Distribution and Installation
The Role of the Communications Authority
On February 1 2001 Ministerial Decree 3/2001 (I 31), regulating radio equipment and telecommunications terminal equipment in Hungary, entered into effect. The decree accords with relevant European legislation, including:
- Directive 1999/5/EC of the European Parliament and Council regarding radio equipment and telecommunications terminal equipment, and the mutual recognition of their conformity;
- Commission Directive 88/301/EEC on competition in the telecommunications terminal equipment markets; and
- Commission Decision 2000/299/EC establishing the initial classification of radio equipment and telecommunications terminal equipment, and associated identifiers.
Prior to the decree the import, distribution and use of any radio or telecommunications terminal equipment required the formal approval of the Communications Authority. In some instances, particularly if the equipment was new to the Hungarian market, this 'type approval' process of the Communications Authority could take a relatively long time, significantly affecting a manufacturer's ability to launch a competitive product in Hungary in a timely manner.
Any radio equipment and telecommunications terminal equipment used or manufactured in, or imported into, Hungary must be produced in a manner so that it:
- is not hazardous to the life, health or safety of the user or that of other people, including compliance with safety standards defined in other laws;
- complies with electro-magnetic compatibility requirements specified under other laws;
- utilizes the radio frequency spectrum in an effective manner (radio equipment only);
- is able to cooperate with other equipment in the telecommunications network and is compatible with defined interface standards (to the extent applicable);
- will not cause harmful effects to the telecommunications network or its operations, and will not use the network resources in an ineffective manner, resulting in unreasonable restrictions (to the extent applicable);
- is able to protect personal data and the privacy of users and subscribers (to the extent applicable);
- is able prevent misuse (to the extent applicable);
- can provide access to emergency services (to the extent applicable); and
- can be used by disabled people (to the extent applicable).
Under the decree any equipment compliant with the relevant harmonized and/or localized harmonized standards will be deemed to be in conformity with the basic requirements. (Harmonized standards are those accepted by recognized European standardization institutes, as published in the Official Journal of the European Communities. Localized harmonized standards are harmonized standards enacted in accordance with Hungarian law.)
Radio and telecommunications terminal equipment may be distributed and installed in Hungary only if:
- upon proper installation, such equipment conforms with the basic requirements of the decree;
it bears the official 'CE' (Conformité Européen) or 'H' marking (representing fulfilment of safety and electro-magnetic compliance requirements, as declared by the manufacturer in its declaration of conformity). This marking must be placed on the equipment and on the packaging (if feasible), as well as on the manual and and/or the warranty declaration. The marking must be easy to read and cannot be removed, and no other signs may be applied which are misleadingly similar to the 'CE' or 'H' marking;
- the manufacturer includes a declaration of conformity with the equipment. In the declaration of conformity, the manufacturer must declare in its own name and for its own liability that the equipment fulfils the basic requirements. The declaration of conformity must be available for review by the authority for a term of 10 years commencing from the date of the first distribution of the equipment in Hungary; and
- the manufacturer includes an operating manual for the equipment in the Hungarian language. In the case of radio equipment it must also supply information for the user in the operating manual and on the packaging regarding the intended location (country) of use, including restrictions on use in such country, if any. In the case of telecommunications terminal equipment, it must supply information for the user in the operating manual and on the packaging regarding the interfaces to which the equipment is designed to be connected.
An operator of a telecommunications network may not prohibit connection of any radio or telecommunications terminal equipment to its network as long as the equipment fulfils the basic requirements of the decree. Equipment in compliance with the basic requirements may be disconnected only if it causes material damage to the network or harmful interference to navigation, emergency or any other radio services, or adversely affects the operation of the network.
A manufacturer (distributor) of equipment that does not satisfy the basic requirements of the decree is permitted to present the equipment to the public at exhibitions as long as the equipment bears a label which, in an easy readable format, indicates that such equipment may not be distributed or installed in Hungary.
The Role of the Communications Authority
The Communications Authority no longer examines the conformity of radio or telecommunications terminal equipment by means of review of the technical documentation, or laboratory testing, of each piece (type) of equipment distributed and used in Hungary. Rather, it monitors the market by periodically reviewing equipment used and distributed in Hungary. Specifically, the Communications Authority monitors equipment to ensure that:
- the manufacturer has issued a declaration of conformity and has all the underlying technical documentation in its possession;
- the equipment and its packaging and operating manual bear the required markings; and
- the equipment is in compliance with the declaration of conformity.
In order to conduct these activities the Communications Authority may request copies of any documentation relating to such equipment, and obtain samples or conduct trial purchases of such equipment. In its review process the Communications Authority may apply only the basic requirements and other criteria as set forth in the decree. If, as a result of the examination, the Communications Authority establishes that certain equipment does not fulfil the basic requirements, it may restrict or prohibit distribution, installation and operation of such equipment in Hungary.
For further information on this topic please contact István Réczicza or Balázs Fazekas at Réczicza Law Firm White & Case LLP by telephone (+36 1 488 5200) or by fax (+36 1 488 5299) or by e-mail ([email protected] or [email protected]).
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