How to Register and Unblock your Phone in Colombia - Homologación de Celulares

You´re in Colombia living or visiting for an extended period of time of over three Months. You've a brand new phone, you've popped in a local network's SIM and it's all happy days until you get a network message stating your device is not registered!

Warning message: "Tu celular no ha sido homologado ante la CRC y podría ser bloqueado."

So your fight with the governing telecommunications body, the CRC, begins. You are about to join the many other expats and Colombians that have a device that uses radio frequencies (i.e. mobile/cell phones). You are most likely to be in this ordeal if you've brought a newly released phone into the country yourself of imported through Amazon or other sellers (namely on Mercadolibre.). There's an article of the implementation of the rule here (English translation here). If the device has been officially released in Colombia it is most probable that the company has themselves registered your device with the CRC already. If not you're going to need to submit the approval application yourself. There's no other way, a petition to the government to repeal the law that enables this has come to nothing.

Lets Homogolar Your New Phone in Colombia

Don't bother approaching the manufacturer for help as they are going to throw it back in your face. In my case, it was Sony who was totally inept. You'll read how I worked around this in a bit. CRC responds on Twitter occasionally to questions about the process. They also have an email address that is pretty useless too but is worth a try here atencioncliente@crcom.gov.co. You can always ask here in the comments section below.

I am going to break it to you now. You are going to have to succumb and bend to this bureaucratic mess that is common here in Colombia. Nobody official is going to help. That is why I have put this together to help anyone needing a hand. If you really need some personal help in this, contact me or leave a comment and I'll see how I can best help.

To confirm whether or not you're in this nightmare, check this list to see if your device is approved at the official page (its absence means it's not approved for use in Colombia). At this point, I will confirm that after receiving the above-mentioned network message your device will be blocked within 20 working days as if it were reported stolen. You can't simply pop in another SIM. Blocked or not you will need to complete the following steps.

Your very first piece of this puzzle is the CRC video on the governing body's page on this matter, it is meant to help you out. There's also an official page and a new video playlist detailing what you need.



There are essentially four pieces of this bureaucratic puzzle that you'll need to assemble. You will need a phone that is in jeopardy and then to have lots of patience to get through this application process.


Requirement 1: The FCC ID Document
Certificado de conformidad de normas técnicas, expedido por un organismo de certificación y/o laboratorio acreditado.

For the FCC ID you can find on your device's label and/or box. Otherwise, it's in your phone's settings - under System > About phone > Certificates. Once you have this visit the official FCC certificate search engine and enter the first three numbers/letters into the first field the remaining numbers into the second field. Then hit search and look through the list. On the right-hand side look for the lower number in the 'Upper Frequency In MHz' column and then click the checkbox icon on the same line. You'll see a document that has frequency ranges from the 800s through to the 1900s and perhaps higher. Go back and look through the other documents in the search result to see if any other document starts in the 800s MHz and goes higher. The document that shows the widest range is the one you will need to use. In your browser click print and select 'Save as PDF'. Here's the official CRC help sheet on how to obtain this information. That's requirement one done.


Requirement 2: Device's Specification Sheet
Copia del manual o documentación con las especificaciones técnicas del modelo especifico del equipo, que incluya los rangos de frecuencia y potencia en los cuales opera.

This is the real sticky one and is the hardest from all the requirements here. Be able to get this will make or break your phone in Colombia. What the CRC want her is truly a piss take as the compliance information is already in the FCC document and is linked to your phones IMEI number with the information you will provide in the next requirement (3) but they just can't help demanding this. What they don't want is your plain old device manual, not even a screenshot from a page like IMEI.info. They want an actual official manufacturer specifications sheet which is very rare in the consumer world. Only a small handful of device manufacturers make this available. Sony, which was my device's manufacturer stop these a long time ago. This wasn't a problem for me, wink wink. But if you are not able to obtain such a specification sheet that confirms your device's model and details the frequency bands it operates (LTE-TDD, LTE-FDD, GSM, EDGE and HSPA+ - whatever you phone operates at), you should get the basic PDF manual and doctor it with this site to include the band information from the IMEI.info's search for your device's actual IMEI. Don't tell anyone about this. All the clerk wants to do is go through a checkbox process when looking at your application. They don't care about verifying any of the information they just want to see the information in a document that looks official.


Requirement 3: Photo(s) of Device Label
Especificaciones de etiquetamiento del equipo (etiqueta o label) que permitan comprobar la relación existente entre el modelo del equipo terminal en referencia y el código de certificación de conformidad de FCC asociado.

This is dead easy. It is essential to link your FCC ID with your IMEI number as no other document here does this. It also doesn't prove much else and the validity of the FCC ID itself nor will the accept it as your device complying with their rule on not interfering with other frequencies. Take the photo of your phones label and/or box (the one with the FCC Identifier, IMEI and Model information). Print the photos as a PDF or upload the photos to this online PDF creator to combine and download them as a PDF file.


Requirement 4: Signed Letter Confirming Application Details
Carta de presentación de acuerdo con el formato incluido en el Anexo 7.1 de la Resolución CRC 5050 de 2016.

Here is a letter template for you to complete your information. You'll need to enter your full name, nationality, ID number, Model of your device, Model number of your device. In the table Enter the 'Name of Grantee' that you find above the frequency ranges table in the FDD certificate (Requirement 1, above) the FCC IF number (Same as what's in Requirement 1). Then in the second table provide all the frequency ranges through the 800s to the 1900s. Sign it and scan it back as a PDF. None of this information is verified except with the frequency ranges. They need to match what is in the FCC certificate or the clerk checking the application will have a fit and reject it.


Submitting your application:

Once you´ve assembled all these documents you will use much of the same information again to complete the online form and attach your documents before submitting via this page. In this form, you will need to complete some important fields:
  1. Personal contact information.
  2. In Tipos de Terminal I selected TMC.
  3. In Tipo de Technología I selected GSM.
  4. In Laboratorio I entered the same Name of Grantee as in the FCC document and was also needed for Requirement 4.
  5. The SAR information you should find in your manual as it's legally required information in much of the developed world. If not contact your device's manufacturer and they will give you this.
  6. In Bandas I entered this same frequency ranges from the letter in Requirement 4.
  7. Your device's IMEI number (TAC) (You can find this again dialling *#06#).
  8. Then upload all for of the required documents that we went through above.
Conclusion:

If you don't get a long boring email complaining that you did something wrong you device will be approved within a few days - max one week. Like I said they are just looking at the documents and ticking boxes in the process. If your device is approved don't expect them to tell you it will just find itself in this master list of approved devices. When it's there, you will be able to download the official CRC document that states it is registered and permitted to be used in the country. You'll need this to unlock your device with your network provider. In my case, this happened automatically with Claro.


I hope that this information in English has helped you to get your device working. If you have accomplished this please let us know in the comments. Equally, if you find that this post has left out some key steps or tricks that you have had to use, please lets us know in the comments also. Remember, I am happy to help personally with anyone having an issue with these steps just leave a comment or contact me directly. If all else fails and your application is not being approved you could just hold tight and await another person to do what it takes and register the model which is what will eventually happen. In the between time you can use the device with a roaming SIM from another country as that use ise still permitted for your bared device.

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