NFC equipment is required to be homologated by Anatel in order to be allowed to be commercialised in Brazil. In this article we describe the Anatel homologation procedure for NFC equipment.
NFC Adoption and Regulation
Near Field Communication technology is expected to cause disruptions across various economic sectors in the near future, mainly due to its applications such as facilitating electronic payment from personal devices. Even though it is currently not adopted by the mainstream public for everyday tasks, the technology has significant potential due to the fact that it is already present in millions of devices in major global markets such as Brazil.
As is the case for other telecommunication technologies, manufacturers and distributors of NFC equipment like payment terminals and data transmitters must have their products certified prior to their introduction to the Brazilian market. The procedures described in this article are only required for active NFC transmitters, as passive NFC equipment like identification tags do not need to be certified in order to be allowed to be used or commercialised in Brazilian territory.
Homologation by Anatel
Telecommunication products used or commercialised in Brazil are required to undergo a homologation process instituted by Anatel, or the Brazilian telecommunications agency. As mentioned in our article How to Obtain an Anatel Product Homologation, the process is handled by an OCD, or a Designated Certification Organisation. These are described as third-party institutions accredited by Anatel to provide product certification services. One of the OCDs able to handle the homologation procedure described in this article is Brazilian company Master Certifications.
Other institutions involved in the homologation process are accredited laboratories, which conduct testing procedures in order to assure the compliance of the equipment to Brazilian standards. Test results and certificates emitted by foreign institutions are not valid in Brazil, and only national laboratories can take part in the Anatel homologation process.
Anatel product homologation can be requested by the equipment manufacturer or its local distributor, and it should be noted that foreign manufacturers interested in having their products homologated in Brazil must have a legal representative established in the country. At the end of the homologation process, the product suppliers are provided with an Anatel identification seal and identification number, which must be included on each product commercialised in Brazilian territory.
Any equipment sold without the Anatel identification seal and identification number can lead to the product supplier to receive punitive measures such as fines and removal of products from retail chains.
Anatel Categorisation of NFC Equipment
Current Anatel regulation does not list NFC equipment as a discriminated category of telecommunication products, or include content such as specific guidelines or laboratory testing procedures for these products. However, due to their technical specifications products that include active NFC transmitters are categorised as “Restricted Radiation Equipment” by Anatel’s guidelines, and are therefore susceptible to undergoing the homologation process for this product category.
The technical requirements for Restricted Radiation Equipment include a limit for the power of the transmission signal that depends on the frequency in which these types of equipment function. NFC transmitters, according to their standards, transmit signals at 13.56 MHz and Anatel regulation states that at this frequency range the signal cannot exceed an intensity of 30mV per meter when measured at a distance of 30 meters.
Product suppliers should note that some categories of equipment that include NFC transmitters, as is the case of smartphones, are given a specific set of requirements when undergoing homologation. Additionally, NFC equipment with multiple telecommunication functions and other technologies can be subject to testing procedures and requirements not listed in this article.
Summary of the Homologation Process
The first step in the homologation process requires product suppliers to contact an OCD in order to request a Certificate of Conformity, a document that attests the compliance of the telecommunication product to Brazilian standards for functionality and safety of use. The OCD is responsible for demanding a list of documents and information prior to the start of the certification process, and these can include:
- General information regarding the product supplier
- Information regarding the manufacturer and manufacturing facilities
- Technical specifications for the product
- Product manuals
- Internal and external photographs of the product
Following the approval for the start of the product certification process, the OCD and the product suppliers choose from a list of accredited laboratories that are able to proceed with the testing for the specific product categories. The OCD is also responsible for requesting a number of product samples to be sent to the laboratory where the testing will be conducted. It should be noted that the following testing requirements are only applied to finished products that include NFC capabilities, and are not required to NFC transmission modules undergoing homologation.
In the case of Restricted Radiation Equipment, some of the requirements for the testing for functionality, electromagnetic compatibility and safety of use standards include:
- Resistance to electrical disturbances in power input port and telecommunication ports, if present in the equipment
- Resilience of signal to electromagnetic disturbances
- Resistance to electrical discharges conducted by air and by direct contact
- Immunity to reduction and temporary absence of power
- Protection against overheating, fire ignition and electric shock
Other testing procedures specific for the category of Restricted Radiation Equipment include the measurement of the strength of the signal generated by its transmitters. Similarly to other types of equipment, these transmitters are not allowed to interfere with existing telecommunication systems or emit signals in frequencies not listed in their specifications.
Following the approval of the test results and of the requested documents and information, the OCDs issue a Certificate of Conformity for the evaluated equipment. The last steps in the homologation process include registering the product on Anatel’s databases, a procedure that requires the emission of the following list of documents and information to the agency:
- General information regarding the product supplier and manufacturer
- Proof of the legal status of the product supplier
- Product manual translated to Portuguese
- Photographs of the product with a prototype of the Anatel identification seal
After these steps, product suppliers are provided with a finalised version of the Anatel identification seal and the Anatel identification code to be stuck on each product intended for commercialisation.
Restricted Radiation Equipment is required to have their Anatel Homologation renewed after a period of two years. The renewal process is also conducted by the OCD, which can ask for the emission of updated documents and for another round of laboratory tests. Homologation renewals must also be registered on Anatel’s databases, a process that requires the emission of the same documents listed for the first homologation.
OCDs Accredited for Homologation of NFC Equipment
Brazilian company Master is an OCD accredited by Anatel to conduct the certification procedure for NFC equipment, and handles the entirety of the process from requisition of documents to the emission of Certificates of Conformity for telecommunication products.
Master is specialised in assisting foreign product suppliers interested in introducing their products to the Brazilian market under full compliance to the country’s regulation. Aside from NFC equipment, Master is entitled to certify over a hundred types of telecommunication products, including mobile phones and their components, broadband connection equipment, restricted radiation equipment and radio transmitters.