What's new in the area of telecommunications equipment
Since 15 May 2008, the market access conditions for telecommunications equipment in Switzerland are identical to those in force in the member countries of the European Community. In fact, the final two Swiss differences will disappeared: they relate to equipment which cannot be operated in Switzerland but which may nevertheless henceforth be sold there, and to equipment intended for amateur radio operators. In addition, user information requirements are strengthened.
These changes were adopted on 16 April 2008 by the Federal Council, which is thereby taking a further step in eliminating differences between Swiss and European Community legislation within the framework of application of the "Cassis de Dijon" principle in Switzerland.
Radiocommunications equipment which cannot be operated in Switzerland
As is already the case in the European Community countries, it is possible to sell radiocommunications equipment in Switzerland which cannot be operated there. Each item of radiocommunications equipment, whether it can be operated in Switzerland or not, must meet all the conditions for placing it on the market. The requirements applicable in terms of operation remain unchanged.
Responsibility for compliance with the conditions for placing equipment on the market lies with manufacturers and the distribution chain (importers, wholesalers, retailers, …). Users, for their part, are responsible for operating their equipment in conformity with the legal framework. It is up to the manufacturer and the distribution chain to provide all useful and necessary information to users so that they can operate their equipment correctly and without committing any violations.
Strengthening of user information requirements
In order to ensure that users are aware of their obligations, the requirements in terms of marking and information have been strengthened. Their implementation has been staggered to enable telecommunications equipment already on the market to be brought into conformity. These requirements are:
Additional user information
Since 15 May 2008, the information accompanying an item of radiocommunications equipment which cannot be operated in Switzerland must indicate this clearly to the user.
Marking of radiocommunications equipment
Since 15 May 2008, any radiocommunications equipment which cannot be operated in Switzerland must bear the category identifier.
Introduction of a conformity mark
By 1 May 2009, the marking of any telecommunications equipment must include the following conformity mark:
Since this mark is valid only for Switzerland, the conformity mark applicable to telecommunications equipment placed on the market of the European Community may also be used as an alternative:
By affixing the conformity mark, the manufacturer declares that the equipment is in conformity with the provisions of the law relating to the placing on the market of telecommunications equipment.
Where applicable, this conformity mark may be accompanied by the four-digit identification number of the body which participated in the conformity assessment and by the class identifier.
Additional information on packaging
The conformity mark, and where applicable the identification number of the conformity assessment body and the class identifier must be affixed by 1 May 2009 at the latest to the packaging of all telecommunications equipment.
Internet sales, mail order, etc.
Since 15 May 2008, the information accompanying the offer of equipment via the internet, by mail or by similar sales methods must, where applicable, clearly indicate if its operation is forbidden or if there are any restrictions on use such as the need to possess a licence, use restricted to inside buildings, etc.
The class identifier is a graphical symbol intended to indicate that operation of the radiocommunications equipment to which it is affixed is subject to restrictions (the need to possess a licence, use restricted to the inside of buildings, …) or that it is forbidden.
How is it possible to recognise equipment which cannot be operated?
It will be possible to identify equipment which cannot be operated in Switzerland from the following indications:
In the user information
Written information, for example: "This equipment must not be used in Switzerland".
On the internet and by mail order
Information on the internet site or in the catalogue to the effect that the equipment cannot be used in Switzerland.
By 1 May 2009 at the latest, these indications must include the following:
On the packaging
Absence of information that the equipment cannot be used in Switzerland and presence of one of the two following marks:
Radiocommunications equipment intended for amateur radio operators
Radiocommunications equipment intended for amateur radio operators don't have to be barred on amateur radio frequencies above 30 MHz anymore. This means that henceforth it may cover all frequencies. However, the conditions of delivery and use have not changed. In fact, as in the past, it will only be possible to supply this equipment to amateur radio operators against presentation of their licence. Furthermore, its use remains exclusively limited to the amateur radio frequencies. It must not be operated on other frequencies, such as, for example, professional mobile radio (PMR) frequencies.
Henceforth, users who have programmed, arranged to have programmed on their behalf or have selected frequencies (by a change in hardware or software, by saving to memory, etc.) for which they do not possess a valid licence will be in violation. For example, saving those frequencies intended for police use in the memory of amateur radio equipment open to the band will constitute a violation of the legal provisions.
The "Cassis de Dijon" principle
Pursuant to the “Cassis de Dijon” principle, products imported from another member State of the European Community (EC) which have been manufactured according to the regulations of this State may be placed on the market everywhere in the EC. Restrictions are permissible only when they are justified by overwhelming public interest, for example in the areas of health protection, environmental protection or consumer protection.
In this context, the Federal Council adopted a position on 31 October 2007 concerning the differences from European law. At that time, it commissioned the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications to amend the corresponding legal basis accordingly.