PTCRB Certification

For devices with wireless
technologies in the U.S.

Similar to the Global Certification Forum’s (GCF) responsibilities for Europe, PTCRB focuses on ensuring that a device functions in accordance with the U.S. wireless standard as defined in the U.S. regulatory and network operator requirements (North American Program Reference Document).

PTCRB certification is therefore required for products that rely on cellular technologies and are intended to operate in the United States. Technologies include the classic cellular standards 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G, but also MTC such as CAT M1 and NB IoT.

The PTCRB Certification Process

The PTCRB approval process for mobile devices and modules provides an 8-step plan that begins with the application for approval
and ends with the issuance of the certificate for PTCRB certification:

  1. Manufacturer submits application for certification through the certification database – found on the PTCRB website.
  2. Manufacturer selects the preferred “Primary Lab”.
  3. “Primary Lab” determines tests required for the device based on the device’s individual equipment.
  4. “Primary Lab” submits the required documentation to the certification database upon completion of testing.
  5. The manufacturer submits the required documentation to the PTCRB certification database.
  6. The manufacturer pays the certification to CTIA, the administrator of the certification program.
  7. CTIA ensures that all requirements are met.
  8. The PTCRB certification notice is sent to the manufacturer.

To speed time-to-market and to save on development and testing costs, device manufacturers and integrators can build their product using a PTCRB-certified module. Devices that incorporate PTCRB-certified modules are called “Integrated Devices”. This is the process commonly used for IoT devices that are certified under a special IoT Network Certified program.

Integrated Devices have the benefit of already having had the vast majority of test cases completed when the module was certified. The only testing required is typically limited to interfaces such as the SIM, power, and antenna. Manufacturers who integrate a PTCRB-certified module in their device follow the same step-by-step process as other devices with the exception that the integrator shall indicate which certified module they are using when entering their product into the PTCRB database.

Network operators and device manufacturers use the IoT Network Certified program to provide confidence that devices are compatible with global wireless networks and comply with the latest internationally-recognized standards.

The tasks of the "Primary Labs"

PTCRB has authorized several laboratories worldwide to conduct certification tests for approval as so-called “Primary Lab” on behalf of PTCRB.
These tests can also be carried out in a “Primary Lab” only, whereby the laboratories are distinguished by the following characteristics:

  • Demonstration of the tools and knowledge necessary to test devices according to the PTCRB specified test requirements.
  • Independence from any direct link to a manufacturer through ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation.
  • Demonstration of knowledge of the PTCRB requirements and processes

Our services

The cetecom advanced lab in Anyang (Korea) is a full PTCRB Primary Lab and offer the scope of services for a PTCRB certification of mobile devices, modules and so-called “Integrated Devices”.

The cetecom advanced labs in Milpitas (USA) and Essen (Germany) are PTCRB Associate Labs and offer the scope of services for a PTCRB certification of mobile devices based on integrated pre-certified modules.

Further information about GCF certification can be found here.