In July last year, DEKRA was recognized as a Designated Certification Body or OCD (Organismo de Certificação Designado) by ANATEL, the Brazilian National Telecommunications Agency, to certify local and imported telecommunications products that require homologation to be commercialized in Brazil. DEKRA has already issued the first ANATEL certificates. Now, DEKRA expands its accreditation scope and covers a wider range of products in its role as Certification Body. Our expert Paulo Faria, a specialist in telecommunication, explains the details of this extension and describes the latest regulatory changes recently announced by ANATEL.
In the first place, could you explain what ANATEL is?
ANATEL is an agency from the Brazilian government that works on every product and system used in a spectrum related to telecommunication. They establish requirements and regulations that telecom products must meet to be used and commercialized in Brazil. ANATEL is also in charge of fiscal and market surveillance. So, any product that uses telecommunications needs to have an ANATEL certificate. And to issue this certificate, ANATEL authorizes a limited number of companies (Certification Bodies) to certify these products. DEKRA is one of the few. Once the product is certified by the Certification Body, the assessment documents are sent to ANATEL and after their review, the products can be sold in Brazil.
DEKRA has extended its scope as a Certification Body for ANATEL. Can you explain more about this?
Last December, ANATEL approved the extension of DEKRA´s scope as Designated Body or Certification body to certify telecommunications products in Brazil. This means that now DEKRA can certify more types of products, and these are: coaxial cables, optical cables and fiber optics, data transmission cables, telephone cables, connectors, telephone wires and splitters. These new types of products are added to the previous scope we were already accredited for, which includes other telecommunication products like cell phones, chargers for mobile phones, lithium batteries, landlines, cable TV modems, as well as antennas, digital television transmitters, radars, terminal blocks, energy accumulators, optical terminal boxes and multiservice platforms, among others.
How has DEKRA achieved the extension of its ANATEL accreditation scope?
To be a Certification Body for ANATEL certification, one needs to have properly skilled specialists. Based on the experience and skills of the company's specialists, ANATEL gives a specific scope to each Certification Body. The same happens when a Certification Body wants to extend its scope. The certification body must prove expertise by skilled specialist that cover all types of products in the scope. And this is what DEKRA did. Recently, I started working in DEKRA’s ANATEL certification team. My expertise covers a wider range of telecom products that weren't part of our scope yet and could be included. So, we presented a proposal to ANATEL to add eight new types of products, and after a validation process, they approved the extension of DEKRA’S scope.
ANATEL has announced some updates in the requirements of its certification. What are the changes in ANATEL regulations?
The changes are mainly focused on the renewal frequency. Now ANATEL requires to renew the accreditation every 2 years, instead of yearly, for products like mobile phones, batteries and chargers for mobile phones, hybrid and flexible coaxial cables, internal fiber optical cables and drop fiber optical cables. For wireless devices, antennas, and other equipment from the old category II, now the renewal is every 3 years. Likewise, for products that previously did not require any renewal, like data network equipment installed in a cooperative or industrial environment, the renewal will be now mandatory every 3 years.
There are also other types of updates not linked to renewal requirements. Products like connectors, broadcast equipment, signal blocker, Up converter, among others, can be now homologated by a 'Conformity Declaration', which consists of a formal declaration made by the manufacturer stating that the product is in compliance with relevant requirements.
ANATEL will accept test reports from ILAC members (the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation) for some type of network devices, such as Optical Line Termination (OLT) devices, radar, satellite mobile phones data network equipment and others devices.
In addition, ANATEL will require the ISO9001 Certificate, a seal of approval issued by a third-party body according to one of the standards of the International Organization for Standardization, together with a sworn-in translation if in English, for all Certifications, except for those products whose Conformity Assessment Mode is “Conformity Declaration”.
These updates, announced in November by ANATEL, will enter into force by June.
How is the testing and certification process for ANATEL certification?
To obtain ANATEL certification, ANATEL always asks for three kinds of tests: Functional, Safety and Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC). Most people think that ANATEL only evaluates wireless products, but it's not true. Telecommunication and radiofrequency spectrum are also covered.
In these tests many different test cases are examined. For example, in the functional tests, is evaluated what happens when you bend a fiber cable, check if it has losses when the light passes, or if a Wi-Fi router interferes with other products. In safety tests, among other cases, is checked if the product can cause hazards by an electrical shock when you plug it. And with respect to electromagnetic compatibility tests, one of the aspects assessed is if the product interferes with the neighbours’ devices, and vice versa.
Once the test laboratory has performed the required tests on the customer's product, the Certification Body, for example DEKRA, receives the test reports from the laboratory and the certification process can start. We review all documentation, checking that all requirements are met. When all test reports are assessed and validated in accordance with the applicable regulation, we send them to ANATEL, where after a final review the product receives the ANATEL certification mark.
You evaluate products for ANATEL Certification. What is the most important aspect a customer should consider when requesting this?
To provide the right and complete information about the product's specifications. This is essential to prepare the Test Plan, budget and evaluate if the regulatory requirements for the certification are met. It's highly important to be precise on every specification detail of the product, because if something changes, it has a high impact on the entire certification process.
For more information on ANATEL certification, please contact us.