The new Radio Equipment Directive (RED) was adopted by the Council of the European Union in April 2014 and replaces the R&TTE Directive.
Member States will have a two year transition period to transpose the rules into their national laws. Manufacturers will have an additional year to comply as equipment that is compliant with the current R&TTE Directive may continue to be placed on the market 12 months beyond the transition period.
Key changes in the new Directive:
There is a clearer requirement that radio equipment shall be constructed so that it both effectively uses and supports the efficient use of the radio spectrum in order to avoid harmful interference.
Deletion of some unnecessary administrative obligations, such as the prior notification of radio equipment using non-harmonised frequency bands.
The Commission is pushing for mobile phones, and other portable devices, to be compatible with a common charger.
Clearer obligations for manufacturers (Article 10 of the Directive), authorised representatives (Article 11), importers (Article 12) and distributors (Article 13).
Manufacturers will be required to affix the CE marking in accordance with Articles 19 (General Principles of the CE Marking) and 20 (Rules & Conditions for Affixing the CE Marking) to each item of radio equipment that satisfies the applicable requirements of this Directive.
Article 4 of the RED covers the compliance of combinations of radio equipment and software. This requires that software can only be used with radio equipment after the compliance of that particular combination of software and radio equipment has been demonstrated.
What is currently the "Technical Construction File (TCF) Opinion" (Annex IV of the R&TTE Directive) becomes "Annex III - Type Examination Procedure" in the RED. While the process of submitting a TCF to a Notified Body does not really change, the Notified Body number can only be used under the ‘Full Quality Assurance’ procedure set out in the RED’s Annex IV, and not under the Type Examination procedure.
Safety assessment will now need to take account of reasonably foreseeable usage conditions, not just the intended use (Article 17) - in other words anticipate how a product might be misused.
The responsibilities of market surveillance authorities are more clearly laid out (Article 39 & 40), with improved instruments for market surveillance, in particular the traceability obligations of manufacturers, importers and distributors. For example, manufacturers of radio equipment affected by a low level of compliance with the essential requirements (set out in Article 3 and relating to how radio equipment must be constructed) will be required to register it within a central system.