Radio product country approvals – Local testing or paperwork only?

As manufacturers look to expand their reach and introduce wireless products to global markets, understanding the country approval process is crucial. Much like travellers need a passport or visa to cross borders, wireless devices require specific credentials to enter international markets. Failing to comply with these requirements can result in significant penalties, including fines and delays.

Unexpected Maze: Compliance with international standards is not merely a formality but a complex and evolving challenge. Manufacturers must navigate through a labyrinth of regional and national regulations that are continuously updated. Whether you’re launching a new product or expanding the reach of existing ones, understanding these regulations is key to successful market entry.

3 Categories of Country Approval Processes: The approval processes can broadly be divided into three categories, each with its own set of requirements and challenges:

 A.    Local Requirements – Full Testing: Countries like China, India, South Korea, and Brazil require comprehensive testing similar to the CE RED or FCC standards in the EU and US, respectively. The extent of testing and the number of product samples required can vary significantly depending on the product and country. For instance, entering the Chinese market might involve rigorous scrutiny and multiple product samples, reflecting its strict compliance standards.

B.    Local Requirements + Limited Local Testing: In countries such as Indonesia and Argentina, the approval process still demands adherence to local standards, but the extent of testing required is less intensive compared to the CE RED or FCC. This can be a strategic advantage for manufacturers looking to enter these markets with reduced compliance costs and faster time-to-market.

C.    Based on CE Red or FCC Test Results: Many countries in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa fall into this category. Here, CE RED or FCC documentation suffices to demonstrate compliance with local regulations. However, an application for approval remains a necessity. This approach can significantly streamline the approval process, reducing both time and financial investment.

Strategic Insights for Market Entry

“For a European radio product manufacturer, entering the market starts with obtaining CE RED and, potentially, FCC/ISED approvals. When considering expansion into other markets, it’s crucial to factor in the cost and time required for obtaining the necessary approvals. For example, countries categorized under Group A are generally the most time-consuming and costly to enter due to their stringent testing requirements. In contrast, Group C offers a quicker and more cost-effective path, although bureaucratic delays can still occur.” Emphasises Sales & Marketing Director Risto Timisjärvi from TESTiLABS, Finland.


By staying informed of the latest developments in international regulatory standards and leveraging streamlined approval processes where available, manufacturers can not only ensure compliance but also capitalize on new market opportunities efficiently.