Purchase of radio equipment abroad for one's own use

When travelling abroad or while surfing the internet, interesting offers for radio equipment are often encountered. However, in some circumstances such equipment can cause interference in Switzerland. What has to be taken into account if you would like to buy such radio equipment? This fact sheet indicates what you should be aware of when importing radio equipment for your own non-commercial use. We limit ourselves to the requirements of the Telecommunications Act. Other statutory requirements which are outside OFCOM's area of responsibility are not covered.

Use in Switzerland

Is this radio equipment compliant?

OFCOM cannot answer this question, since OFCOM is not involved in the assessment of conformity of radio equipment. Conformity assessment is carried out by the economic operators under their own individual responsibility and without OFCOM's involvement.

This is why OFCOM does not publishes lists of approved radio equipment. However, OFCOM does check random samples in the trade to see whether the radio equipment complies with the statutory requirements for market access. In return OFCOM publishes information about equipment on which technical non-conformities have been detected (please note that it is not a guarantee of compliance if equipment is not mentioned on the list).

Who is responsible for the conformity of radio equipment?

Anyone who buys radio equipment in Switzerland should be able to assume that the necessary steps have been taken by the economic operators in advance to ensure the radio's conformity with the statutory requirements.

If you import radio equipment from abroad, the responsibility for its conformity falls to yourself (you can read more about this in the next section).

Am I allowed to use compliant radio equipment in Switzerland?

In contrast to the requirements which are specific to radio equipment, spectrum use is regulated not internationally but nationally. In Switzerland, the respective technical interface regulations document provide the framework for a specific use of the spectrum.


Importing radio equipment

What should I look out for when purchasing from a store in a foreign country?

Look out for the conformity symbol and the declaration of conformity.

  • Is the short form of the declaration of conformity (CE) on the packaging or in the operating instructions, or is a declaration of conformity issued by the manufacturer enclosed with the radio equipment?
  • Is there a CE mark on the packaging and the radio equipment?

If this is not the case, the radio equipment does not meet some of the basic legal requirements for placing the equipment on the market in Switzerland. It is therefore not in conformity and cannot be used. Non-compliant radio equipment may cause interference to other radio equipment and services.

Check if the radio equipment is on the list of non-compliant radio equipment.

Pay attention also to the technical interface regulations documents.

If the radio equipment complies with the above-mentioned points, ask the retailer to provide you with the following data. This will give you the information which you can compare with the interface requirements:

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

The interface requirements indicate whether and how radio equipment may be used in Switzerland. They also include information about restrictions on use. For example, you need a licence, subject to a fee, for the use of certain frequencies. You should take this into account when making your purchase.

The use of frequencies outside the framework specified by the applicable interface requirements may cause interference to other radio equipment and services.

What must I consider when purchasing radio equipment on the internet?

Before purchasing the radio equipment, we advise you to obtain a copy of the declaration of conformity and the details of the frequency and transmitting power from the dealer.
If you do not receive this information, it can be assumed that the radio equipment does not comply with the provisions in force. In such cases, we advise you not to purchase the equipment.

However, if you do obtain this information, then you should consult the interface requirements (see question above); if you are unsure, please contact us. On the basis of the information you provide we can let you know whether the National Frequency Allocation Plan provides for the desired application.


Basics

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

Compliance with these requirements is intended to protect persons and property, e.g. to prevent, as far as possible, interference to other radio equipment and services and to ensure fair competition between economic operators. In the case of interference, OFCOM has to locate the source, which may have financial consequences for the person responsible.

These requirements are based on the implementation of the provisions of EU Directive 2014/53/EC (Radio Equipment Directive / RED) in the Ordinance on Telecommunications Installations. As a result of the bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the EU, radio systems which comply 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 be "in conformity" on the one hand and on the other hand use the frequency in accordance with the technical interface regulations documents.

Specialist staff
Last modification 09.10.2017

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