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Unpacking type approval for telecommunication equipment

Unpacking type approval for telecommunication equipment

By Loide Nuutushi, Officer: Equipment Approval, The Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia.

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) defines Type Approval as a technical evaluation process to ensure that telecommunications equipment meets specific regulatory standards. In Namibia, this process is overseen by the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) which is mandated to regulate telecommunications equipment intended for import into Namibia and ensure such equipment complies with Type Approval standards.

Section 80 of the Communications Act states that CRAN must prescribe reasonable technical standards for telecommunications equipment to prevent harm to electronic telecommunications networks, public health, and safety.

Namibia’s Type Approval regulations align with international practices followed by ITU Region 1 regulators and standardisation processes prescribed by the ITU. Besides Namibia, South Africa and Botswana also implement Type Approval, and vendors and suppliers generally operate in these markets without issues.

The current Type Approval Regulation, dated 21 August 2023, and published in Government Gazette No. 8180, requires the following entities to seek Type Approval Certificates: Manufacturers, Importers, Distributors and Individuals.

The purpose of Type Approval is to ensure that telecommunications equipment complies with Namibian and international standards to prevent radio interference and avoid health and safety hazards. Type Approval is issued for any telecommunications equipment that transmits, receives, or uses radio frequencies and is connected to any electronic communications network, such as cell phones, laptops, computers, radio communications equipment, and digital set-top boxes.

The processing time for Type Approval certification is 40 days as per the Type Approval Regulation. However, the Authority endeavours to issue the certificates within a reasonable time, depending on the volume of applications received.

In February 2023, CRAN and the Namibia Revenue Agency (NAMRA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). This followed an agreement between CRAN and the Ministry of Finance: Directorate of Customs and Excise in 2016, to harmonise the implementation of laws governing the importation of telecommunications equipment into Namibia. The MoU establishes a framework for cooperation between the two parties in areas of common interest for effective and efficient performance of their respective mandates.

The MoU promotes cooperation and coordination regarding the importation of telecommunications equipment into Namibia; it makes provision for collaboration on capacity-building initiatives; and it establishes a working committee to discuss and recommend solutions to challenges impacting the successful implementation of the Type Approval regulatory framework.

Anyone seeking Type Approval must submit a complete application, including all supporting documentation and payment of applicable fees, before importing the telecommunications equipment. Equipment will not be cleared by Customs without a Type Approval certificate. It is best to apply for type approval before importation to avoid delays and that the Authority will not carry any storage costs due to delays in obtaining necessary certifications.

The Type Approval process consists of the following methods: the Standard Application process; the Simplified method; the Renewal method, the Temporary Importation method, and the Reconsideration method.

The regulations also specify telecommunications equipment exempt from Type Approval, such as laptops, servers, smart televisions and tablets without SIM slots. A list of approved devices is available on the CRAN website.

Telecommunications equipment temporarily imported into Namibia for prototypes, testing, and trials, as described in the Regulations, does not require a Type Approval certificate. However, clients must apply for temporary importation.

It is crucial for all parties involved in the importation of telecommunications equipment to familiarise themselves with the Type Approval Regulations, obtain the necessary Type Approval documentation, or contact CRAN’s Type Approval Team for further assistance at [email protected] or 061 222 666.


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