This CE marking directive was introduced in 1999, replacing the interim directive 98/13/EC, which in turn consolidated the requirements of the Telecommunications Terminal Equipment and Satellite Earth Station Equipment Directives. This has led to a conformity assessment regime based on manufacturers' declarations, rather than independent tests. The new Directive came fully into force in April 2000 and now covers all radio communication equipment, apart from certain specific exclusions.
It is important to note that equipment within the scope of this Directive must meet the essential requirements of both the Low Voltage Directive and the Electromagnetic Compatibility Directive. The Directive also requires equipment to be constructed for efficient use of the radio spectrum, and to avoid interference with terrestrial and orbital communications. Additional requirements are made for certain classes of equipment.
There are a number of possible ways in which manufacturers can ensure that their product complies. If harmonized standards exist for the equipment, they may self-declare. If these do not exist, the manufacturer will have to involve a notified body to assess the ability of the equipment to meet the essential requirements of the Directive before self certification can take place. The CE logo is used on the product to indicate it complies with the Directive. Additionally, equipment which uses a non-harmonized frequency band needs to be marked with an exclamation mark to warn that its use may not be legal in every member state.
The original Telecommunications Terminal Equipment(TTE) Directive was enacted in 1991 and was intended to bring about a liberalisation of the market for telephone equipment within the EU over the following years. In 1993, an additional Directive concerning Satellite Earth Station Equipment (SESE) was issued. Essentially, this Directive laid out almost identical requirements for SESE as already existed for TTE. In 1998, the two Directives were consolidated into one, 98/13/EC, but even at that time this was seen as only an interim measure, the European Commission already having expressed its dissatisfaction with the speed at which the EU market for telecoms apparatus was being opened up. Among the issues which concerned the Commission were that the rate at which the technology was changing outstripped the ability of the regulatory framework, and in particular the standards development effort, to cope, and that certain countries within the EU were still not removing barriers to trade (such as approval and licensing requirements) as the original Directive had intended.
In March 1999, therefore, a new directive, 99/5/EC was agreed. This makes some significant differences to the standards and approvals requirements for this type of apparatus which pertained under the old Directives. In particular, the new Directive now covers all radio communication apparatus (taking this out of the scope of the EMC directive) and there is to be a simplified conformity assessment regime based on manufacturer's declarations rather than on independent tests.
The objective is to provide an open market for telecoms apparatus and permit equipment which has been approved for use in one EEA country to be sold without further restriction in any other. By mandating the application of common technical requirements for apparatus within the EU, even where these are not necessarily Harmonised Standards, the Directive aims to ensure compatibility between all apparatus such that it can be used in any member state without loss of performance or danger to the user or to public communication facilities.
The original TTE Directive came into force on 6 November 1992, followed by the SESE Directive which came fully into force on 1 May 1995. The new R&TTE Directive 99/5/EC came fully into force on 7 April 2000.
The Directive applies to ” radio equipment” and to “Telecommunications Terminal Equipment”. TTE is equipment that can be connected directly or indirectly to the public telecommunications network. The method of connection can be by wire, optical fibre, radio or any other electromagnetic means.
The Directive includes provisions that apply to equipment which is capable of being connected to a public telecommunications network even if that is not its intended purpose.
Examples of equipment which are included within the scope of the Directive are mobile radio transceivers, telephones, fax machines, private exchanges (PABX), modems, terminal adapters and extension bells. Cordless and mobile 'phones are included as are satellite transceivers.
It is also important to realise that equipment which is within the scope of this Directive may also fall within the scope of other Directives (in particular the Medical Devices directives) and the requirements of these directives must also be met if appropriate.
Certain equipment is specifically excluded from the Directive. These are:
• Equipment for police, military and state-security purposes
• Radio equipment for radio amateurs, unless it is commercially available
• Equipment within the scope of directive 96/98/EC on Marine Equipment
• Cables and wiring
• Receive-only equipment intended solely for the reception of sound and TV broadcasts
• Certain apparatus for civil aviation and air traffic management
The Directive has significantly simplified Essential requirements to those contained in its predecessors, leaving the details of interpretation to the Harmonised Standards and to common technical regulations.
The basic essential requirements are that the apparatus meets the essential requirements of both the Low Voltage Directive (but without limit of voltage) and the EMC Directive. In addition, radio equipment must be constructed for efficient use of the radio spectrum and to avoid interference with terrestrial and orbital communications.
For certain equipment classes, the Commission can also introduce additional requirements to:
• ensure network compatibility
• prevent harm to and misuse of network resources
• protect user privacy and the security of data
• prevent fraud
• provide access for the emergency services
• facilitate the use of equipment by disabled users.
The Directives provide for a number of different routes for the administrative requirements of the Directive. For apparatus for which a harmonised standard exists, for those parts of apparatus concerned only with receiving and for apparatus which transmits outside of the spectrum allocated for terrestrial and space communications, all that is required is that the manufacturer confirms by self-declaration that they meet the requirements of the harmonised standards which apply.
For apparatus for which no harmonised standard exists, manufacturers still have to involve a notified body in assessing the ability of the equipment to meet the essential requirements of the Directive, but this can be done on the basis of a technical justification rather than on the basis of full testing if the manufacturer chooses. Again, the manufacturer then self-declares that the equipment meets the essential requirements of the Directive, and puts the CE logo on the apparatus accordingly.
Unlike the old TTE Directive, there is no specific logo for compliance with this 99/5/EC, and the 'crossed hockey sticks' logo which was used on CE marked TTE under the old directive will eventually disappear. However, there is a requirement to mark equipment which uses a non-harmonised frequency band with an exclamation mark logo to warn the user that it may not be legal to use it in every member state.
The UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has a page on the directive with lots of useful information and links, including links to the full text of the Directive, the UK legislation and contact details for the BERR's Technical Advice and Policy Committee.
The European Commission also have a special section on the Directive on their EUROPA server.
For assistance and advice on CE marking for radio and telephone equipment, please contact us at Conformance.