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What is RF (Radio Frequency) Testing?

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Overview: Radio Frequency Testing

The modern world is the world of technology and gadgets that make our life simpler and easier. They hold so much significance in our lives that life seems next to impossible without them. However, to ensure the devices/gadgets/equipment are safe for human use, they need to go through the process of Radio-frequency Tests during the process of manufacturing to check the frequency of radio broadcasts for such devices to ensure that such frequencies are applying their space on the spectrum efficiently. 

Therefore, every gadget manufacturer who uses RF testing or needs to apply RF testing for their gadgets needs to compulsorily obtain RF testing approval, which is also known as Wireless Planning & Coordination(WPC) Approval from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), under the provisions of the Indian Wireless and Indian Telegraphy Act 1933.

For those unknown, WPC is a branch under the Ministry of Telecommunications and by nature is a National Radio Regulatory Authority, and is primarily responsible for Frequency Spectrum Management and the grant of WPC (ETA) Licensing of IT and Electronic products at the same time fulfilling needs of wireless technology consumers. The main office of WPC 'DoT' is in New Delhi and has regional offices in Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, and Guwahati.

Since its inception, DoT has been responsible for various purposes such as carrying of radio frequency testing, licensing, requirements, or for imports related to any form of radiofrequency or radio-enabled devices into India which would include mobile handsets, walkie-talkies, drones, and other devices related to wireless testing and frequency testing. Thus, Wireless and Bluetooth IT and Electronic products that function on unlicensed frequency bands and meet human safety criteria can only be sold or offered for sale in Indian markets after obtaining WPC approval. Such radio frequency tests do apply to all kinds of devices around us including our cellular devices, Wi-Fi, GPS devices, PMR radio, walkie-talkie, cameras, routers, Bluetooth devices among others. However, in most jurisdictions, such RF testing is mandated under certain RF standards as prescribed by the legislature and under applicable legal statutes. 

Applications of RF Testing Approvals in India

Apart, from this, they shall be applied for purposes such as.

  • Equipment Type Approval (ETA)
  • Type Approval
  • Experimental Approval
  • Dealer and the non-dealer Possession Licenses (DPL and NDPL)
  • Import Licenses for the radio equipment.

Pre-requisites for RF Testing Approvals in India

The following pre-requisites must be fulfilled before making an application for RF Testing registration-

Applicant Must be Either a Manufacturer or Importer of Wireless-enabled Devices.

To make an application for RF testing approval, the applicant business entity shall either be a manufacturer or importer of wireless-enabled devices or any other similar equipment. Such applicants could be either a domestic manufacturer or an importer of such gadgets/electronic devices.

Appointment of an Authorised Representative.

If the applicant for RF Testing approval is a foreign company, such company shall compulsorily appoint an authorized representative in India who could be an individual or a company and shall represent the foreign company in completion of application filling procedure in India.

Device Should be Capable to Work on De-licensed Frequency Bands

Such devices/gadgets must be working on specific de-licensed frequency bands. Further, all such devices hold wireless capability and should be capable of working on de-licensed frequency bands.

Copy of RF Test Report.

In case the device/gadget is being manufactured in India, then there is no specific requirement of any laboratory testing. Only, the applicant shall be required to be attached an RF testing report from an ISO IEC 17025 accredited laboratory. 

Radio Frequency Results.

The lab test results must contain frequency results of each particular wireless device/accessory along with such results. Additionally, each result must indicate characteristics such as video bandwidth, resolution bandwidth, sweep, and frequency.

Authorization-cum-Agreement Letter.

Every foreign manufacturer who intends to obtain RF testing approval shall be required to agree with the Department of Telecommunication of India. The requirement of the agreement shall only be applicable in the case of such foreign manufacturers and could be obtained by request from the above-mentioned authority. 

Technical Data Sheet

The applicant shall also be required to submit a copy of the technical datasheet, for which the format could be obtained by requesting the authority concerned.

Online Process for WPC Approval in India.

Go to the online portal of the Department of Telecommunication (DoT)

For obtaining WTC approval, the applicant shall be required to access the website (process https://saralsanchar.gov.in/wpc_eta) and create a user id and password.

After login, the applicant has to go to “Tab” and click “Apply for new ETA”.

Search Import Undertaking by Import ID.

Where the applicant is an importer who wishes to obtain WPC approval for equipment that uses different forms of radiofrequency, the same could be verified by authenticating the import undertaking of the applicant by entering the import id and filling in captcha code.

Apply for New RF Testing Approval

The applicant shall be required to make a self-declaration on the online portal and click "No" in the case when asked whether the equipment is working license exempted/ de-license bands. Next, the applicant shall be required to fill a form including details such as- 

  • Name and other details of the primary applicant/authorized person/representative of the applicant.
  • Name, nature, and other details related to the device; for instance if it is a Bluetooth device then the frequency and other details of the device must be mentioned in the WPC Approval application;
  • The model number and related details;
  • Manufacturer/Importer details; 
  • Frequency Range that should be anywhere between 5150 MHz – 5350 MHz
  • Output Power related information
  • Modulation range along with the remarks regarding the same; 

On filling the application, the applicant shall submit the application on the portal to be assessed and authenticated by the Licensing Authority.

Assessment and Grant of RF Testing Approval

On careful assessment by the licensing authority, if the application is found complete in all respects, then the licensing authority may take the application forward and issue WPC approval for RF testing of any particular device under WPC Approval.

Documents Required for RF Testing Approval

Following documents must be attached with the WPC/ETA approval application for obtaining WPC approval-

  • Proof of identification of the manufacturer/importer (any one of the following)
  • Proof of registered address of the business like (Sale deed /Rent agreement /Electricity Bill) etc.
  • Business entity constitution documents such as MOA &AOA, Partnership deed, etc. 
  • Certificate of incorporation or certificate of registration;
  • Scanned, signed, and stamped official letterhead of the company;
  • Radio Frequency Exposure Report (RF Report), a detailed report providing for the functionality and performance of the wireless device including products with Bluetooth devices, small digital radios,(Wi-Fi), and radio frequency identification devices (RFID).
  • Technical guide copy of the product including all the documents regarding the technical details of the products such as the user manual.

Benefits of RF Testing Approval

Provided below are the benefits of WPC Testing Approvals-

  • Applies to all electronic devices and components assimilating one or more wireless interfaces
  • Designed to provide optimum protection to the spectrum and to use it effectively;
  • Warrants market access and global recognition;
  • Has a global network of testing labs and access to the RF testing experts
  • Ensures compliance with all national and international standards.

RF Testing Approval Post- Registration Compliance 

Once obtained, the RF testing approval holder shall be required to fulfill the below-mentioned compliances-

  • Assuring whether the device/gadget/equipment confirms the requirements of the prescribed frequency bandwidths.
  • Maintenance of records and submission of a copy of the same to the ministry as per the requirements.
  • Informing the licensing authority, in case of any change/alteration or modification in the wireless device/ equipment. 

Time Involved, Validity and Renewal of RF Testing Approval

Once the application for WPC approval is submitted, it can take anywhere between 30-40 working days for obtaining WPC approval. The approval shall remain valid until the validity period of the model and for such period as it is being manufactured without any modification and does not require any modification.

WPC -ETA

All Electronic Devices that operates with WiFi & Bluetooth technologies require WPC ETA LICENSE before selling in Indian market. WPC makes its mandatory to acquire Equipment Type approval certificate for wireless devices to be marketed in India

WPC Advisory Services

Get online WPC | ETA | Import License | RTR License | GMDSS License | Type Approval | Dealer Possession License | UHF Radio License | Experimental Licence | Demonstration Licence in most affordable prices with 30 days Money Back Guaranteed

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not corpseed, and have not been evaluated by corpseed for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.

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Author
Bhavana Bhandari
I am working in Corpseed ITES as "Legal Content Writer" and hold two years of experience in writing, proofreading, and reviewing all kinds of legal content including court rulings, IPR laws, business registration and compliances, tax, GST, and similar matters.