Mexico: New Conformity Assessment Procedure for Telecommunication Products, and Technical Standard for Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) Testing

01 March 2021 Legal News: International Publication
Authors: Marcos Carrasco Menchaca Alejandro N Gomez-Strozzi Erika Padilla

Under a new Conformity Assessment Procedure issued by the Mexican Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT, as per its acronym in Spanish), effective February 25, 2021, the Certificates of Conformity (CoC) covering telecom products will no longer be transferable, and the certificates obtained by individual components cannot be extended to the final product. Therefore, each importer, distributor or seller of telecom products in Mexico must obtain their own Technical Standards (NOMs, as per its acronym in Spanish) CoC, and the required subsequent IFT Approval (also referred here as homologation). We should note that holders of CoCs issued prior to February 25, 2021, still need to obtain the corresponding IFT Approval for them not to lose their validity.

The new Conformity Assessment Procedure establishes four certification schemes according to the needs of the applicant, and product categories: (i) sample by product models for a single lot; (ii) sample by product models, and oversight for more than one lot; (iii) sample per model family, and oversight; and (iv) sample by telecommunications or broadcasting device, and oversight. In the schemes that include an “oversight” procedure, the Accredited Certification Body must carry out compliance monitoring visits in warehouses and points of sale owned or leased by the CoC owner.

Another relevant change is that a product may only be tested twice, one for each sample. If the product fails both tests, the laboratory must issue a non-conformity report and conclude the evaluation procedure; a modified product, however, may be submitted for new testing.

The new procedure seeks to have the following impacts on the Mexican telecom market:

  1. Assure the IFT homologation of all certified products (to date, only 58% of certified products are IFT homologated).
  2. Extend the scope of certification to cover infrastructure and broadcasting products.
  3. Through the elimination of transferability, increase traceability of CoC ownership, test reports and inspection opinions.
  4. More efficient and expeditious procedures by privileging digital information transmission among conformity assessment bodies, the IFT, and companies interested in obtaining a CoC.
  5. Increased alignment of the previous four schemes with global trends such as 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT).
  6. A strengthened post-market surveillance program.
  7. Creation of a more agile, flexible and faster homologation process.
  8. Provision of digital records of CoCs and letters of non-conformity in the IFT´s database

Additionally, on February 26, 2021, the new technical standard IFT-012-2019 for Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) testing and certification entered into force.

IFT-012-2019 applies to products, equipment or devices with a radio frequency transmitter or transceiver, that make use of radio spectrum or connect to a telecommunications network in the frequency range from 30 MHz to 6 GHz and which are used:

  • Near the head, particularly close to the ear, in the frequency range of 300 MHz to 6 GHz, and/or
  • At a distance equal or lesser than 200 mm from the human body, in the frequency range from 30 MHz to 6 GHz.

Please note that previously certified devices that fall under the aforementioned specifications must comply with the new regulations, and that the testing can exclusively be done by an Accredited Certification Body located in Mexico.

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