WPC Certification

Is your wireless storage device compliant with these regulations?

calendar15 Jan, 2024
timeReading Time: 11 Minutes
wireless storage device

The Wireless Planning and Coordination Wing (WPC) was established as part of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology in 1952. It is a specialized office of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT)that manages radio spectrum and radio stations operating on specific frequency bands ETA, maintains coordination between multiple wireless services, and also licenses and regulates wireless networks and their service providers as well as individual wireless devices that operate on the frequency spectrum.

ETA, which stands for Equipment Type Approval, is a license and certification certifying conformity with Wireless USB certification standards. It is required for wireless devices used in radio stations, remote sensing and other electronic devices, and wireless network interfaces in India. The WPC ETA certificate is necessary if you want to set up a wireless devices production or manufacturing business in India or engage in the import/export of devices that have Local Area Network (LAN) or Wi-Fi-enabled devices. WPC ETA certification ensures compliance with Indian wireless regulations, authorizes the sale of wireless products in India, and provides access to the Indian market. It is necessary for all wireless products using radio waves and is part of the Ministry of Communications. This certification is essential for companies seeking to enter the Indian market with wireless devices, ensuring adherence to the regulatory requirements and signifying the high-grade quality of the product.

What is WPC ETA Certification for Wireless Pen Drives?

Wireless pen drives or USB drives are portable digital storage devices that facilitate data transfer from one system to another. It is necessary to comply with requirements for all wireless devices and gadgets that have an in-built radio frequency emitter and transit data and information through wireless transfer. A typical wireless pen drive or USB drive contains a small circuit board containing circuit elements, which act as a Read Only Memory (ROM) interface for the device, a flash memory chip covered by a plastic covering, and a protruding USB connector. The device uses Erasable Programmable ROM (EPROM) technology, which allows it to feed and erase data on its electronic memory, and the same can be transferred to a portable system as well, such as a computer, laptop, hand-held devices, cloud storage devices, etc. Storage capacity of wireless pen drives or flash drives ranges from 8 Gigabytes to 2 Terabytes.

For companies that manufacture or import wifi and Bluetooth–enabled wireless devices, this certification is essential for them to manufacture, sell, and export their products in the Indian market as well as abroad. Foreign companies that import and distribute wireless pen drives and USB-enabled storage devices in the Indian Market are required to apply and obtain a WPC ETA certification through an authorized Indian representative (AIR) who shall make an application with the WPC on their behalf.

Categories of WPC Authorizations  

The Ministry of Communications has defined three types of WPC licenses applicable to WPC ETA certified wireless pen drives, which are available to manufacturers, distributors, and importers/exporters of wireless devices. Foreign manufacturers and distributors of wireless products and devices must designate an Authorized Indian Representative (AIR) who would apply for a WPC certification with the statutory authorities on behalf of the foreign entity. The categories of licenses are – 

1. Non-Network License 

This license is applicable to manufacturers of radio frequencies who work on private short-distance or limited frequencies or who work in certain niche areas of communication systems, such as Cable TV Operators, Maritime Mobile Station, Radio paging or textual messages transmission, Aeronautical mobile stations, etc. This license is required for the purpose of operating a business that falls in the category of non-network category specified by the Department of Telecommunications. Based on the use and the nature of ownership, the non-network license is divided into three subcategories.

a)  Import License – This license is required to be obtained by a foreign business trying to export or distribute its wireless pen drive, USB flash drives, and other wireless devices in the Indian market. 

b) Dealer Possession License– A Dealer Possession License (DLP) is required by an organization or individual that deals in the import and sale of wireless pen drives by an authorized dealer.

c) Non-Dealer Possession License– This type of license is granted to an individual who does not wish to possess or deal with wireless devices on which WPC ETA compliances apply, such as wireless pen drives and USB flash drives.

2. Network License

A Network License is provided to companies or network service distributors who provide limited or restricted network services through their radio frequency to a group of customers or subscribers, such as mobile network companies, DTH cable providers, broadband internet, etc. 

The entities that want to provide broadband internet services to their customers must obtain an ISP (Internet Service Provider) license from the Ministry of Telecommunications. Furthermore, if someone wants to conduct experiments on hybrid instruments or gadgets of a wireless nature, they can apply for an experimental license from the Wireless Planning and Coordination Wing.

Since WPC ETA certified wireless pen drive manufacturers would not fall in the category of Internet Service Provider, this sub-license would not apply to them. However, there is another subcategory that is required for the experimental use of wireless pen drives and USB flash drives. An experimental license under the network license category would allow the company or individual to conduct research or experiments on wireless pen drives and other storage devices. 

3. Equipment Type Approval 

Equipment Type Approval (ETA) is a WPC compliance for USB drives provided by the Department of Telecommunications with respect to importing unlicensed frequency-based wireless and Bluetooth devices. ETA is necessary for all kinds of radio-frequency (RF) based, wireless and Bluetooth, mobile, and television network transmission technologies and devices imported into India. However, if the router, modem device, or product is manufactured in India and only the RF/wireless or Bluetooth-compliant module is fitted outside, such a finished product does not require any separate WPC ETA certificate.

WPC approval is not required for products and devices exempted from import licensing requirements to operate in the unlicensed frequency band, such as mobile handsets, smartphones, laptops, mice, keyboards, CPUs, printers and scanners, headphones, speakers, etc. A WPC ETA certificate can be obtained by submitting an RF test report from an ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratory.

Significance of WPC Equipment Type Approval – ETA for wireless storage device

Equipment Type Approval (ETA) is consent provided by the Department of Telecommunication swith respect to importing unlicensed frequency-based wireless and Bluetooth devices and products. ETA is necessary for all kinds of radio-frequency (RF) based, wireless and Bluetooth, mobile, and television network transmission technologies and devices imported into India Hence, ETA-certified Wireless pen drives and USB flash drives are a market standard for wireless storage and data-transmission devices.

Wireless pen drive certification is necessary compliance since it serves as a mandatory statutory licensing requirement for all other businesses dealing in Bluetooth and wireless devices as well, such as smartphones, laptops, keyboards, CPUs, printers and scanners, headphones, and speakers. An application for an ETA for a wireless pen drive can be made both online and by submitting a hard copy of requisite documents to the WPC Office.

Documents required for Equipment Type Approval

In order to obtain an Equipment Type Approval (ETA) for wireless pen drives, the following documents are required to be submitted by the Business owner or manufacturer or importer of wireless pen drives to the Department of Telecommunications –

  • ID proof, registered address, and other details – CIN, PAN, AOA, of the wireless pen drive manufacturing or distribution business.
  • ID and address proof, AADHAR, PAN, and personal details of the owner of the wireless pen drive manufacturing business.
  • Authorization letter on behalf of a Foreign Company, appointing an AIR to make an application on their behalf (if required)
  • Radio Frequency (RF) from an authorized laboratory, stating compliance with technical specifications such as Frequency range, bandwidth, and spectrum density, among others.
  • Provide a technical guide and details of the wireless pen drives and other related products being sold by the business owner of the manufacturing unit.

What is the procedure to apply for a WPC certificate for Wireless Devices?

Applying for an ETA certificate for wireless pen drives involves examination and testing of the wireless pen drive and USB flash drives. ETA approval is essential for manufacturing and distributing wireless devices in India since it ensures the safety of wireless devices. The ETA certificate is issued by registering on the Saral Sanchar portal of the DoT and making an application for WPC ETA Certification. This process serves the needs of all wireless users and emphasizes compliance with Indian wireless regulations, contributing to the safety and security of wireless devices in the Indian market.

Step 1- Registration on the WPCC Portal

The first step to obtaining a WPC ETA Certificate is registering online on the SaralSachar Portal of the Department of Telecommunications Portal by making the choice of the type of products or devices you wish to import or manufacture and paying the requisite application fees. The applicant is also required to provide a self-declaration for the application, details of the Business or Manufacturing Unit, necessary documents, and approvals. After all the necessary details are required to satisfy WPC compliances for USB drives, the applicant will receive an Application ID. 

Step 2- Getting Radio Frequency (RF) test reports

Assessing wireless equipment for radio frequency parameters and efficiency is crucial. The acceptance of Radio Frequency (RF)testing reports from an ILAC-accredited foreign lab or an NABL-accredited lab for WPCETA approval simplifies the process, ensuring compliance with national regulations and standards.

Step 3- Application and Document Submission

Submitting an application for the WPC Certification requires detailed information about the wireless device. Essential documents include test reports, technical specifications, and import licenses. The process involves great communication with the WPC department and using the Saral Sanchar portal for online applications. All the details and information should be filled in correctly and as per the information required; otherwise, it can lead to cancellation or rejection of the application.

Step 4- Payment of Government Fees

The final step involves paying the government fee payment of Rs. 10,000/- for the WPC ETA certificate, ensuring observance of WPC compliance for USB drives. It may also include consultation fees and is essential for WPC ETA certification approval. The process takes place through the Ministry of Communications’ Saral Sanchar Portal and takes about 30 days.

Step 5- Receiving the WPC ETA certificate

Upon approval, the WPC ETA certificate is issued, signifying adherence to wireless devices and communication and radio frequency band regulations mandated by the Ministry of Communications. It serves as official recognition of compliance with regulatory standards for radio frequency testing reports, internet connections, and imported equipment. Issued by the WPC wing of the Ministry of Communications. Hence, your wireless pen drive certification process is complete, and your product can be legally imported to and sold in the Indian markets.

RF (Radio Frequency) Test Report

Demonstrating compliance with Frequency Bands, the Radio Frequency test report is an important technical assessment necessary for validating a wireless product’s conformity to the DoT guidelines. It is also an essential requirement for obtaining the WPC ETA certificate for wireless and Bluetooth devices. Department of Telecommunication and Wireless Pen Drive manufacturing businesses rely on the test report to ensure compliance with unlicensed frequency bands, making it a prerequisite for obtaining authorization to apply for WPC ETA certified wireless pen drives and other wireless devices. Acquiring the RF test report from authorized testing labs further emphasizes the importance of radio frequency testing in the certification process.

A Radio Test Report should be obtained from a National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) Accredited test laboratory or any other International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) Accredited Foreign Lab. Additionally, it has to be kept in mind that the foreign lab must be compliant with ISO/IEC 17025 standards.

Fees payable for WPC Certificate

They are required to be paid at the Saral Sanchar Portal of the Department of Telecommunication for the purpose of obtaining approval for manufacturing or importing WPC ETA-certified wireless pen drives. The fee-break-up is as follows –

  • Government Fee (including stamp duty) – Rs. 10,500/-
  • Professional Fees – Rs. 7,500
  • Net Payable fee – Rs. 17,500-18,000/-

At Corpbiz, our single-window compliance assistance system ensures that your WPC ETA certified wireless pen drive business runs smoothly and efficiently, whereas all your compliance-related needs and filing of requisite fees and charges are taken care of without hefty overhead expenses. Our professional services at Corpbiz would enable you to obtain the necessary licenses and approvals required for wireless pen drive certification from the concerned Statutory Authorities from the comfort of your home.

Timeframe for processing the WPC ETA Certification Process

Once the Application for manufacturing and distributing WPC ETA-certified wireless pen drives is received by the Department of Telecommunications through the online portal, the same is scrutinized and examined by the WPC officials for relevant details, and if the application is approved, the WPC ETA certificate is issued to the applicant within a period of 25-30 days. After the examination of the application, the WPC either approves or suggests rectifications to the application, which are required to be replied to. After removing all the discrepancies from the applications, WPC compliance for USB drives is complete, and wireless pen drive certification in the form of WPC ETA certification is issued by the authority.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is WPC, and who regulates it?

WPC stands for Wireless Planning and Coordination Department of Telecommunications of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. Established in 1952, the Department of Telecommunications is the nodal regulatory authority for frequency spectrum management for radio stations and wireless devices. WPC ETA (Equipment Type Approval) Certificate is a verification, signifying that a particular wireless device producer or manufacturer and its products comply with the standards set by the Ministry.

2. What is the purpose and significance of WPC Certification?

In India, all wifi and Bluetooth-enabled wireless devices are required to hold a valid WPC ETA certification from the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, expressing their compliance with the government-approved radio frequency bands and broadcasting regulations. A WPC ETA certified wireless pen drive signifies that the wireless product is safe, quality-checked, and fit for consumer use in India as well as abroad. Without a valid WPC certification for wireless pen drives, you would not be able to manufacture or sell your products in the Indian Market.

3. Who is required to have a WPC Certification for wireless pen drives?

Foreign manufacturers and distributors ofwireless pen drivesin India and Domestic Manufacturers and Importers are some of the entities that require a WPC ETA certification.

4. What is an Equipment Type Approval Certificate (ETA)

Equipment Type Approval Certificate is a technical examination and approval of a wireless pen drive and USB Flash drive, verifying that it passes human safety standards and meets the technical specifications related to wireless frequency and RF standards. It also certifies that the product is fit to be sold in India by domestic manufacturers or imported in India by a foreign distributor.

5. What is the Process for Applying for a WPC ETA Certification for a wireless pen drive manufacturing Business?

To apply for an authorization certificate required formanufacturing WPC ETA-certified wireless pen drives or USB storage devices, the applicant needs to first make an online application on the SARAL SANCAHR Portal of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and complete the requisite formalities.

6. What is the preferred mode of making a WPC ETA application?

Yes, an applicant can apply by making a physical, hard-copy submission with the concerned Regional Licensed Officers (RLOs) and obtaining ETA from a regional WPC India Office as well.

7. What is the cost incurred to apply for a WPC ETA Certificate?

The Government Cost and the stamp duty applicable for applying for a WPC ETA Certificate is Rs. 17,000, including the cost of Professional consultation.

8. How much time does it take tentatively to receive a WPC ETA Certificate for wireless pen drives and other wireless network-routing devices?

It takes about 25-30 days for the WPC officials to examine and assess the application and issue a WPC Certificate after careful examination of the application.

9. Who is a WPC Consultant?

A WPC consultant, like Corpbiz, facilitates the application process applicable to the products and helps an applicant with formalities such as submission to WPC India, getting an RF test from an accredited lab for ETA Approval, Obtaining the WPC ETA, submission of mandatory disclosure documents such as IEC certificate and making payment of the Government fees applicable to the existing ETA along with any other miscellaneous application formality. Corpbiz’s extensive experience in providing WPC ETA application services will provide you with the edge you need to set up or expand your wireless network or digital device manufacturing business without any hassle.

10. What is the process to get a WPC Certification for wireless pen drives?

The process to obtain WPC Certification for wireless pen drives and USB flash drives certificate is as follows –
1. Registering on the WPC Online Portal
2. Getting Radio Frequency (RF) testing reports
3. Application and Document Submission
4. Paying the Government Fees
5. Making requisite changes and supplying rectifications to the queries sent by the Department of Telecommunications
6. Receiving the WPC ETA Certificate after verification

11. How are testing laboratories for Radio Frequency accredited in India?

The National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) is the National Body that accredits testing laboratories in India as per international standards.

12. What is the government-prescribed Standard of foreign accredited labs with respect to Radio Frequency testing?

Foreign accredited labs authorized to conduct technical testing of wireless devices such as USB and storage drives must comply with the IS standard – ISO/IEC 17025 as set by the International Laboratory Accreditation CooperationLab (ILCA)

13. How can I find a Government-approved laboratory for Radio Frequency testing for my wireless pen drive manufacturing business?

In order to get a Radio Frequency Testing report for your wireless pen drive manufacturing or import business, you are required to find a Government-approved testing laboratory. Finding an NABL-accredited and Department of Telecommunications-approved laboratory can be a challenging task. Corpbiz facilitates the application process for you by having the required tests and verifications done from a government-approved laboratory, hence saving you time, cost, and effort of collecting all the requisite compliances.

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