Network Equipment for 5G - Technical and Operational Requirements

Network Equipment for 5G - Technical and Operational Requirements

The compliance assessment and the approval of products for telecommunications is carried out based on the analysis of technical and operational requirements, which demonstrate the credibility, reliability, quality and safety to users of the equipment used by the telecommunications service providers. The emergence of fifth generation (5G) mobile networks makes it essential to provide technical procedures that ensure specifications for the use and certification of equipment involved in the infrastructure of this new technology. 

According to the General Telecommunications Law (Law No. 9,472/1997 - “LGT”), ANATEL is responsible for issuing norms and standards to be met by the telecommunications service providers regarding the equipment they use and dispatch or recognizing the product certification, observing such guidelines established by the Agency. In addition, the use of radio-frequency emitting equipment (range of the electromagnetic spectrum from 8.3 kHz to 3000 GHz, where radiocommunication is possible) is prohibited without certification issued or accepted by ANATEL.

On the other hand, in accordance with the Regulations for Compliance Assessment and Approval of Telecommunication Products, approved by Resolution No. 715/2019, the approval is a mandatory prerequisite for the use and commercialization of telecommunication products in Brazil. Therefore, through the certification and approval of telecommunication equipment, it is possible to ensure to the consumer that such products respect quality and safety standards and technical features regulated by ANATEL. 

The list of technical requirements and test procedures applicable to telecommunication products are divided into three (3) categories: (I) Category I: Terminal equipment intended for use by the general public; (II) Category II: Products not included in category I, but which make use of the radioelectric spectrum for signal transmission; and (III) Category III: Products not included in the definitions of categories I and II, whose regulation is necessary to ensure interoperability, reliability of networks and Electromagnetic Compatibility. 

However, with regard to the implementation of fifth generation (5G) mobile networks, there are no pre-existing and determined minimum quality, security and interoperability requirements. Taking into account the importance of technology for the development of telecommunications and the spread of services - such as industry 4.0, intelligent transport systems and smart cities -, it is extremely important to establish a minimum set of technical requirements for the certification of equipment with 5G technology.

In this regard, with the support of the GT 5G ERB and GT 5G EM working group, and based on the standards of the 3rd Generation Partnership Program (internationally used in the evaluation and certification of 5G equipment), the Public Consultations No. 6/2020, No. 11/2020 and No. 12/2020 of ANATEL, concluded on May 2, 2020, intended to establish, respectively, the minimum technical requirements for compliance assessment and certification of equipment with 5G technology with ANATEL of Transceiver for Radio Base Station; Mobile Phone; and Terminal Access Station - ETA, when operating in the frequency range from 450 MHz to 6,000 MHz. 

The aforementioned Public Consultations gave rise to Acts No. 3,151/2020, 3,152/2020 and 3,153/2020, published on June 12 by the ANATEL’s Superintendence of Grants and Resources for Provision (SOR), which effectively updated the technical requirements that will allow the certification and commercialization of the equipment of mobile telephony providers and access stations (such as modems and IoT equipment), through the use of 5G technology.

In addition to the aforementioned consultations, other proposals under analysis by ANATEL referred to the conditions of use of the spectrum of the 2.3 GHz and 3.5 GHz bands, to avoid interference with other services and systems, maintaining coexistence conditions and adequate levels of quality and safety for the development of different solutions.

In this regard, Public Consultation No. 60/2019, which proposed the Act that approves the power limit for operation in the 2,300 - 2,400 MHz band, for use by Personal Mobile Service (”SMP”) stations, Multimedia Communication Service (“SCM”), Fixed Switched Telephone Service (“STFC”) and Private Limited Service (“SLP”), gave rise to Act No. 2,934/2020, which establishes limits for maximum transmitted power and limits for out-of-band and spurious emissions, both for base, nodal or repeater stations and for mobile or terminal stations, in the band of 2,300 to 2,400 MHz.

The Public Consultation No. 50/2020, which started on June 17 and is expected to end on July 31, 2020, submits to contributions from the society a proposed Act that approves the technical and operational requirements for spectrum use by stations operating in the frequency range from 3,300 MHz to 3,700 MHz, in compliance with the Regulation on Conditions of Use for the 3.5 GHz Radio-frequency Band, approved by Resolution No. 711/2019, associated with the Personal Mobile Service (“SMP”), Multimedia Communication Service (“SCM”), Fixed Switched Telephone Service (“STFC”) or Private Limited Service (“SLP”). 

The aforementioned Acts and Consultations represent an advance by ANATEL in the establishment of procedures and technical standards to ensure specifications of use and certification of equipment, since the publication of these requirements enables the presentation of the first requests for approval of 5G equipment with ANATEL by the industries of equipment, in addition to new communication networks and systems for the implementation and development of 5G technology in Brazil. 

The consolidation of a standardized regulation, which allows the commercialization and the use of equipment with 5G technology, is important not only to ensure the quality of the offered telecommunications services, but also to promote competition in the country, as approved equipment help to promote a competitive, fair and healthy environment, encouraging investments in research and development of 5G by qualified and prepared local or foreign  companies capable of providing better services to Brazilian society when implementing 5G technology.