download your favourite BBC Radio mixes and shows for free (as long as you’re a license payer) using iPlayer Radio.

So, are the days of online and digital radio numbered? Doubtful, but they’re likely to be a lot less popular as people sign up for Spotify and its rivals instead. Check out our guide to the best music streaming services for your phone, and how to download music to your mobile.

The LG Stylus 2 is out in the UK soon, check back soon for our full review.