EXCLUSIVE:New Concerns Over Realme Smartphones & ACMA Certification
Senior management from Chinese smartphone brand Realme has refused to answer serious questions concerning the certification of their devices, with particular focus from ChannelNews regarding whether the device has the appropriate radiation certification for Australian standard.
ChannelNews gave the manufacture, which is owned by BBK Electronics the same Company that manufactures the Oppo range of smartphones, two weeks to respond to our emails regarding certification of RealMe devices.
When writing to both their PR Company and management in an attempt to get some simple clarifications, we inquired about whether their devices were issued with CE, FCC and SARS value certificates for the Australian market.
We also asked whether they have been issued with a GCF 3G standard certificate and Band 28 which is an essential band for 4G networks.
Simultaneous communication was also made to the Company support line posing as if we were a customer or owner of a device, resulting in a response from their support team after two days.
Greetings from realme
Thank you for reaching out to us. We would like to inform you that our device has SOTO certification.
Despite several attempts via carriers and labs in China we have been unable to identify what certification SOTO is or its relevancy to Australia or smartphones being sold in Australia.
There is no listing for this certification on any sites linked with Australian certification standards.
Smartphone manufacturers including a major Chinese manufacturer of smartphones for both their own and several other major brands have said that they are unaware of what SOTO certification for a mobile device stands for.
Our request to RealMe was a simple request to inform our readers regarding certification for products sold in Australia.
We made this request after discovering thousands of uncertified smartphones from China are being offered in Australia that does not comply with Australian smartphone certification standards.
Nowhere on the RealMe website is any reference to certification of their devices, nor is there a search button to find the certification information.
ChannelNews has been told that certification conducted by third-party certifiers is expensive and can add up to tens and in some cases hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Once complete, these certificates are then supplied to The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) for review.
What we did find was that RealMe smartphones were not sold by any Australian carriers who are tough on brands when it comes to certification especially SARS certification and the ability to operate on Band 28.
If they don’t comply carriers such as Telstra, Vodafone, and Optus will not carry the device in their retail outlets.
We currently have no evidence from our direct communication with management at RealMe that their smartphones comply with Australian standards.
Some brands put their compliance certification information inside a User Guide which can only be accessed after a product has been purchased; another issue altogether for Australian certification.
RealMe claim that they are the fastest growing smartphone brand in the world a claim that has been disputed by leading research Companies Gartner and IDC (See story here).
Four days after we contacted RealMe they referred us to a Counterpoint Research study to clarify their points.
The only problem is that this study left us with more questions than answers.
After initially indicating on their website and in their press releases that band 28 was missing from their new smartphones, the Company then failed to respond to our request for further clarification.
What they did do was within hours of getting our email suddenly include band 28 in their network specifications on their own web site.
Band 28 is critical if you want to use a mobile phone on the Optus, Telstra or Vodafone 700Hz 4G networks.
RealMe also chose not to supply ChannelNews with a review model so that we can check whether any one of their devices is certified for the Australian market or if they do have band 28 other media Companies were supplied with a device.
In the past brands such as Samsung, Apple, TCL Mobile and several other manufacturers such as TCL Mobile have not only been happy to respond to requests for certification information they have supplied devices for review and analysis.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) who claim to be the authority policing certification state on their web site that all mobile phone models sold in Australia must comply with the Australian Government’s radiation exposure standard SAR.
ACMA requires industry to comply with the Human Exposure Standard, which applies exposure limits set by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA).
The ARPANSA Standard specifies exposure limits of radiofrequency electromagnetic energy (RF EME) which users absorb from the handset. This is known as the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR), which is the rate at which RF EME is absorbed by body tissue.
The ARPANSA safety standard is designed to protect people of all ages and health status against all known adverse health effects from exposure to electromagnetic energy (EME) from mobiles, base stations and other wireless devices.
The SAR limit in Australia for mobile phone handsets is 2W/kg of tissue averaged over 10 grams. The limit includes a significant safety factor.
Mobiles must comply with the SAR limits before being supplied to the Australian market.
The Australian Communication and Media Authority claim that they licence people, organisations and products to operate in Australia while planning and managing the airwaves and to make space for new services, like 5G.
ChannelNews understands that brands are supposed to supply ACMA with certification certificates for FCC, C Tick the all-important SARS as it relates to radiation.
A search of the ACMA site to obtain information on what requirements have to be met by manufacturers revealed 404 Errors or no information at all.
Note, The search at the top of the page for “Mobile phone certification Australia”.
There is also no listing of certified smartphones or a list of brands that ACMA has accepted qualified certification certificates.
A search by ChannelNews resulted in the below search errors or simply no information at all.
Even a search for ‘Mobile phone certification Australia’ resulted in the following error.
Some online sites have admitted to ChannelNews that they are openly importing devices that are not certified however it appears that no Federal Government body including ACMA are doing anything to stop the surge in noncertified devices being sold in Australia.