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EETE APR 2014

Dealing with the Draft R&TE Directive By Jean-Louis Evans the radio and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment Directive (R&TTE) encompasses all products that use the radio frequency spectrum and has been the required method for manufacturers to show compliance of any radio and telecoms equipment that is sold across Europe. Following several market surveillance campaigns, the European Commission is concerned about the low level of compliance with the current requirements of the R&TTE for some categories of radio equipment. This, coupled with the huge increase in the number of mobile devices and wireless applications, has led the European Commission to publish a new “The EU draft directive introduces new responsibilities for importers with regards to sample testing of draft of the Directive. The core goals of the draft are to strengthen the level of compliance with the Directive, so that EU citizens have compliant radio equipment, as well as clarifying and simplifying the Directive. The draft Directive covers radio equipment products”. with electromagnetic waves lower than 3000 GHz, whereas previously there was a lower limit of 9kHz. Radio equipment is defined as “an electrical or electronic product, which intentionally emits and/or receives radio waves for the purpose of radio communication and/or radio determination, or an electrical or electronic product which must be completed with an accessory, such as antenna, so as to intentionally emit and/or receive radio waves for the purpose of radio communication and/or radio determination”. The suggested changes to the Directive in some instances are wide ranging. Article 5 (Registration of radio equipment within some categories) of the draft introduces the possibility to require the registration of products, that fall within categories showing low levels of compliance, in a central database, including the provision of technical documentation. It is intended that this will enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of market surveillance and therefore contribute to a higher level of compliance with the Directive. Article 10 (Obligations of manufacturers) refers to changes to the system for the declaration of Conformity. It suggests that manufacturers will now have two options within the new Directive. One is to include a copy of the full EU declaration of conformity covering all applicable Directives with each piece of radio equipment. The simplified EU declaration of conformity, previously introduced following a TCAM interpretation, is now an explicit option. This must include the internet or email address where the full EU declaration of conformity can be obtained. It must also be available in a language or languages required by the Member State in which the radio equipment is placed. The draft Directive also introduces new responsibilities for importers with regards to sample testing of products. It is not entirely clear at what point this becomes a mandatory requirement as the draft uses the words “when deemed appropriate with regard to the risks presented by radio equipment”, so this is currently quite subjective. However, to protect the health and safety of consumers, importers will be required to carry out sample testing of radio equipment made available on the market. They must also investigate and keep a register of complaints of non-conforming radio equipment and of product recalls, and keep distributors informed of such monitoring. Specific responsibilities for market surveillance authorities are defined in the draft Directive for the evaluation of compliance of radio equipment to ensure that, if considered justified, non-compliant radio equipment is withdrawn or recalled from the market. Recent proposals have also included the mandating of universal battery chargers, particularly for mobile phones. Jean-Louis Evans is Managing Director at TÜV SÜD Product Service and at its sister company, TÜV SÜD BABT, the world’s leading radio and telecommunications certification body. 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EETE APR 2014
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