What is Pakistan/PTA Type Approval and Why do we need it ?
Type Approval is the regulatory approval process carried out by the telecommunication regulator in almost all countries to assess and evaluate any telecommunication equipment for its conformity and compliance with the applicable country regulation.
This assessment by the regulator is necessary to ensure that:
· the telecommunication equipment does not violate the country wide set standards
· operates in the allowed national frequency bands
· has no hidden/cryptic functions within the device and
· has allowed radio emissions level in-line with the country allowed limits
Pakistan Type Approval process, in similar fashion, is carried out by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to ensure that all telecommunication equipment imported or manufactured in Pakistan adheres to the telecommunication equipment standards set out by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and Frequency Allocation Board of Pakistan (FAB).
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This article will take a deep dive into the PTA Type Approval process covering the below aspects:
1- Overview of Pakistan Type Approval Process
Pakistan Type Approval is the official request by the equipment manufacturer to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to formally evaluate the telecommunication equipment for its suitability with the allowed telecommunication standards and the enacted Type Approval regulation of Pakistan.
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) then proceeds with the Type approval application evaluation, upon submission, and either approves or rejects the application depending upon application’s compliance with the enacted national type approval standards.
2- Requirements for PTA Type Approval
PTA Type Approval process has key requirements as below:
i- Required documents with the application
ii- Required device sample with the application
iii- Payment of all applicable fees by the applicant
iv- Issuance of GSMA Type Approval code for all IMEI based devices
The key required documents with the application include technical literature i.e. User Manual, Operating/technical description, Data Sheet etc., Declaration of Conformity (DoC) and the required test reportsincluding EMC, RF and Safety/Health test reports.
Please note that it is mandatory to submit a device sample (with all of its accessories) with the PTA Type Approval application package as well.
However, there can be some exceptional scenarios under which Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) might consider exempting the device submission with the application.
Such scenarios include devices with extremely high value (with manufacturing cost excelling US $2,000) and devices with exceptionally large size. There can be other exemption scenarios too based on sole discretion of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).
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3- NOC/COC requirement for SIM based Type Approval Sample
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has a regulated whitelisting process for all cellular devices with IMEI numbers. This whitelisting is carried out through issuance of NOC/COC to the applicant.
For the sake of clarity, NOC refers to “No Objection Certificate” and COC refers to “Certificate of Compliance with Technical Standards”.
Given this IMEI whitelisting requirement, all Type Approval samples with IMEI numbers also require COC at the time of customs clearance in Pakistan.
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has allowed the import of up to five devices by any entity for the purpose of testing and trial and onwards submission to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) for Type Approval process.
The whitelisting of devices in commercial shipments is carried out through an automated application process which should be lodged online at PTA DIRBS portal.
4- Exempted equipment from PTA Type Approval
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) issues list of exempted equipment from Type Approval from time to time.
To be precise, exempted equipment is the equipment which does not require Type Approval in Pakistan and it can be imported and manufactured without the PTA Type Approval.
As per the latest 2021 PTA type approval regulation, following devices are exempt from Type Approval process:
a- Networking equipment consisting of switches, firewalls, servers and storage devices
b- Non-Sim based Laptops/desktops
c- GPS only devices
It is worth mentioning that apart from the above equipment categories, all other telecommunication equipment requires Pakistan Type Approval.
5- The assessment process
Once a complete Pakistan Type Approval application is received by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) including complete required documents and the mandatory sample, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) performs its compliance verification activities on the application package.
This verification includes documents and test reports checking, sample functioning and the outcome of system, OS, firmware and hardware level testing performed on the sample by the Authority.
During this assessment process, any missing or additionally required application documents can be requested by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) from the Type Approval applicant.
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) can also request for a technical demo of the device at its sole discretion.
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6- Certificate issuance
Once the application is found to be complete in all below aspects, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) may issue the Type approval certificate to the applicant:
1- Completely and accurately filled application form with required undertakings
2- Verification of Declaration of Conformity (DOC) and required EMC, RF and Safety/Health test reports
3- Alignment of the device technical parameters mentioned in the technical literature with the DoC and device test reports
4- Device sample testing completion as per Authority’s requirements
The PTA Type Approval certificate has unlimited validity.
A re-approval is only required in cases where the applicant/manufacturer introduces hardware level changes into the device.
In cases, where only software upgrades/updates are implemented by the manufacturer within the device, a re-approval is not required as per Pakistan Type Approval regulation.
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) can also issue a duplicate copy of the Type Approval certificate upon receiving a duly filled and signed application from the applicant along with the applicable authority fees.
7- Post Type Approval responsibilities of the Type Approval holder
Once the Type Approval certificate is issued to the applicant, the Type Approval holder is required to exercise below requirements:
a. Approved Equipment Identification through Labeling
All PTA Type approved equipment needs to comply with the below labeling requirements:
i – The label should include the wording “Approved by PTA” and the Type Approval certificate number at the minimum.
ii- There are no sizing requirements. This labeling can be affixed on the device, device packaging or on the device user manual.
iii- The labeling can also be included electronically, in-case the type approved device can only operate in conjunction with a terminal with display.
b. Re-approval requirements
PTA Type approval holder needs to ensure that the approved device remains as per the approved hardware and design parameters.
Further, in-case of any changes within the applicant company ownership, address change, manufacturing details change etc., the type approval holder needs to communicate these changes to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and should get the Type Approval certificate duly updated.
8- Uses of the Type Approval certificate
The issued type approval certificate helps the certificate holder in many ways including:
i- streamlining the device import activities to Pakistan. When the Type Approval certificate is included with the commercial shipment documents, the customs clearance times greatly reduces helping the Type Approval holder/applicant save crucial time to market and also reduce customs clearance overheads.
ii- helping the certificate holder/applicant to market and sell the approved device(s) all over Pakistan helping with the market share and competitive dynamics
iii- providing the ability to work with any local importer in Pakistan. Type Approval certificate holder just needs to provide the Type Approval certificate to the local importer and the importer can easily get the shipment custom cleared (pursuant to meeting other customs requirements e.g. having operational WEBOC account, NTN, etc.)
We hope that you have found this detailed overview of the Pakistan Type Approval process helpful. Please feel free to contact us in case of any questions you might have related to any of the PTA Type Approval process aspect.