The Commission has published a draft Directive which aims to
simplify the marketing of telecommunications terminal equipment
throughout the EU. Telecommunications terminal equipment includes
all equipment which attaches to public networks and all radio
equipment operating in harmonised and unharmonised frequency bands.
In practice, this includes telephone handsets, mobile phones and
The existing system for obtaining approval to
market equipment was put in place in the early 1990s. It is a
single type-approval regime for equipment to be attached to
pan-European telecommunications networks, such as GSM, and involves
obtaining approval from an independent third party. This can cause
delay in bringing new inventions to the market.
As technology has progressed, product life cycles
have become shorter. Liberalisation of the telecommunications
market is to take place on 1 January 1998. The Commission therefore
believes that a much lighter regulatory regime is now needed. The
main features of the Proposal are:
- extending the scope of the regime to include all terminal
- a reduced and flexible set of requirements which new products
must meet; and
- the replacement of third party testing of equipment with a
manufacturer's declaration combined with reliance on legislation on
manufacturers' liability and consumer protection.