Purchase of radio equipment abroad for one's own use

When travelling abroad or when surfing the internet, one frequently comes across interesting offers for wireless devices such as drones, mobile telephones, remote controlled toys, etc. However, in some circumstances they may cause interference in Switzerland. This fact sheet indicates what you should be aware of when importing radio equipment for private use.    

Radio equipment: Swiss legislation refers to radio equipment. The term includes wireless devices, such as, for example, drones, mobile telephones or radio equipment.
 
 

Am I responsible that the radio equipment I purchase abroad meets Swiss requirements?

If you import wireless equipment from abroad, you are personally responsible for it conforming to Swiss standards. Importing radio equipment which is not in conformity constitutes a criminal offence, for which a fine must be paid. You can use the checklist in this fact sheet as an aid to checking a number of important points.

Anyone purchasing radio equipment in Switzerland can assume that the manufacturers and retailers have taken the necessary steps beforehand to ensure that the equipment conforms to Swiss requirements. 

 
 
Conformity/in conformity: complies with the provisions of the legislation.
 
 

What do I need to know in order to be allowed to use equipment in Switzerland?

Whether equipment can be used on specific frequencies is often regulated nationally rather than internationally. In Switzerland this is defined in a so-called interface requirement. Before you switch on equipment, you should read these requirements and check whether your equipment meets them.

Interface requirement: The interface requirements define whether and how radio equipment may be used in Switzerland. In addition, they contain information on the restrictions on the use of certain frequencies. For the use of some radio equipment, a licence, for which a fee is payable, is needed. You should take this into account when making a purchase. Using frequencies which do not meet these requirements may cause interference in other radio equipment and services. Technical interface requirements (RIR) 
 

How do I check equipment that I want to buy in another country? (checklist)

Step 1

Look out for the conformity symbol (CE) and the declaration of conformity.

 
 
European conformity mark
  • Is there a CE mark on the packaging and the radio equipment?
  • Is a short form or a complete version of a declaration of conformity provided on the packaging or in the operating instructions? 
 
 
 

Step 2

Ask the seller for a declaration of conformity relating to the equipment.

  • Does the declaration of conformity include the following information? 
 
 
*

You may possibly also find the following information on the declaration of conformity:

  • Designation of the radio equipment for traceability purposes; it may include an illustration in colour in which the radio equipment is recognisable.
  • "The notified agency (name, identification number) has issued… (description of its involvement)… and the following EU type examination certificate."
  • A description of the accessories and components including software which enable the radio equipment to be operated in accordance with the requirements and which are entered on the EU declaration of conformity.
 
 

Step 3 

Check whether the radio equipment is on the list of equipment which is not in conformity: Non-compliant equipment.
Caution: equipment which is not on this list is not necessarily in conformity. The list is constantly being added to.

Step 4

Ask the seller to give you the following information:

  • Frequencies or frequency range of the equipment
  • Transmitting power of the radio equipment

Step 5

Compare the frequency and transmitting power data with the interface requirements.
Technical interface regulations (RIR) 

 
 

And what if not all the points of the checklist are met?

  • If you do not receive this information, you can assume that the radio equipment in all probability does not comply with the provisions in force. In such cases, we advise you not to purchase the equipment.
  • If points 1 and 2 of the checklist are not met (no conformity mark and incomplete or absent declaration of conformity), the radio equipment is not in conformity with the law and therefore must not be brought into Switzerland. Radio equipment which is not in conformity may cause interference in other radio equipment and services.
  • If you are uncertain, contact us. Based on your information we can let you know whether the National Frequency Allocation Plan permits the desired use.
 
 

How does OFCOM check imported equipment?

OFCOM works with the customs administration. They inform OFCOM regularly about imported wireless equipment. If equipment is possibly not in conformity, it is intercepted by customs and sent to OFCOM for examination. The equipment will therefore not be delivered to customers. If it is found that the equipment is actually not in conformity, the purchaser of the equipment must expect financial consequences.

 

Basis

According to the Ordinance on Telecommunications Installations (FAV), all radio equipment must comply with certain minimum requirements.

Compliance with these minimum requirements is intended to protect persons and objects, for example in order to prevent interference with other radio equipment and services. In the event of interference, OFCOM has to locate the source, which may have financial consequences for the person responsible. These regulations, which must be complied with by everyone, are additionally intended to ensure fair competition between manufacturers.

These requirements are based on implementation of the provisions of EU Directive 2014/53/EC (Radio Equipment Directive / RED) in the OTI. As a result of the bilateral agreements with the EU, radio equipment which complies with the provisions of the European Directive may also be placed on the Swiss market.

Radio equipment which is to be used in Switzerland must therefore on the one hand be "in conformity" (i.e. it must conform to the Swiss requirements) and on the other hand use the correct frequency in accordance with the interface requirements.

In this fact sheet we limit ourselves to the requirements of the Telecommunications Act. Other legal requirements, such as for example those relating to chemical composition or electrical safety, which are outside OFCOM's area of responsibility, are not dealt with.

Ordinance on Telecommunications Installations (FAV): the FAV regulates the requirements which must be met if one wishes to sell equipment. It also stipulates how OFCOM is to carry out its supervisory role.
Telecommunications Act (TCA): the Act regulates the transmission of information using telecommunications technology, including the transmission of radio and television programme services, in so far as the Federal Act of 24 March 2006 on Radio and Television (RTVA) does not provide otherwise.
Resale: If you wish to import equipment for resale, you must additionally comply with other requirements (cf. Fact sheet). 
 
 
 
 

Specialist staff
Last modification 06.03.2020

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