The R&TTE Directive 1999/5/EC (Radio and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment Directive) was published on March 9, 1999. It covers all apparatuses using the radio frequency spectrum and all equipment associated with public telecommunications networks, for example mobile phones and wireless devices such as Bluetooth devices, wireless network routers and car door openers.
The directive ensures safety, protection and free movement of radio and telecommunications apparatuses in the European Economic Area. It also helps to increase access to third country markets and expand the opportunities of entering large trading blocs such as the USA and China, promote regulatory convergence between Member States and ensure that research and innovation will benefit the sector. The directive does not apply to radio equipment, kits of components to be assembled by radio amateurs, equipment covered by the 96/98/EC Directive on marine equipment, 93/65/EEC Directive on civil aviation, cabling and wiring, equipment designed to only receive sound, TV broadcasting services, and air traffic management systems.
EU Directives which may apply to radio and telecommunications equipment are the Low Voltage Directive 2006/95/EC and the Electromagnetic Compatibility Directive 2004/108/EC.
In order to ensure that a radio and telecommunications apparatus complies with the R&TTE Directive, the following steps must be taken:
- Classification of the apparatus – this includes making sure that the R&TTE Directive is applicable to the apparatus and identifies the relevant laws and requirements applicable to the apparatus
- Create technical file and conduct a compliance test
- Identification of EU harmonized standards applicable to the apparatus
- Notify the product to Competent Authorities if required (see article 31 of the directive)
- Preparation of an “EC Declaration of Conformity”
- Appoint a European Authorized Representative – the R&TTE Directive requires an EU representative for non-European manufacturers of radio and telecommunications apparatuses who wish to sell within the European Economic Area. An E.A.R. is responsible for keeping the equipment information available for the relevant competent authority. It is also the primary contact for EU authorities.
Requirements according to the directive are as follows:
- Protection of the health and safety of the user, including meeting requirements in the LVD 2006/95/EC and EMC 2004/108/EC Directives
- The effective use of the spectrum allocated to the device so as not to cause harmful interference
- The European Commission may also require that the apparatus interworks with other apparatuses, does not harm the network, ensures that the personal data of the user is protected and avoids fraud, allows access to emergency services and can be operated by disabled users
The apparatus shall only need to be notified to the relevant body of the Member State if it uses frequencies that are not harmonized in the EU (see Article 31 of the Directive).
Placing on the market
The apparatus should only be placed in the European Economic Area if it complies with the essential requirements of the directive. Then, the Member States shall not restrict the placing onto the market or putting into service the apparatus.
For non-EU manufacturers: Appoint a European Authorized Representative established within the European Community.
The directive portrays European Law enforced within the European Economic Area (EEA); non-compliance with the directive’s requirements will result in the removal of the apparatus from the market and the revoking of the CE marking affixed on the apparatus.