Umberto, this is a pretty big question. There's basically three layers of certification you have to pass to get a connected device to market:
1) Type Approval / Regulatory - FCC (USA), Anatel (Brazil), COFETEL (Mexico) and EU (Europe) are government agencies that decide policy for the wireless networks. Their primary motivation is to ensure that the device will not conflict with other networks and that it is not emitting any dangerous signals. If you use a pre-certified module (Cinterion, Sierra Wireless, Enfora, Telit, SIMCom, etc) in your device, you've pretty much met this requirement as they all get regulatory approvals before releasing a product to market.
2) Associations - PTCRB (USA) and GCF (Europe) are a collection of organizations, including operators, that collectively determine an additional set of requirements that every device on the network must meet. The primary objective is to ensure that the device will not do harm to the network. PTCRB applies to GSM / W-CDMA only. There is no 'pre-certification' for PTCRB if you are building an embedded device.
3) Operator - AT&T, Verizon, Rogers, Telcel and more each have their own unique set of requirements the device must meet before being placed on the network. The strictest operator certifications are in North America, whereas in Europe, the operators don't seem to require this for M2M-type devices. Each operator is different and just because you pass one doesn't entitle you to access another network.
For the Regulatory and Associations, you will need to use an approved testing house to help you get the certifications. For example, in North America, there are a few shops for PTCRB testing - CETECOM (www.cetecom.com) RFI Global Services (www.rfi-global.com) and 7 Layers (www.7layers.com). They also do GCF testing as well many others. I've attached some PDFs from some of these testing shops that explain the basic processes. Testing is not free. Be prepared to pay upwards of $40,000 or more if your devices fails the first time and needs to be redesigned and tested again.
Operators certifications are highly specific to the operator. It's best to engage with the operator very early in the development process so you build to their specs. Or else you could miss your launch date and go back to redesign your product.
Two key rules to remember with operator certification: 1) use a pre-certified module or else it could take up to 12 months and 2) work with an antenna design expert referred to you by your module vendor. Antenna design flaws are the #1 reason why devices fail operator certification. An example design flaw would be that the antenna is not position well enough to pick up a weak signal. So if you are in an area where your phone shows 1 bar, the device wouldn't even see the network to establish a connection. That's a very poor user experience and really cuts down the available coverage map. Don't underestimate the antenna design. This is one area where it worth spending money for a highly experience team to help you.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Check out the attached documents. And visit the websites of the testing shops. They have lots more information.
(Sorry, I don't know much about any Asian certification requirements.)
- IC Module.pdf (123.9 K)
- FCC Module.pdf (202.6 K)
- Guidelines_For_PTCRB_Certification_Mod_Int_2_0.pdf (146.3 K)
- CETECOM - Module Integration Presentation.pdf (383.1 K)
As far as i know Rogers(Canadian Telecom) has right platforms, experienced technical experts, network base to accomodate this technology. Also, with recent deployment of LTE in various regions nationwide they are even better positioned to enable it.
Let me know if I can be of any assistance to you in that regard.
Erik provided a very detailed response and hopefully this helped to answer your question. If you have any further questions, please feel free to let me know. I'm with CETECOM, a PTCRB lab as well as covering all Regulatory approvals and Country Approvals for more than 150 countries.
The answer form Erik was exactlly the overview needed. As one of your steps is related to engage with antenna expert, we at Ethertronics (www.ethertronics.com) are eager to use our larger experience and full testing infra (in USA, Europe, China, Korea, and soon in Brazil!) to integrate high performance antennas and optimize them on your device.