R&TTE Questions & Answers

THIS ARTICLE IS CURRENTLY BEING REVIEWED - in the meantime please refer to Radio Equipment Directive (RED).

Overview

This page attempts to answer the questions most frequently received by ETSI regarding the application of the European R&TTE Directive.

 

Q1. What is the R&TTE Directive?

A. Directive 1999/5/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 1999 on radio equipment and telecommunications equipment and the mutual recognition of their conformity, better known as the R&TTE Directive. It was published in the Official Journal of the European Communities on 7 April 1999.

The R&TTE Directive covers all radio equipment and all equipment intended to be connected to public telecommunications networks. It establishes a regulatory framework for the placing on the market, free movement and putting into service. The Directive includes provisions for:

  • Marketing of equipment: Equipment may be placed on the market if it meets essential requirements. ETSI develops Harmonised Standards which allow a manufacturer to declare compliance. If equipment meets a Harmonised Standard, Member States are required to presume compliance and allow the product to be marketed without further restriction.
  • Information on the use of radio frequencies: Radio frequencies are managed on a national basis. Equipment which uses harmonised frequencies may be used without restriction - in other cases national restrictions may apply. When national restrictions do apply, manufacturers are required to indicate this to their customer and inform the relevant Member State four weeks before placing the equipment on the market. ETSI contributes to the process for harmonizing radio frequency use.
  • Telecommunications interfaces: Network operators are required to declare interfaces in sufficient detail to allow manufacturers to build terminal equipment to use network services. ETSI provides guidance on the declaration of interfaces.

The above introduction is a paraphrase of the requirements. Please see the web site of the European Commission for more complete information.

 Q2. How do I show conformity? What are Harmonised Standards?

A. Equipment which meets 'essential requirements' may be freely marketed in the European Union. Harmonised Standards provide technical requirements associated with the Essential Requirements of the Directive. The Directive requires member states to presume compliance with the Directive, and therefore to allow the marketing of the equipment without impediment, when Harmonised Standards are used.

To have this legal effect, the references of the Harmonised Standards are cited in the Official Journal of the European Union. The list of applicable standards is available from the website of the European Commission. ETSI standards can be downloaded free of charge from ETSI.

The Official Journal listing is arranged in five columns as shown in the fictitious example below. In this example, Member States are required to presume the conformity of radio equipment which meets EN XXX XXX with article 3.2. The equipment also has to meet essential requirements 3.1a) (safety) and 3.1b) (electromagnetic compatibility), and possibly article 3.3 requirements if they have been invoked (see Q4. Which essential requirements apply to my equipment?).

NB: check the Scope of the standard carefully to ensure that it covers your equipment.

 European standardization organization Reference and title of the standard (Reference document)Reference of the superseded standardDate of cessation of presumption of conformity of the superseded standardArt. 1999/5/EC
ETSI EN XXX XXX V1.1.1
Harmonised standard for an example radio equipment
 
    Art 3.2

Within ETSI, Harmonised Standards are produced by the technical committee responsible for the product, under the co-ordination of the R&TTE Steering Committee.

 Q3. What are the Essential Requirements?

A. The R&TTE Directive requires equipment to meet certain essential requirements before it is placed on the market in the European Union (EU). Compliant equipment may be freely marketed anywhere in the EU (although there may be restrictions on the use of radio frequencies). The essential requirements are described in qualitative terms. Harmonised Standards define technical characteristics which can be used to demonstrate that equipment meets the essential requirements of the Directive and thus be marketed freely within the EU.

The essential requirements of the R&TTE Directive are:

  • protection of health and safety of the user and any other person, based on the protection requirements of the Low Voltage Directive 73/23/EEC (article 3.1a of the R&TTE Directive)
    • Directive 73/23/EEC is currently under review
    • Harmonised Standards for Safety are developed by CENELEC, with assistance from ETSI
  • the essential requirements of the Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Directive 2004/108/EC (which supersedes the earlier EMC Directive 89/336/EEC) (article 3.1b)
    • Harmonised EMC requirements are produced by ETSI and CENELEC under a work-repartition agreement. ETSI develops harmonised EMC standards for radio equipment; CENELEC for non-radio terminal equipment and IT equipment
  • effective use of the radio spectrum/orbital resource so as to avoid harmful interference (article 3.2).

The Commission may invoke certain other requirements for particular classes of equipment. These may be related to: correct interworking with the network (article 3.3a), avoidance of harm to the network (article 3.3b), protection of personal data and privacy (article 3.3c), avoidance of fraud (article 3.3d), ensuring access to emergency services (article 3.3e) and to facilitate use by users with a disability (article 3.3f).

 

Q4. Which essential requirements apply to my equipment?

A.

  • Articles 3.1a (safety) and 3.1b (Electromagnetic Compatibility) apply to all radio equipment and telecommunication equipment
  • Article 3.2 (effective use of the spectrum / orbital resource to avoid harmful interference) applies to all radio equipment
  • Article 3.3 (other requirements) may be applied if invoked by a European Commission Decision. To date, the Commission has only invoked article 3.3e (access to emergency services) in respect of avalanche beacons, personal locator beacons and certain maritime safety equipment. These articles are invoked by specific Commission Decisions. For details of these Decisions, see the web site of the European Commission.

The list of Harmonised Standards currently in force is available from the European Commission.

 

Q5. What if there is a new version of a Harmonised Standard?

A. Each row in the Official Journal listing indicates a standard which may be used to indicate presumption of conformity with the Directive. When a new version of the standard appears, the old version may still be used for a certain period of time (the transition period). After that period it will disappear from the table, and equipment will no longer benefit from presumption of conformity on the basis of compliance with the old version.

In the example below, the latest version of the standard is version 1.3.1. Version 1.3.1 supersedes version 1.2.1, but version 1.2.1 can still be used as an alternative until 30.06.2007. Version 1.2.1 in turn superseded version 1.1.1. Version 1.1.1 can no longer be used to benefit from presumption of conformity, as the transition period expired on 31.01.2000.

European standardization organization  Reference and title of the standard (Reference document) Reference of the superseded standard Date of cessation of presumption of conformity of the superseded standard Art. 1999/5/EC
ETSI

EN XXX XXX V1.2.1
Harmonised standard for an example radio equipment

EN XXX XXX v 1.1.1 Date expired (31.01.2000) Art 3.2
ETSI

EN XXX XXX V1.3.1
Harmonised standard for an example radio equipment

EN XXX XXX v 1.2.1 30.06.2007 Art 3.2

 
Q6. What if more than one Harmonised Standard applies?

A. This frequently happens when radio equipment can be installed as an option into equipment which can also be marketed without the radio module, or when different radio devices are combined into a single product.

ETSI has published Technical Report TR 102 070, a guide to the application of Harmonised Standards to multi-radio and combined radio and non-radio equipment. This document is available free of charge.

 Q7. What if there are no applicable Harmonised Standards?

A. The manufacturer may always use an alternative route to show compliance, for example the submission of a technical file to a Notified Body. A Notified Body is a certification, inspection or testing organization designated by a EU Member State to perform the Attestation of Conformity of products within the scope of a New Approach Directive.

It is certainly possible to initiate a new Harmonised Standard.

 Q8. How can I create a new Harmonised Standard or modify an existing one?

A. Harmonised Standards are developed under a mandate from the European Commission. If an ETSI technical committee identifies a need, it creates an ETSI work item under normal procedures (which requires the support of at least four ETSI members). The ETSI Secretariat reports the new work item to the European Commission, which identifies whether the work is covered under an existing mandate, or whether a new mandate needs to be developed.

If you are an ETSI member you should approach the relevant ETSI technical committee. If you are not a member, please contact the ETSI Secretariat and we can arrange a discussion with the chairman of the relevant technical committee. To take part in the work, however, you will need be a member of ETSI.

The ETSI Operational Co-ordination Group (see details on the ETSI Portal) has set up a Steering Committee to co-ordinate ETSI activity regarding the R&TTE and EMC Directives.

The Steering Committee has developed ETSI Guide EG 201 399 to assist ETSI technical committees that are developing Harmonised Standards under the R&TTE Directive. It explains the mechanism of the R&TTE Directive and gives guidance about which technical characteristics should be considered in different circumstances. Its objective is to ensure a uniform technical understanding of the essential requirements within ETSI.

 Q9. How does this fit with national radio frequency regulations?

A. Equipment compliant with essential requirements may be marketed. However, the use of radio equipment is governed by National Radio Regulations.

The R&TTE Directive does not harmonize radio spectrum use. Article 7.2 of the Directive allows Member states to restrict the putting into service of radio equipment, but only for reasons related to the effective and appropriate use of the radio spectrum, avoidance of harmful interference or matters related to public health. Article 4.1 obliges Member States to publish such radio interface regulations.

The European Commission may require national radio regulations to be harmonised under the terms of the Commission's Radio Spectrum Decision, 676/2002/EC.

Commission Decision 2000/299/EC defines how equipment is classified according to its use of radio spectrum. It defines two equipment classes as follows:

  • Class 1, which can be placed on the market and taken into service throughout the Community
  • Class 2, to which some Member States apply restrictions and which is required to carry an 'alert symbol'.

Another page on this website contains more information on the availability of radio frequencies in Europe.

 Q10. Operators have to declare Network Interfaces. How does this work?

A. The Public Telecommunications Network Operators are requested under article 4.2 of the R&TTE Directive to publish all the technical details of their publicly offered interfaces for telecommunications terminal equipment. A European Commission web page gives guidance about this to member states, national regulatory authorities, network operators and terminal manufacturers. ETSI has produced guidelines for the specification of network interfaces under article 4.2 of the Directive. Most of those guidelines now form a single set of documents (ETSI Guide EG 201 730 series):

  • generic guidelines covering general and common aspects, EG 201 730-1
  • analogue narrow band wire-line interfaces, EG 201 730-2 (update of TR 101 730)
  • digital wire-line interfaces, EG 201 730-3 (update of TR 101 731)
  • broadband multimedia cable network interfaces, EG 201 730-4 (update of TR 101 857)
  • guidelines for describing radio access interfaces, EG 201 838
  • RF Interfaces applied by Fixed Service Systems including Fixed Wireless Access (FWA), ETSI Technical Report TR 101 845.

 Q11. Does ETSI approve equipment? How do I know if equipment complies?

No. ETSI is not an approval authority, and does not certify conformant equipment.

Manufacturers have the responsibility of making a Declaration of Conformity, which has to be provided for the user, and supplied with the equipment in a summarized form. This Declaration of Conformity has to indicate the standards that have been applied to establish conformity.

The manufacturer is also required to label the equipment with the 'CE' mark to indicate compliance, plus certain other marks in specific cases.

Standards

The following is a list of the latest published ETSI standards on Radio Equipment guidelines.

A full list of related standards in the public domain is accessible via the ETSI standards search. Via this interface you can also subscribe for alerts on updates of ETSI standards.

For work in progress see the ETSI Work Programme on the Portal.

Standard No. Standard title.
EG 203 336 Electromagnetic compatibility and Radio spectrum Matters (ERM); Guide for the selection of technical parameters for the production of Harmonised Standards covering article 3.1(b) and article 3.2 of Directive 2014/53/EU
EG 201 399 Electromagnetic compatibility and Radio spectrum Matters (ERM); A guide to the production of Harmonized Standards for application under the Radio & Telecommunication Terminal Equipment Directive 1999/5/EC (R&TTE) and a first guide on the impact of the Radio Equipment Directive 2014/53/EU (RED) on Harmonized Standards
EG 201 399 Electromagnetic compatibility and Radio spectrum Matters (ERM); A guide to the production of Harmonized Standards for application under the R&TTE Directive
EG 201 730-2 Terminals' access to Public Telecommunications Networks; Application of the Directive 1999/5/EC (R&TTE), article 4.2; Guidelines for the publication of interface specifications; Part 2: Analogue narrow-band wireline interfaces
EG 201 730-3 Terminals' access to Public Telecommunications Networks; Application of the Directive 1999/5/EC (R&TTE), article 4.2; Guidelines for the publication of interface specifications; Part 3: Digital wireline interfaces
EG 201 730-4 Terminals' access to Public Telecommunications Networks; Application of the Directive 1999/5/EC (R&TTE), article 4.2; Guidelines for the publication of interface specifications; Part 4: Broadband multimedia cable network interfaces
EG 201 730-2 Terminals' access to Public Telecommunications Networks; Application of the Directive 1999/5/EC (R&TTE), article 4.2; Guidelines for the publication of interface specifications; Part 2: Analogue narrow-band wireline interfaces
EG 201 730-1 Terminals' access to Public Telecommunications Networks; Application of the Directive 1999/5/EC (R&TTE), article 4.2; Guidelines for the publication of interface specifications; Part 1: General and common aspects
EG 201 730-1 Terminals' access to Public Telecommunications Networks; Application of the Directive 1999/5/EC (R&TTE), article 4.2; Guidelines for the publication of interface specifications; Part 1: General and common aspects
EG 201 399 Electromagnetic compatibility and Radio spectrum Matters (ERM); A guide to the production of candidate Harmonized Standards for application under the R&TTE Directive
EG 201 730-1 Access and Terminals (AT); Access to the public telecommunications networks; Publication of interface specification under Directive 1999/5/EC (R&TTE); Guidelines for the publication of interface specifications; Part 1: General and common aspects
EG 201 730-1 Access and Terminals (AT); Access to the public telecommunications networks; Publication of interface specification under Directive 1999/5/EC (R&TTE); Guidelines for the publication of interface specifications; Part 1: General and common aspects
TR 102 070-1 Electromagnetic compatibility and Radio spectrum Matters (ERM); Guide to the application of harmonized standards to multi-radio and combined radio and non-radio equipment; Part 1: ElectroMagnetic Compatibility
EG 201 399 Electromagnetic compatibility and Radio spectrum Matters (ERM); A guide to the production of candidate Harmonized Standards for application under the R&TTE Directive
TR 102 070-2 Electromagnetic compatibility and Radio spectrum Matters (ERM); Guide to the application of harmonized standards to multi-radio and combined radio and non-radio equipment; Part 2: Effective use of the radio frequency spectrum
TR 102 070-1 Electromagnetic compatibility and Radio spectrum Matters (ERM); Guide to the application of harmonized standards to multi-radio and combined radio and non-radio equipment; Part 1: ElectroMagnetic Compatibility
TR 101 857 Access and Terminals (AT); Broadband access to the Public Telecommunications Network; Publication of interface specification under Directive 1999/5/EC, art. 4.2; Guidelines for describing Multimedia Cable Network Interfaces
EG 201 838 ElectroMagnetic Compatibility and Radio Spectrum Matters (ERM); Publication of interface specifications under Directive 1999/5/EC; Guidelines for describing radio access interfaces
EG 201 399 A guide to the production of Harmonized standards for application under the R&TTE Directive