Type approval of electronic communications equipment is one of the basic compliance obligations set out in the legislation governing electronic communications. The historical rationale of the requirement is the protection of the quality of networks by ensuring they are not damaged by inferior equipment or equipment that does not comply with specified technical standards.
Obligation to obtain type approval
Section 35 of the Electronic Communications Act retains the previous obligation in respect of the type approval of electronic communications equipment and facilities before they can be used, supplied, sold, offered for sale or leased or hired. On 26 August 2013 ICASA published new Type Approval Regulations.
When you receive type approval you will be issued with a certificate setting out the parameters within which the equipment may be used.
This is especially relevant to radio frequency equipment intended for use in the ISM or other licence-exempt frequency spectrum bands where use is subject to power output limitations and observance of standards. Equipment will be type approved if it is capable of use according to these limitations and standards and any modification or change of settings to exceed the limitations will constitute an offence as the equipment is not type-approved to operate at these levels.
Who can apply for type approval?
Type approval certificates will only be issued to a “local South African registered entities”.
Exemptions from the type approval requirement
There is a provision for ICASA to pass regulations exempting certain types of equipment and facilities where they have been approved by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute or other competent standards body where the equipment complies with type approval standards prescribed by the Authority. They can also exempt equipment or facilities where they are used under special circumstances such as research and development, testing and prototype demonstrations.
ICASA has passed final regulations in respect of exemptions from licensing and type approval requirements in respect of low power devices operating on the FM Band II (87.5 to 108 MHz).
Applying for type approval
The procedure is straightforward although there are some variations depending on the type of equipment involved and whether the equipment has already been tested by an accredited testing facility. If you do not have a test report this will need to be obtained before the application can be submitted (see below for further details regarding testing facilities).
A non-refundable application fee is payable upon application to ICASA for Type Approval .
When completing your application you can indicate to ICASA how many labels you require. Small labels can be obtained in minimum batches of 400, priced at R1.00 per label.
There are specific regulations relating to labelling of type-approved equipment.
Under section 36 of the ECA, ICASA may prescribe standards for the performance and operation of any equipment or electronic communication facility, including radio apparatus.
For further information on type approval and related matters please contact Rolf Blom.