The Digitalist Team
August 31, 2023

Radio Equipment Directive: This is What it Involves


min reading time

With the ever-increasing integration of wireless technology into our daily lives, ensuring the cybersecurity and safety of wireless devices has become a paramount concern. The European Commission addressed this issue by introducing the Delegated Regulation 2022/30. The new regulation enforces cybersecurity rules for consumer IoT radio equipment, replacing previous requirements in Article 3(3) of RED Directive. This article will provide a thorough overview of the new directive, focusing on essential information required for achieving compliance during the transition period.

The Radio Equipment Directive is a crucial regulatory framework adopted by the European Union (EU) to ensure the quality, safety, and proper functioning of radio equipment within its market.

The directive replaces the Radio and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment Directive (R&TTE) and extends its scope to cover a wide range of consumer IoT devices, including radio devices, mobile phones, Wi-Fi routers, Bluetooth devices, satellite communication systems, radio transmitters and more. The Radio Equipment Directive is the first harmonized standard concerning the protection of networks, personal data privacy, and security from fraud.

The Radio Equipment Directive covers a wide range of consumer IoT devices.
Source: Freepik

The History and Definition of Radio Equipment Directive (RED)

The Radio Equipment Directive was introduced to address the emerging challenges posed by rapid technological advancements and to facilitate the free movement of radio equipment across the EU market. 

Effective from February 1, 2022, the directive will become mandatory on August 1, 2025, providing manufacturers with a 42-month transition period to ensure compliance.

The directive specifies essential requirements that radio equipment must meet before it can be sold within the EU. These requirements include the latest cybersecurity measures to protect against potential threats. 

The European Commission (EC) oversees the implementation and enforcement of the Radio Equipment Directive, issuing guidelines and recommendations to assist economic operators in meeting the directive's criteria. National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) in each EU member state are responsible for enforcing the Radio Equipment Directive within their territories.

Scope of the Radio Equipment Directive

The Radio Equipment Directive (RED) plays a crucial role in ensuring radio equipment's safety, quality, and proper functioning within the European Union (EU) market. Its comprehensive scope encompasses various instruments and systems capable of transmitting or receiving radio waves for communication, radio determination, or other radio-telecommunication functions.

The Radio Equipment Directive applies not only to the main devices but also to all necessary accessories for the proper operation of radio equipment. This includes antennas, connectors, and software, which play integral roles in the functioning and performance of various wireless devices. As a result, the directive covers a diverse array of products, ranging from simple radios and walkie-talkies to more sophisticated and advanced devices like mobile phones and satellite communication systems.

Enhancing Network Protection

One key aspect of the Radio Equipment Directive is Article 3(3)(d), which focuses on improving network protection. Radio equipment manufacturers must incorporate specific features in their devices to avoid any harm to communication networks. Additionally, the devices must be designed to prevent them from disrupting the functionality of websites or services. These provisions aim to ensure that radio equipment operates responsibly and does not cause interference or harm to essential communication infrastructure.

Strengthening Personal Data and Privacy Protection 

Article 3(3)(e) of the Radio Equipment Directive addresses this concern by strengthening personal data and privacy protection in radio equipment. Manufacturers must implement measures that prevent unauthorized access to consumers' personal data or transmitting such data without consent. The directive aims to bolster consumer trust and confidence in wireless devices that handle sensitive information by ensuring robust data protection measures.

Reducing the Risk of Fraud

With the rise of digital transactions and electronic payments, the risk of fraud and unauthorized monetary transfers has also increased. Article 3(3)(f) of the Radio Equipment Directive targets this issue by requiring manufacturers to incorporate features that minimize fraudulent electronic payments and monetary transfers. Implementing better user authentication controls in radio equipment can significantly reduce the likelihood of unauthorized financial activities and enhance the overall security of wireless transactions.

Enhancing network protection is one of the main goals of RED
Source: Freepik

Obligations and Responsibilities of Economic Operators

The Radio Equipment Directive outlines distinct obligations and responsibilities for different economic operators involved in the supply chain of radio equipment:

Manufacturer's Obligation

Manufacturers must establish procedures to ensure their radio equipment meets the essential requirements of the Radio Equipment Directive. This includes implementing quality control procedures, conducting testing and inspections during the manufacturing process, and maintaining conformance records. 

Technical documentation demonstrating compliance with the directive must also be developed and maintained, containing information on design, construction, operation, test results, and applicable standards.

Manufacturers are responsible for issuing a declaration of compliance for their equipment and, in some cases, submitting certain categories of radio equipment to a notified authority for EU-type inspection.

Distributor's Responsibilities

Distributors play a critical role in ensuring compliance with the Radio Equipment Directive by handling radio equipment properly. Their responsibilities include:

  • Proper Storage: Distributors must store radio equipment in suitable conditions to prevent damage or degradation that could affect compliance.

  • Adequate Packaging: Using appropriate packaging materials protects equipment during transportation and storage, minimizing the risk of damage.

  • Compliance Documentation: Distributors should verify that each batch of equipment comes with the required compliance documentation, such as the declaration of conformity.

  • Traceability: Maintaining records of equipment origin and batch numbers allows for efficient recall procedures if needed.

  • Avoiding Counterfeit Products: Distributors should only deal with authorized manufacturers to prevent counterfeit and non-compliant equipment from entering the market.

  • Handling Returns: Establishing a process for handling returns and defective equipment ensures prompt action and resolution.

  • Regular Audits: Conducting internal audits helps identify and address compliance gaps.

By fulfilling these responsibilities, distributors contribute to the overall effectiveness of the Radio Equipment Directive and promote the safety and quality of radio equipment in the EU market.

Enhancing network protection is one of the main goals of RED
Source: Freepik

Importer's Obligations

Importers play a crucial role in ensuring that radio equipment entering the European Union (EU) market complies with the essential requirements outlined in the Radio Equipment Directive. Their responsibilities are critical to maintaining the safety, security and quality of radio equipment available to consumers within the EU.

Verification of Compliance

Importers must thoroughly verify that the radio equipment they intend to place on the EU market meets all the essential requirements of the Radio Equipment Directive. This verification process involves conducting checks to ensure that the equipment has been manufactured in accordance with the directive's technical standards, safety measures, and other relevant regulations. Importers may request documentation and test reports from manufacturers to substantiate compliance.

Declaration of Conformity

Importers should ensure that each piece of radio equipment comes with a valid Declaration of Conformity issued by the manufacturer. The Declaration of Conformity is a formal statement by the manufacturer indicating that the equipment complies with the Radio Equipment Directive’s essential requirements. This document proves that the radio equipment has undergone the necessary testing and assessment before being placed on the market.


To facilitate traceability and swift action in the event of safety issues or product recalls, importers must provide their company name, registered trade name, or registered trademark on the equipment, its packaging, or related documentation. This information allows authorities to identify the responsible party and take appropriate measures to address any potential risks or non-compliance.

Collaboration with Manufacturers

Importers must maintain open and effective communication with manufacturers to stay informed about any updates or changes to the radio equipment's compliance status. This collaboration ensures that any equipment modifications or technical specifications are properly documented and assessed for continued compliance with the Radio Equipment Directive.

Handling Non-Compliant Equipment

If an importer discovers that a batch of radio equipment needs to meet the essential requirements of the Radio Equipment Directive, they should take immediate action to rectify the situation. This may involve coordinating with the manufacturer to address the non-compliance, implementing corrective measures, or withholding the equipment from the market until it meets the necessary standards.


Importers should maintain comprehensive records of their verification processes, including all communication with manufacturers, relevant documentation, and test reports. Proper record-keeping helps demonstrate due diligence and compliance efforts in case of any regulatory inquiries or audits.

Protection of sensitive data must be ensured when using radio equipments
Source: Freepik

The Role of the Authorized Representative

The authorized representative plays a vital role in implementing and enforcing the Radio Equipment Directive by acting as a crucial intermediary between the manufacturer and regulatory authorities. Their responsibilities are centered on ensuring smooth communication and collaboration while upholding the compliance standards set by the Radio Equipment Directive.

Intermediary between Manufacturer and Authorities

The authorized representative is the primary point of contact between the manufacturer and market surveillance authorities within the EU. They facilitate communication channels, exchanging relevant information and documentation efficiently.

Handling Technical Documentation

Technical documentation is crucial to demonstrating compliance with the Radio Equipment Directive. The authorized representative ensures that all required technical documentation, including details on equipment design, construction, testing, and conformity assessment, is readily available and current. This documentation is essential for substantiating compliance during any regulatory inspections or inquiries.

Declarations of Conformity

As part of their role, authorized representatives ensure that the manufacturer issues valid Declarations of Conformity for the radio equipment. These declarations affirm that the equipment meets the essential requirements of the Radio Equipment Directive. The authorized representative must ensure that these declarations are accurate, complete, and properly filed.

Coordination during Inspections and Audit

In case of market surveillance inspections or audits, the authorized representative plays a crucial role in liaising with the regulatory authorities. They cooperate with the authorities, providing access to the necessary technical documentation and other relevant information to facilitate the inspection process.

Compliance Oversight

The authorized representative monitors and oversees the manufacturer's compliance with the Radio Equipment Directive's requirements. They work closely with the manufacturer to ensure necessary measures are taken to maintain compliance throughout the product's lifecycle.

Post-Market Surveillance

After the radio equipment is placed on the market, the authorized representative stays actively involved to address any potential safety issues or non-compliance incidents. They collaborate with the manufacturer to implement corrective actions, conduct recalls if needed, and report incidents to the relevant authorities.

Geographical Representation

For manufacturers based outside the EU, an authorized representative with a physical presence within the EU is required. The authorized representative acts as the manufacturer's local presence, helping to comply with EU regulations and standards.


The Radio Equipment Directive is a vital regulatory framework that ensures the quality, safety, and proper, secure operation of radio equipment within the EU market. It replaces the previous R&TTE Directive, extending its scope to encompass a wide range of radio devices. 

Manufacturers, distributors, importers, and authorized representatives all play crucial roles in ensuring compliance with the Radio Equipment Directive’s requirements. By adhering to the Radio Equipment Directive, economic operators contribute to advancing technology, the protection of consumers, and the promotion of the free movement of radio equipment across EU borders.

CCLab helps manufacturers comply with the existing cybersecurity standards that are to be the basis for the future harmonized standards of the Radio Equipment Directive Delegated Act, such as IoT cybersecurity standard ETSI EN 303 645. and  ISA/IEC 62443-4-2 standard for Industrial Control System Cybersecurity. Compliance with these relevant standards can help demonstrate conformity with the relevant requirements of the Radio Equipment Directive.

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