Drawing on 30 years of experience we have evolved a well proven standards-making process which ensures our standards are of high quality and produced efficiently.

All our standards conform to our highly respected Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) policy, which balances the needs of standardization for public use with the rights of the owners of IPRs. 

Consensus & transparency

ETSI’s standards-making process is based on consensus – agreement between our members – and on openness. Our members decide:

  • what to standardize
  • the timing and resourcing of the task
  • the approval of the final drafts

So, the standards we produce truly respond to the needs of the ICT industry, as represented by our members.

Creating a standard

A proposal to start an item of work, such as to create a new standard or to update an existing one, must come from at least four members of ETSI and be agreed by the relevant standards group.

Who writes the standards?

  • Technical committees or other types of working groups, made up of representatives of our members and led by a ‘Rapporteur’, draft most of our standards. Our members may participate in any group and work activity (other than certain security-related work where participation is controlled by the ETSI Board). 
  • Specialist Task Forces (STFs) set up to accelerate the work where there is an urgent need. STFs are groups of technical experts who come together for a defined period to work intensively on specific items.
  • Industry Specification Groups offering an effective alternative to industry fora. They can be set up quickly to address specific technology areas.

Who approves the standards?

Depending on the document type, it will be approved by either:

  • the participants in the relevant committee or
  • the entire ETSI membership

In the case of European Standards, ETSI's National Standards Organizations give the final approval.

We provide a range of web-based approval mechanisms, to make this a highly pragmatic and visible process.

How are standards approved?

Different approval procedures are used depending upon the type of standard being created.

Technical Specifications (TS), Technical Reports (TR), Group Specifications (GS), Group Reports (GR) and Special Reports (SR)

After the Technical Committee or the Industry Specification Group has approved the draft, it submits it to the ETSI Secretariat which publishes the standard.

Description of publication process from work item creation over drafting and approval to publication of ETSI SR, GS, GR, TS, TR


ETSI Guides (EG) and ETSI Standards (ES)

These documents are approved by the full ETSI membership, using the 'Membership Approval Procedure':

  • After the Technical Committee has approved the draft, the ETSI Secretariat makes the document available to the Members.
  • Each ETSI full and associate member may vote as to whether the standard should be adopted.
  • If the vote is successful the ETSI Secretariat publishes the standard; if not, it is referred to the committee.

Description of publication process from work item creation over drafting, approval and membership approval to publication of ETSI ES and EG 

European Standards (EN)

EN Approval Procedure – most ENs follow this procedure which comprises a Public Enquiry and a weighted national Vote performed in a single process:

  • After the Technical Committee has approved the draft, the ETSI Secretariat makes the document available to the National Standards Organizations (NSOs).
  • The NSOs carry out the Public Enquiry. This involves consultation and submission of the national position (the weighted national ‘vote’) on the standard.
  • If this vote is successful, and if no substantial comments are received as a result of this consultation, the ETSI Secretariat finalizes the draft and publishes the standard.
  • Any technical comments received during Public Enquiry are considered by the Technical Committee, which may revise the draft and resubmit it to the Secretariat.
  • If the changes are significant, the Secretariat may initiate another Public Enquiry; otherwise the draft will be presented directly to a second vote.
  • After a successful vote, the Secretariat publishes the standard.

Description of publication process from work item creation over drafting, approval and EN Approval process to publication of ETSI EN


Votes are successful if at least 71% of the weighted votes cast are in favour of the draft. This applies to all types of documents, except for some Group Specifications. For European Standards the vote of each nation is weighted as agreed by the ETSI General Assembly. For other types of document, the vote of each ETSI member is weighted as agreed between the members.


The approved standard is published by the ETSI Secretariat, our permanent staff based at our headquarters. The Secretariat works closely with those drafting the document and is responsible for ensuring that the relevant procedures have been followed. This helps to guarantee the high quality of the final document.


Maintenance is an important part of the standardization process. It is how ETSI adapts its standards to evolving technology and the developing needs of the market place.

Our standards are updated as required to take account of the latest developments and revised versions are published.

Full details of the approvals process are outlined in the ETSI Directives on the ETSI Member Portal, in particular the Technical Working Procedures.

Standardization principles

ETSI standards and technical specifications are developed through processes which fulfil the following criteria


ETSI standards and technical specifications are developed on the basis of open decision-making accessible to all interested parties in the market or markets affected by those ETSI standards and technical specifications


The decision-making process is collaborative and consensus based and does not favour any particular stakeholder


  • All information concerning technical discussions and decision making is archived and identified
  • Information on new standardization activities is publicly and widely announced through suitable and accessible means
  • Participation of all relevant categories of interested parties is sought with a view to achieving balance
  • Consideration and response are given to comments by interested parties

ETSI standards and technical specifications meet the following requirements


Ongoing support and maintenance of published ETSI standards and technical specifications are guaranteed over a long period


ETSI standards and technical specifications are publicly available for implementation and use on reasonable terms (including for a reasonable fee or free of charge)


Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) technically essential to the implementation of the ETSI standards and technical specifications have to be declared in a timely manner and are licensed on (fair) reasonable and non-discriminatory terms ((F)RAND) which can be without monetary compensation


ETSI standards and technical specifications are effective and relevant

ETSI standards and technical specifications respond to market needs and/or regulatory requirements


ETSI standards and technical specifications do not significantly limit the possibilities for implementers to develop competition and innovation based upon them

ETSI standards and technical specifications are based on advanced scientific and technological developments and demonstrate improvements


The quality and level of detail are sufficient to permit the development of a variety of competing implementations of interoperable products and services

standardized interfaces are not hidden or controlled by anyone other than the organizations that adopted the ETSI standards and technical specifications