The European Union Radio Equipment Directive (RED) 2014/53/EU has replaced the Radio and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment Directive (R&TTE). Radio and telecoms equipment compliant with the R&TTE Directive are no longer permitted on the European Union market, as the RED is now required to demonstrate compliance.
Manufacturers who wish to continue selling within EU and European Free Trade Association countries must test to the RED and re-certify if required.
The RED is applicable to all electrical and electronic devices that intentionally emit and receive radio waves at frequencies below 3000 GHz.
By definition, products subject to the RED include: “Radio equipment—an electrical or electronic product which intentionally emits and/or receives radio waves for the purpose of radio communication and/or radiodetermination, or an electrical or electronic product which must be completed with an accessory (such as an antenna) so as to intentionally emit and/or receive radio waves for the purpose of radio communication and/or radiodetermination.”
This is the first time that satellite, television, and radio broadcast receivers fall within the scope of a radio directive. Previously, such products were only required to comply with the EMC and low voltage directives. Consequently, many broadcast receiver manufacturers are finding achieving compliance to be a significant challenge.
However, there are some exceptions. The RED excludes:
- Radio equipment used exclusively for activities concerning public security—such as defense and state security
- Marine equipment that falls within the scope of Council Directive 96/98/EC
- Airborne products, parts, and appliances that fall within the scope of Article 3 of Regulation (EC) No 216/2008
- Custom-built evaluation kits designed for professionals for use at research and development facilities only
- Radio equipment assembled or modified by and used by radio amateurs
To enable complete traceability, economic operators within the supply chain must identify their suppliers and who they have supplied radio equipment to. The product must also be accompanied by instructions and manufacturer’s contact details in a language that is easily understood in the member state in which the item is being sold.
One key change is that the conformity assessment process now requires manufacturers to undertake a risk analysis and assessment. Many manufacturers are struggling to fully understand these changes, as there is no explicit description of the risk assessment process within the RED—it is instead referenced in the EU’s New Legislative Framework.
The RED also features new responsibilities for importers, which include the requirement for sample testing, investigating, and maintaining a register of complaints and product recalls, and keeping distributors informed of the monitoring process. For up to 10 years after the equipment has been available on the market, surveillance authorities have the right to request a copy of the Declaration of Conformity. It’s the importer’s responsibility to ensure this is available. The RED has also changed who is responsible for re-branded equipment within the supply chain, with importers and distributors now taking on these responsibilities.