Approvals Board for Telecommunications (BABT)
British Approvals Board for Telecommunications (BABT) is
a telecommunications certification body.
was established in July 1982 by the UK government to provide
type approval services to the telecommunications terminal
industry. At that point in history, British Telecom was
a state monopoly, and even by 1982 BT only allowed (via
approval) the four British manufacturers (STC, GEC, Plessey,
and Thorn-Ericsson) to supply its twenty five types of phone
through them, and not independently. However around 200,000
unapproved, independently-bought phones were being used
on the network. Loyalty to BT was of importance (commercially
sensitive) to STC, Plessey and GEC as equipment for BT's
exchanges was made exclusively by them.
the same year, BT was becoming more commercially-minded,
opening up around one hundred new BT Phone Shops having
become separated from the GPO through the British Telecommunications
Act 1981 which also created the BABT. In 1982 there was
a step-change in types of BT phones entering the market,
and technology used for connecting phones, and the BABT
was needed with a greater variety of phones than was previously
available: BT was about to lose its monopoly on supplying
July 1982, manufacturers could submit phones to be approved
by BABT and if approved would carry the green circular label.
The main four British suppliers of telephones were very
wary about supplying to non-BT independent retailers. At
the same time BT was introducing its so-called IXT phones
(IneXpensive Telephone), designed for the new plug-and-socket
connections - another innovation. Philips TMC (formerly
the Telephone Manufacturing Company) also made the new (more
electronic) IXT phones. The British telephone sockets were
introduced on 19 November 1981. On 19 July 1982, the government
announced its desire to privatise BT, which happened in
late 1984. By 1982, 15 million British homes had a phone,
with 5 out of 6 only having one phone. Adding an extra phone
without the new sockets was heavy work.
the 1980s, it shared offices with the BEAB in Hersham, Surrey.
The Telecommunications Act 1984 detailed standards for modems,
which had to conform to BABT standards.
its incarnation, BABT has established itself as a Notified
Body in Europe and has a number of appointments such as
the IMEI allocation authority for GSM terminals under appointment
from the GSM Association. In May 1992 it gave its first
GSM approval to Orbitel.