Telecommunications Equipment Security Certification and Homologation

Telecommunications Equipment Security Certification and Homologation

In order to guarantee the acquisition and use of efficient and reliable telecommunications equipment for consumers, such products must respect quality and safety standards and regulations on technical features, through the Certification and Homologation of such equipment - and regulation plays a fundamental role in this process, making evaluation procedures and models faster, simpler and more versatile, reducing regulatory barriers and transaction costs.

The Resolution No. 715/2019 of the National Telecommunications Agency - ANATEL approves the Regulation for Conformity Assessment and Homologation of Telecommunications Products, in order to establish the general principles and rules of these steps and the operational procedures for such processes, as well as the technical requirements necessary for each type or family of products for telecommunications. 

Some of the principles that govern conformity assessment and homologation of products for telecommunications are: the protection and safety of the users of these products; the efficient and rational use of the radioelectric spectrum; consumer access to diversified products, with quality and regularity appropriate to the nature of the services; the sale or use of products in accordance with the technical standards issued by ANATEL; economic freedom and free competition, as well as the creation of investment opportunities and encouragement to the technological development of the Brazilian industry of telecommunications products.

The telecommunications products subject to homologation by ANATEL are organized in a Reference List of Telecommunications Products, attached to ANATEL’s Act No. 2,222/2020, which determines the conformity assessment modalities and models according to the family and type of telecommunications product involved.

In accordance with the aforementioned Resolution, its provisions apply to products used in the exploitation of radio broadcasting services, their ancillary, auxiliaries and related products (excepting for products used by the Armed Forces operating in frequency bands intended for exclusively military purposes). In this regard, it should also be considered that telecommunications products can be divided into three categories: 

I) Category I: telecommunications equipment intended for the general public to access services of collective interest, such as mobile telephony, fixed telephony, broadband and pay TV. Examples of products in this category are cell phones, landlines and modems for cable TV;

II) Category II: equipment that make use of the radioelectric spectrum for signal transmission and that does not belong to Category I. Examples: antennas, digital television transmitters and radars; and

III) Category III: equipment not classified in categories I and II, whose regulation is necessary to guarantee the interoperability and reliability of the networks supporting telecommunications services. Some examples that can be mentioned are optical fiber cables, routers, etc.

It should be noted that the lists of technical requirements and test procedures applicable to telecommunications products belonging to Categories I, II and III  should be considered as a reference and will be subject to updates whenever necessary.

Conformity assessment and homologation may be required by the manufacturer of the telecommunications product, the commercial representative of a foreign legal entity and any natural person or legal entity, when for their own use. In general, the request for homologation of certificates or statement of conformity can only be made by a natural person with full civilian capacity and resident in Brazil, or a legal entity organized under Brazilian law, so that, in any case, they can be responsible for the product in the national territory.

In the process of assessing the conformity of telecommunications products, the equipment is subjected to the verification of technical standards and laboratory tests that seek to ensure that they are properly tested and approved for use in Brazil, in accordance with the applicable Operating Procedures and Technical Requirements.

According to article 55 of Resolution No. 715/2019, the homologation of certificates and statements of the conformity assessment process is a mandatory prerequisite for the use and commercialization of telecommunications products in Brazil. The homologation request must be sent to ANATEL, by one of the legitimate applicants or by a legally appointed attorney in fact.

The Homologation Certificate, issued by ANATEL, free of charge, after the fulfillment of all necessary actions to obtain it, confers upon its holder the right to use the telecommunications product by the holder itself and the right to use and/or market the telecommunications product throughout Brazil. 

Note that the commercialization and use of products that were not homologated or under conditions different from those established in the respective Technical Requirements, as well as the import of products that were not homologated (in cases where it is required), the fraud to the conformity assessment process and homologation, and the non-compliance with the commitments assumed as a result of the homologation of products or designation/qualification given by ANATEL, are conducts subject to penalty.

Furthermore, products of foreign origin are exempted from homologation when they: (i) do not emit radio frequency, in transit or temporarily in Brazil, intended for demonstration, exhibition, survey of characteristics or other purposes; and (ii) are intended for temporary use in national territory (as a rule, they must obtain authorization for temporary use of the spectrum or authorization for scientific and experimental purposes), provided that portable products (classifiable as parts of personal systems, of global or regional use) are certified by a foreign Administration and are compatible with Brazilian regulation.

Consultation of products certified and homologated by ANATEL can be made through the Certification and Homologation System (SCH) at Mosaico Portal or, also, through the interactive portal at the ANATEL’s website, which allows the visualization of information about certified equipment (such as product type, model, manufacturer, numbers of homologation and Certificate of Technical Conformity and its expiration date). 

Furthermore, new technologies encourage the submission of proposals to update the Technical Requirements in force for the certification of telecommunication products, in order to ensure the continuity of their use. This is the case, for example, of Act No. 3,153/2020 (derived from ANATEL’s Public Consultation No. 6), which approved the update of the technical requirements for assessing the conformity of Transceiver for Radio Base Station operating with 5G technology, advancing the implementation of fifth generation technology in the Brazilian scenario.

Other documents are also related to the laboratory tests necessary to guarantee the levels of safety and quality required by the Brazilian regulation for products that operate with 5G technology, such as Act No. 3,152/2020, derived from Public Consultation No. 11 (referring to the certification and commercialization of equipment of Cell Phones providers) and Act No. 3,151/2020, derived from Public Consultation No. 12 (regarding the assessment of the technical conformity of the Terminal Access Station, such as modems and equipment for the Internet of Things - IoT). 

The Action Plan to Combat Piracy, created at the beginning of 2018, was created with the aim of strengthening the performance of ANATELs inspection in combating the sale and use of telecommunications equipment without homologation, with inspection actions throughout the country, in order to guarantee the health, safety and support of consumers, the quality of products and fair competition, capable of encouraging investments in research and development.

It is important to point out that ANATELs role is not limited to inspecting and assessing the irregular operation or commercialization of telecommunications equipment (confiscating products that were not homologated and preventing the commercialization of irregular products, for example), but it also intends to better guide applicants for Certification and Homologation, ensuring the availability of information in an easy way for the regularization of the offer and use of telecommunications products in Brazil, exercising a more preventive function.

The constant quality control of the telecommunications products offered in the national market and to the telecommunications consumer is essential to mitigate risks related to their use and to maintain a rigid system of assessment of the conformity of equipment, allowing to leverage the economy, for the benefit of the Brazilian population, especially after the recent enactment of the Brazilian Data Protection Act.