Dealing with New European Radio Equipment Directive
In the last edition of Telecommunications Essentials (E-ssentials 2/2016) we reminded you of the then impending deadline (13th June 2016) when the new European Union (EU) Radio Equipment Directive (RED) 2014/53/EU would replace the Radio and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment Directive (R&TTE), introducing clearer obligations for economic operators (manufacturer, importer, distributor, authorized representative).
With the world going wireless, radio equipment covers an ever growing variety of products, driven by the growth of mobile devices and wearable applications aiming to provide connectivity to the consumer market.
Source: Cisco Visual Networking Index
As both the requirements and the number of products that fall under the RED have changed, so many economic operators are finding achieving compliance to be a significant challenge.
What is the RED?
The RED is applicable to all electrical and electronic devices that intentionally emit and receive radio waves at frequencies below 3000 GHz. And, for the first time, broadcast radio and TV receivers, fall within its scope.
The RED requires compliance with essential requirements associated with health and safety, electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and the effective and efficient use of the radio spectrum. As with other EU directives, the RED relies on harmonised standards for specific technical requirements, and compliance with these provides a presumption of conformity with the Directive’s essential requirements.
The RED excludes equipment that is: “radio equipment exclusively used for activities concerning public security, defence, State security, including the economic wellbeing of the State in the case of activities pertaining to State security matters, and the activities of the State in the area of criminal law.”
Marine equipment that falls within the scope of Council Directive 96/98/EC is also excluded, as are airborne products, parts and appliances falling within the scope of Article 3 of Regulation (EC) No 216/2008, and custom-built evaluation kits designed for professionals to be used solely at R&D facilities. Another exclusion is radio equipment assembled or modified by and used by radio amateurs.
While the RED will become the required method to show compliance of radio and telecoms equipment sold across the Europe Union, equipment compliant with the current R&TTE Directive may continue to be placed on the market until 13th June 2017.
To enable full traceability, every economic operator within the supply chain must identify who has supplied them and to whom they have supplied radio equipment.
There are also two new options for the Declaration of Conformity (DoC):
1. Include a copy of the full DoC covering all applicable Directives with each piece of radio equipment. 2. Include a simplified DoC, which must include the exact website address where the full version can be obtained.
The RED states that the product must be accompanied by instructions in a language which can be easily understood, as determined by the Member State in which the product is being sold. It also requires that the manufacturer’s contact details are in a language easily understood by end-users and market surveillance authorities. For the first time a manufacturer must undertake a safety assessment that takes into account the reasonably foreseeable use, not just the intended use as outlined in the equipment’s instructions.
New responsibilities for importers have now been introduced as they are required to carry out sample testing of radio equipment being sold, as well as investigate and maintain a register of complaints and product recalls, keeping distributors informed of such monitoring.
Importers are required to keep a copy of the DoC 10 years after the radio equipment has first been placed on the market, as the market surveillance authorities have a right to request a copy during that period of time.
The RED introduces new rules regarding re-branded radio equipment, as importers and distributors now take on the responsibilities as if they were the manufacturer where radio equipment is supplied under their own name or trade mark.
The RED’s Essential Requirements also state that: “radio equipment interworks with accessories, in particular with common chargers”, supporting the European Commission’s push for portable devices to be compatible with a single charger.
Another significant change is that Telecommunication Terminal Equipment (TTE) i.e. fixed line terminal equipment, now sits outside the scope of the RED and is instead covered by the EMC and Low Voltage Directives.
How can TÜV SÜD help you?
TÜV SÜD BABT is one of the world’s leading independent certification bodies for telecommunications and certifies wireless products for the European Union, USA, Canada and Japan. As an EU Notified Body, TÜV SÜD BABT is authorised to evaluate products for compliance with the requirements of the RED and approve the use of the CE Mark.
TÜV SÜD also offers a Global Market Access (GMA) service, which helps you to manage the challenge of product compliance against diverse national requirements. We can deliver one-stop compliance solutions for most wireless communications products, helping you to meet the requirements of Europe’s new RED, as well as streamline exports to other markets worldwide, including:
USA – Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
Canada – Industry Canada
Japan - Japanese Radio Approval Conformity
We offer a range of services to assist manufacturers and their agents to gain access to multiple global markets, including:
Testing – As TÜV SÜD is accredited for radio and telecommunications testing, we can conduct testing and assessments of radio equipment in our fully accredited laboratories or at your own site.
Documentation – We can review the content of your product documentation and advise of any changes necessary to ensure compliance with country-specific requirements, such as Declarations of Conformity and the application of CE marking to your product for the European RED.
Regulations – TÜV SÜD technical experts keep up-to-date on worldwide regulations and standards applicable to radio and telecommunications equipment, and participate in a number of key industry groups and trade organisations. We can advise which standards and directives are applicable to your product in every country.
Extended support – We can offer support in complying with certification requirements in conjunction with other regulations and standards applicable to radio equipment and devices.