Import Cell Phones

Importing Cell Phones / Mobile Phones to South Africa can be a shade more difficult than one might think.

As a result of permits, required from the ICASA [Independent Communications Authority of South Africa], it may not be viable at all, provided you are financially able to do it large scale.

Below we will lay out, as per information provided from ICASA themselves – this information has not been crosscheck or verified. 

Radio Frequency (RF) Equipment Type Approval Procedures

The following are ICASA’s (hereinafter referred to as the Authority) requirements to process a request for radio frequency equipment.

1. A certified copy / soft copy in PDF format / CD ROM of a test reports (both RF , EMC & Safety), in English, issued by any accredited test house/ laboratory according to appropriate specifications will be acceptable for the purposes of application for type approval. (The Authority does not accept any responsibility for original documentation accompanying applications.

2. Fully signed and completed application form and the receipt of the necessary payment.

3.      A full technical diagram (including circuit) of the equipment including photographs (digital also acceptable) or pamphlets/brochure (of how the equipment works) should accompany each application.

4.      The type approval certificate will only be issued to a local South African registered company/ concern. Therefore, full details such as company registration number, both physical and postal addresses, contact persons and telephone numbers must be provided in this regard. No type approval certificates will be issued to applicants who wilfully and intentionally violate the aims and objectives of Section 2 subsections (b), (l) and (q) of Telecommunications Act, No.103 of 1996.

5. Type approval request that is based on non-ETSI standard, the applicant would be expected to avail such a standard to the Authority for prompt expedience to his/her type approval request.

All of the above need to be submitted by hand or / electronically.

6.    Please also refer to Government Gazette No. 16820 of 15 November 1995 for more

       information on license free bands and expected power levels and to the frequency     

       allocation chart (attached) used in the Republic of South Africa.

 7.    In view of Section 2 (b), (d) and (o) of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (No. 103

       of 1996) the client would not necessarily be prejudiced against type approval request

       that are out of the ordinary. Each type approval request will be attended on its own


 From a technical point of view and provided details mentioned in 1 to 3 above are in order, a minimum period of three weeks should be allowed for processing.

 After type approval has been granted the applicant must place an order for official type approval labels from:

ICASA conducts regular random market surveillance. A licensee shall bear the cost of a retest at the Authority’s test house/laboratory of choice should any approved sample be found defective. The Authority reserves the right to revoke the type approval certificate in such circumstances.

The Authority reserves the right to call on the applicant to produce a sample and to give a demonstration as to the working of a particular sample.


  • RSA Frequency Chart up to 3GHz
  • RF Type Approval application forms
  • Fee structure as from 01/04/2002.



1.      Is type approval the same as licensing?


No these are two separate processes. Type approval relates to manually checking the performance of an equipment (from a provided test report) with respect to a given specification/standard and verifying compliance. Licensing relates more to the right to use a portion of spectrum subject to the prevailing conditions. In a nutshell Licensing and type approval are mutually exclusive processes, possession of one does not imply automatic qualification for the other

2. Is Type Approval necessary for test purposes/license free bands?

Yes type approval is obligatory in either license free bands or for test licenses. Once test licenses expire so will be such a type approval.

3.What is an ISM Band?

An ISM a band is a dedicated band for Industrial Scientific and Medical usage, it is license free. For South Africa (Region 1) we have the following ISM bands: It is important to note that type approval is obligatory in an ISM band.

Land Mobile below 1000MHz

6765 – 6795 kHz

13553 – 13567 kHz

26957 – 27283 kHz

40.660 – 40.700 MHz

433.050 – 434.790 MHz

Microwave above 1000MHz

2.400 – 2.4835 GHz

5.725 – 5.875 GHz

24 – 24.250 GHz

61 – 61.5 GHz

122 – 123 GHz

244 – 246 GHz

4.      What is an accredited laboratory/test house?

It is a laboratory/test house that is continually being checked for among others compliance to ISO guide 25 and the qualification levels of personnel conducting such test being monitored. Normally such a routine is done once a year. Such updated information is normally obtained from national bodies.

5. Payments methods:

Overseas companies need to pay by electronic bank transfer payments. We do not accept foreign issued cheques in foreign currencies.

6.     What about second-hand GSM Mobile Handset?

The rules are clear, the Authority will still need all the relevant test reports (RF, EMC & Safety) and the importer must provide “Proof of Origin” and a declaration (on his own letterheads) that these handset are not stolen.

Estimated costs:

1.New Application R 4, 000.00
2.Untested variant R 2, 000.00
3.Tested variant R 2, 000.00
4.Badge Engineering R 4, 000.00

Connect With Us

Use the support tab, on the left of your screen | Use the chat feature | Use the Forum |  Call us: +27 (0)87 550 8469