3GPP Wireless Devices

In a world with open standards, there is no way that any one operator or service provider could handle the immense task of testing every single combination of hardware and software in use, for every device they connect and every network element that allows these connections.

The complexity and cost of testing increases quickly as the number of technologies and functions grows, specially considering interoperability with additional networks used for roaming and network sharing partners.

The telecoms industry, with the leadership of 3GPP, has developed international standards that everyone can agree to follow. And to verify compliance with these standards, the Global Certification Forum (GCF) has developed a global device certification programme, that helps to ensure that devices are interoperable with networks.

GCF certification has been helping operators deploy new mobile technologies since 1999. From GSM to 5G, all generations of mobile wireless communication have been supported by GCF. And from the most simple IoT communication module to the most complex Fixed Wireless Access equipment supporting mmWave bands, and from basic voice phones to the most advanced smartphones supporting tens of different bands and radio access technologies, all types of devices are being certified to the latest versions of the GCF certification programme.

GCF’s band coverage reaches most bands that are included in 3GPP specifications and are ready to support regional or operator-specific requirements for specific bands or band combinations.

As of January 2024, GCF certification is active for:

  • 27 LTE bands (FDD and TDD), including one band for C-V2X
  • 16 5G bands in sub-6 GHz (FR1), of which 9 are also active for 5G NR Light (RedCap)
  • 4 5G bands in mmWave (FR2)
  • 12 eMTC (LTE-Cat M) bands (FDD and TDD)
  • 12 NB-IoT bands
  • 2 NTN NB-IoT bands
  • All legacy WCDMA (3G) and GERAN (2G/GSM) bands

GCF is constantly working on the activation of additional technologies and frequency bands, as required and developed by GCF member companies.

In addition to standalone bands, GCF certification covers more than 250 frequency band combinations, including LTE and 5G bands in carrier aggregation and DC scenarios, and is working on the activation of additional combinations.       

Other device-related technologies, such as Remote SIM provisioning for Consumer eSIM and IMS Services for voide (VoLTE, VoWiFi, VoNR) and media are also part of GCF Certification Program for devices.

Certification services for 3GPP Wireless Devices

Device Manufacturers with an active GCF membership are entitled to certify devices following GCF Conformance Criteria. Please refer to the Membership section for further details.

The process to certify devices is summarized in the following graphic:

GCF Device Certification Process 05.jpg


Technology evolution

As LTE, 5G and Mission Critical Broadband (LTE-based) network deployments evolve, GCF members can introduce new 3GPP technologies in the Certification Criteria, including new frequency band and carrier aggregation combination requirements to GCF Certification.

The process to evolve the GCF Certification criteria to support new functionalities, frequency bands and releases, is summarized in the following graphic:



GCF is a 3GPP Market Representation Partner.


Find out more how to join GCF and become involved in certification of 3GPP Wireless devices