Comparisons Between the Radio Equipment Directive and Related Acts

The Directorate General of the European Commission prepares to adopt delegated acts in two new areas under the RED, and provides clarification between the RED and other related EU acts.

Delegated acts under the Radio Equipment Directive 2014/53/EU (RED)

The RED applies to radio equipment, i.e. wireless equipment (electrical/electronic equipment which communicates via radio waves), including 5G equipment.

The following are examples of wireless radio equipment:

  • mobile phones
  • radio receivers
  • GPS
  • laptops
  • drones
  • household appliances with radio modules
  • office equipment that communicates wirelessly

The Radio Equipment Directive has requirements on multiple aspects of the radio equipment, along with radio frequency requirements.

The RED has requirements on the following aspects:

  • health and safety (safety objectives of the Low Voltage Directive 2014/35/EU)
  • electromagnetic compatibility (essential requirements of the Electromagnetic Compatibility Directive 2014/30/EU)
  • efficient use of the radio spectrum

It also includes, in Article 3 (3), additional requirements such as interoperability, cybersecurity, access to emergency services, and etc. which apply if related delegated acts are adopted and only to those categories or classes of radio equipment specified in these delegated acts.

Work is being done to adopt new delegated acts in the following two areas:

  • fraud, personal data and privacy, relating to Art 3.3(e) and (f) of the RED
  • combination of software with radio equipment, relating to Art 3 (3) (i) and/or 4 of the RED

Comparison/Differences between RED and some other related EU acts

Low Voltage Directive 2014/35/EU (LVD)

The LVD has requirements on safety. It applies to electrical equipment within certain voltage range (very low voltage and very high voltage equipment is not covered). The LVD includes provisions only on safety, while the RED includes provisions on other aspects as well.

Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC (MD)

The MD applies to robots and to a wide range of other consumer and industrial products such as 3D printers, lawnmowers, construction machines or complete production lines, and anything that has moving parts. With respect to wireless machinery, both the RED and MD apply. For the safety aspects, i.e. where there is overlap between RED and MD, preference is given to the more specific EU legislation (i.e. the MD).

General Product Safety Directive 2001/95 (GPSD)

GPSD regulates safety. It does not apply to professional products (but only to consumer products). When RED applies to the product, and since it covers/regulates safety risks, the provisions of the GPSD on safety risks do not apply.

General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 (GDPR)

GDPR is about the process, i.e. how the data is managed, by imposing requirements/obligations on data controllers, processors, etc. It does not concern market access of products.

E-privacy Legislation

Like the GDPR, it does not concern market access of products.

Toy Safety Directive 2009/48/EC (TSD)

With respect to electrical toys, the TSD applies with the RED (if the electrical toy is wireless). On safety aspects, i.e. where there is overlap between RED and TSD, preference is given to the more specific EU legislation (i.e the TSD).

EU legislation on liability for defective products

This legislation does not deal with the technical characteristics of products.

EU Cybersecurity Act

It is not yet known to what extent and when it will apply to products covered by the RED because the detailed scheme(s) will be specified via implementing acts.

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