Business and enterprise – guidance

Radio and telecommunications terminal equipment

Responsibilities and rights of manufacturers under the Radio and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment Regulations.

Introduction

Manufacturers of radio and telecommunications terminal equipment (RTTE) must ensure their products comply with the Radio and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment Regulations 2000 (as amended).

The RTTE Regulations implement EU Directive 99/5/EC into UK law, and aim to ensure that relevant products meet certain minimum essential requirements concerning health and safety, electromagnetic interference and radio spectrum matters.

This guide covers all the main points of the regulations, including definitions of RTTE equipment that is covered, what a manufacturer’s role is, safety requirements involved and methods of compliance.

Equipment that is covered by the RTTE Regulations

All RTTE sold in Europe is within the scope of the RTTE Regulations, except the following:

  • radio equipment used by radio amateurs, unless it is commercially available - radio amateurs are considered qualified in radio communications, and it is a condition of their licence that they will not cause interference to others (kits of components sold for assembly by radio amateurs are not regarded as ‘commercially available, ie they are not sold to the general public,so they do not have to meet the provisions of the regulations)
  • receive-only radio equipment intended to be used solely for the reception of sound and television broadcasting services
  • certain kinds of marine equipment covered by Directive 96/98/EC - this covers Safety of Life at Sea equipment on vessels above a certain tonnage (radio equipment on smaller vessels falls under the Regulations) and additional essential requirements have been imposed on marine radio equipment used for safety purposes
  • radio equipment falling under Council Regulation (EC) No 3922/91 on harmonisation in the field of civil aviation
  • air traffic management equipment and systems falling under Directive 93/65/EC
  • cabling and wiring

Some RTTE, for example mobile telephones, counts as both radio equipment and telecommunications terminal equipment.

Radar

It has been established that radar is covered under the regulations as it provides a form of communication. However, although radar is covered by the regulations this does not rule out the possibility of additional regulation.

Conformity assessment procedures under the RTTE Regulations

Manufacturers have the choice of the following conformity assessment routes under the RTTE Regulations:

Internal production control

This is available for telecommunications terminal equipment (TTE) and receiving parts of radio equipment. Under this, it is the responsibility of the manufacturer to:

  • assess their product against the requirements of the Regulations
  • put together the technical documentation
  • declare that the equipment complies with essential requirements

Harmonised standards may be used, and where they are used they give the presumption of conformity - you can find a summary list of titles and references to relevant harmonised standards on the Europa website.

Internal production control plus specific apparatus tests

This is available for radio equipment only. Following this route, the manufacturer applies an applicable harmonised standard as above. If this harmonised standard does not contain the essential radio test suites, the manufacturer needs to consult a Notified Body. You can download a list of UK Notified Bodies (PDF, 107K).

It is then the responsibility of the manufacturer to:

  • have the identified radio suites carried out,
  • put together the technical documentation
  • declare that the equipment complies with essential requirements

The technical construction file route

This is available for both radio equipment and TTE. Under this, the manufacturer presents a technical construction file (TCF) to a Notified Body with regard to radio equipment. In addition, for radio equipment the file must contain the results of the essential radio suite agreed previously with a Notified Body. The Notified Body then has four weeks to issue an opinion.

The full quality assurance route

This is available for both radio equipment and TTE.

Following this route, the manufacturer must operate an approved quality system for design, manufacture, final product inspection and testing which has been assessed by a Notified Body with regard to radio equipment.

Your responsibilities as a manufacturer of radio and telecommunications terminal equipment

The essential requirements of the RTTE Regulations cover the health and safety of the user and others, electromagnetic compatibility and effective use of the radio spectrum. Additional essential requirements may apply to certain types of equipment.

Harmonised standards specify how the essential requirements can be met - you can find a summary list of titles and references to relevant harmonised standards on the Europa website.

Information to display on or provide with the equipment

When placed on the market, the following information must be prominently displayed on or accompanying the apparatus:

  • information for the user on the intended use of the apparatus, together with the declaration of conformity to the essential requirements
  • for radio equipment, sufficient information to identify the member state or geographical area where it is intended to be used and the alert symbol if appropriate
  • for telecommunications terminal equipment, the interfaces of public networks with which it should be connected
  • the type identification of the product
  • the batch and/or serial number
  • the name of the manufacturer

CE marking

CE marking is a visible declaration by you or your authorised representative that the equipment satisfies all the provisions of the RTTE Regulations. Equipment bearing the mark will be taken as meeting the requirements and thereby entitled to free circulation throughout the European Economic Area (EEA), provided that the equipment does in fact satisfy those requirements.

CE marking should be affixed to the RTTE or, where not possible, to the packaging, the instruction sheet, or the guarantee certificate. You may decide for practical reasons to affix it to both the product and its packaging. The mark must be visible, easily legible and in an indelible form.

By affixing CE marking to RTTE, you are making a statement that in your view the equipment meets the requirements of all relevant Directives. It does not mean that the equipment cannot be challenged by an enforcement authority if they have reasonable grounds for suspecting an infringement of the regulations.

CE marking is not a European safety mark or quality symbol intended for consumers. Its purpose is to indicate to enforcement authorities that the equipment is intended for sale in the EEA.

Spectrum usage notification

If you sell radio equipment that uses frequencies where the usage is not harmonised throughout Europe - which is the case with most radio equipment - you need to notify the Spectrum Usage Authority in each European country where you intend to market the product.

If your equipment is in this class, you will need to use the services of a Notified Body to demonstrate compliance, either by submitting your technical construction file or by using the full quality assurance route. For more information, see the page in this guide on ‘Conformity assessment procedures under the RTTE Regulations’.

The notifications should be made as soon as possible, and at least four weeks before the launch of the product in that country.

For more information see the guide on CE marking.

Further information

Download RTTE frequently asked questions (PDF, 83K)

Harmonised standards information on the Europa website

Download a UK Notified Bodies list (PDF, 107K)