One of the primary responsibilities of the Communications Authority (CA) is management of the country’s radio frequency spectrum and numbering resources. Management of this scarce resource entails planning and assignment of spectrum to various radio communications services and users. 

CA carries out national co-ordination to ensure harmonious sharing of frequencies by various users and services. It also performs international and regional frequency co-ordination to avoid harmful interference of frequency users in different administrations.

The services that require frequency licenses from CA include; TV and FM radio broadcasting, cellular mobile telecommunications, satellite communications, aeronautical and maritime radio services as well as emergency and disaster communication services.

To ensure that assigned spectrum is used in accordance with the license terms and conditions, the Authority carries out inspection and monitoring exercises.

  • Licensing Procedures

    Procedure for authorization and licensing of Radio Communication Services

    In accordance with provision of Section 36 of the Kenya Information and Communications Act, 1998, all radio communication equipment in Kenya must be owned and/or operated under a license, issued by CA and which must be kept in force at all times by regular payment of the prescribed license fee.

    The process of authorization and license administration for radio communication services is as outlined below:

    • Private Radio Networks (HF/VHF, Private Paging)
    • Fixed, Cellular Mobile and Public Paging Services
    • Amateur Radio License
    • Citizen Band Radio License
    • Aircraft Station License
    • Maritime (Ship) Station License
    • Guidelines for use of Wireless Access Systems (WAS) on Shared Non Protected Basis in the 2.4GHz and 5GHz Frequency Bands 

    Filename Size
    An Adobe Acrobat file Procedures for licensing use of Radio Frequencies 80.18 KB

  • Spectrum Fees

    Frequency Spectrum Fee Schedule

    Frequency fees are charged based on the type of service to be offered, the license fees are as indicated in the document below:

    [DOWNLOAD] Frequency Spectrum Fees Schedule - Effective 1st July 2012

  • License Application Forms

  • National Frequency Allocation

    The Authority plans frequencies for use by various services every four years following results from the World Radio Conference.

    Download the National Table of Radio Frequency Allocations document.

    Filename Size
    An Adobe Acrobat file List of Access Frequencies Assigned to Operators 24.93 KB
    An Adobe Acrobat file National Table of Radio Frequency Allocations 1.62 MB

  • FAQs

    • An applicant is required to complete the relevant application form and submit it together with necessary attachments and a non-refundable application fee of KShs.1, 000.00. The procedure applicable depends on the service applied for and is detailed for each category of service in the procedure of licensing of radio stations.
    • What are the charges for a VHF/HF radio frequency license?

      The frequency utilization fee is renewable annually and keeps the frequency license in force. The applicable fee for each category of service is detailed in the 'frequency fee schedule' under license fees.
    • How long does the processing of the application take?

      The application processing for a VHF/HF private radio network on average takes between 14 to 30 working days upon receipt of complete applications, in-line with our service charter.
    • Why do you need to seek clearance from other government organs?

       The Authority may seek clarification from other Government agencies to confirm the identity and suitability of the applicant’s nature of the proposed service. 

    • Can I connect any other equipment to the licensed radio equipment?

       It is possible to connect or patch any equipment on the radio equipment as long as it is Type Approved by the Authority and the service provided by the other equipment is licensed. 

    • Is the assigned frequency exclusively mine?

       

       Depending on the nature of service the frequency can be assigned for exclusive use, but is in most cases on shared basis due to the scarcity of spectrum resource. 

    • Is it possible to be assigned duplex frequencies?

       The operation of duplex frequencies depends on the availability of the spectrum in the band and area of operation requested by the applicant. 

    • Operation of more than one fixed base in any service is permitted as long as the frequency channels are available in the proposed area of operation.

    • Why do we have interference on HF frequency bands?

      In HF propagation, the transmitted signal can be received over a range of 1000 km, and if the assigned frequency is not notified to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) then it will not be protected against harmful interference. Some neighbouring countries that do not have a regulatory administration have a tendency of using HF frequencies without coordination; hence users may experience harmful interference when operating their radio communication equipment. 

    • Can one change from the assigned frequency if the channel is found to be congested?

      If it is determined that the channel is too congested, an alternative frequency can be re-assigned by the Authority, depending on the nature of the service.
    • What criteria is used to decide on the parties to share a particular channel?

      In most cases parties with similar interests are grouped together. Examples of such groups are tour operators, transporters and building contractors.
    • Why does the Authority levy license fee on frequencies other than the radio equipment?

      The frequency license fee is based on the spectrum usage rather than the equipment.
    • Why does the Authority charge the approved configuration even if the network is not fully implemented?

      During the application, the applicant defines the configuration of the network, on which the approval is based. The applicant is however free to expand or reduce the network, subject to obtaining approval from the Authority before the expiry date of the license. The Authority performs regular inspections to confirm that the configuration conforms to the license.
    • Is the licensed network transferable or leasable?

      The approved network is specific to a site or radius, and cannot be transferred to another site or other users without the approval of the Authority.
    • Can one expand the existing network?

      The network can be expanded on approval from the Authority.
    • Is it allowed to replace unserviceable or stolen radio equipment without notification?

      If equipment is stolen or unserviceable, the licensee should seek approval from the Authority to replace the equipment after availing adequate documentary evidence/proof on the status/ownership of the equipment in question.
    • Where can one purchase radio communication equipment?

      The radio equipment can be purchased from any vendor licensed by the Authority, but the purchaser must confirm it is type approved by the Authority before it is put into use.
    • Is the use of crystal type radio designed on 25 kHz channel spacing allowed in Kenya?

      In major towns where spectrum resource is scarce, the only channel spacing allowed is 12.5 kHz, as was gazetted in 1995. In other areas where the spectrum is still adequate, the 25 kHz spacing can be used with the approval of the Authority.
    • How many broadcasters have been assigned frequencies?

      The National broadcaster has been assigned frequencies nationwide. The Private broadcasters have been assigned frequencies as follows:

      STATUS OF FM BROADCAST FREQUENCIES - JUNE 2014 

      LOCATION 

      No of Assigned FM Frequencies 

      Bondo 

      Bunyala West (Sio Port) 

      Bunyore 

      Busia 

      Chuka 

      Dadaab 

      Eldoret 

      22 

      Embu 

      Garissa 

      19 

      Homa Bay 

      Isiolo 

      Kabarnet 

      Kajiado 

      Kakamega 

      Kangema 

      Kanyenyeini 

      Kapenguria 

      13 

      Kapsabet 

      Kapsakwony- Mt Elgon 

      Kericho 

      Kianjai (Tigania West) 

      Kibwezi 

      15 

      Kilifi 

      Kisii 

      Kisumu 

      26 

      Kitui 

      20 

      Kosele 

      Kwale 

      Lamu 

      17 

      Lodwar 

      10 

      Lokichokio 

      Machakos 

      13 

      Makueni 

      Malindi 

      22 

      Mandera 

      Maralal 

      11 

      Marsabit 

      10 

      Meru 

      26 

      Migori 

      Muhuru 

      Mombasa 

      39 

      Moyale 

      Msambweni 

      Murang'a 

    • What are the frequently encountered illegalities with regard to frequency utilisation?

      The frequently encountered illegalities, which are mainly as a result of not operating within the licensed technical and operational parameters, include the following:

      • Programming a frequency other than the authorized one.
      • Using equipment with incorrect channel spacing.
      • Emitting excess RF power.
      • Installation of a transmitter in a location other than that specified on the license.
      • Operation or possession of non-type approved equipment including cordless telephones.
      • Operating or possessing unlicensed radio equipment.

    • Is it illegal to use low power FM transceiver handsets (commonly known as Family radio) operating in the 446 MHz band?

      The use of these transceivers is allowed provided you adhere to the guidelines provided by the Authority and are available on our website.