FCC Introduction

FCC (Federal Communications Commission) regulates the use of wireless spectrum in United States. FCC approval is required for all devices before it can be launched on cellular network. Cellular devices are required to meet the appropriate FCC requirements,

  • Part 15 (Unintentional radiated emissions testing)
  • Part 22 (Intentional 850 MHz radiated emissions testing)
  • Part 24 (Intentional 1900 Mhz radiated emissions testing)

For M2M devices, even if the module used in the device has a FCC ID, the device may still need to obtain its own FCC certification.But if the device complies with the module FCC grant notes, the device can leverage FCC ID of the module.

FCC Certification Process

  •  The device manufacturer should authorize the test lab to apply for a FCC Grantee code
  • FCC will send the Grantee code to the device manufacturer
  • The device manufacturer will submit their device to an accredited test lab for evaluation
  • The test lab will perform testing of teh device as per appropriate standards
  • Once the testing is successful, the test lab will create a detailed test report and submit it to teh FCC
  • FCC will respond between 8-12 weeks for certification requests.

FCC Certification Documents

Following documents are typically required for FCC submission,

  • Cover letter
  • FCC Form 731
  • Test setup Photos
  • Test Report
  • External and Internal photos
  • FCC ID Label
  • Write up describiing the operation of the device
  • User manual
  • Block diagrams
  • Schematic Diagrams
  • Parts list

FCC ID re-use in host device

Depending on teh type of host device, the FCC ID of the module can be used for the host device. Usually the module vendor may provide certain guidance on when the module FCC ID can be re-used. This may include,

  • Whether the host device can be used for fixed-only or mobile-only or fixed-and-mobile applications.
  • If the host device can be used as a portable device or not
  • if the host devices integrates the module as per recommendation of the module manufacturer
  • The antenna gain as receommended by the module manufacturer

Part 15 testing might still be required even if the host device re-uses module manufacturers FCC ID.

FCC Certification costs

FCC approval costs for conencted devices will varies from $3K – $5K. FCC approval for modules are generally higher than that.

FCC Certification Time

FCC certication time for connected devices should take anywhere between 8-12 weeks. To expedite this process, FCC have authorized several private organizations to issue certifications. By working with TCB (Telecommunications Certification Body), FCC certification can be received within 1-2 weeks.

FCC Approved Labs

The list of labs that are capable of performing Part 15 testing of radio equipments is listed at FCC’s website – FCC testing labs



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