Development of a large-scale telecommunications infrastructure in Kenya, capable of delivering efficient and affordable info-communications services, is recognized as a critical pre-requisite for the country's economic growth.

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) is responsible for the development and implementation of policies and strategies with respect to telecommunications services in Kenya. The Authority licenses, telecommunications operators, service providers monitor their performance on a continuous basis to ensure that they discharge the obligations as stipulated in their licenses and are adhering to the provisions of the Kenya Information and Communications Act, 1998 and the Kenya Communications Regulations, 2001.

The Authority's mandate in the telecommunications sector involves the following:

  • Telecommunications licensing

    Preparation of market structure, licensing procedures and grant of licence to operators and service providers including; Network Facility Operators, Application Service Providers and Content Service Providers for purposes of proving communication services in Kenya. The Authority also enforces all license conditions and regulations.

  • Effective competition

    Maintains and promotes effective competition between commercial entities connected with telecommunication services in Kenya. This ensures efficiency and economy in the provision of such services that promote research and development in the sub-sector.  In addition, the Authority reviews the sector on a continuous basis to ensure that competition is fostered and to guard against anti-competitive behaviour by licensed operators.

  • Consumer protection

    Protects the interests of all users of telecommunications services in Kenya with respect to the prices charged for and the quality and variety of such services.

  • Promotion of investment and provision of international transit services

    Encourages private investment in the telecommunications sector and provision of international transit services by persons providing telecommunications services in Kenya.

  •  Universal service obligations

    Develops mechanisms to ensure the availability of telecommunications services to all citizens throughout the country.

  • Tariff regulation

    Develops pricing guidelines for service providers in order to ensure service affordability.

  • Licensing Procedures

    Introduction

    The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) is mandated to license all communications systems and services in the country. In executing this and its other responsibilities, CA is guided by the provisions of the relevant statutes, including; the Kenya Information and Communications Act, 1998 and the Kenya Communications Regulations 2001.

    Commercial telecommunications licensees are authorized to set up telecommunications systems and/or to provide telecommunications services to third parties in accordance with the license terms and conditions. CA issues commercial licenses on a first-come-first-served basis and the turn-around time is 135 days.

    Unified licensing framework

    The Authority has in place a Unified Licensing Framework (ULF), which is technology and service neutral. The ULF market is structured into three main licenses:

    1. Network Facilities Provider.
    2. Application Service Provider.
    3. Content Service Provider.

    In addition, investors who wish to land a submarine cable in Kenya require a Submarine Cable Land license while those interested in building system for the provision of international voice or data services are required to get a license for international Systems and Services. Details of the various telecommunications licenses are available on the web-link:

    Filename Size
    An Adobe Acrobat file New Market Structure Under The Unified Licensing Framework -February 2017 123.67 KB

     An entity may be issued with multiple commercial licenses, provided that it maintains separate accounts for each license.

    Telecommunications licensing requirements

    The licensing process commences with the submission of a duly completed application form. Application forms are available for download at the License Application Forms section of this page.

    Within the form, details of the minimum requirements for acceptance of an application for each type of license and applicable fees are available. Generally, all applicants for commercial licenses should meet the following minimum conditions:

    1. The entity should be registered in Kenya as a company, sole proprietor or partnership.
    2. Have a duly registered office and permanent premises in Kenya.
    3. Provide details of shareholders and directors.
    4. Issue at least 20% of its shares to Kenyans on or before the end of three years after receiving a license.
    5. Provide evidence of compliance with tax requirement.

    For ordinary vendor applicants, the requirements are:

    1. A letter signed by company CEO, on company letter-head, asking for authorization to sell low power equipment.
    2. The letter must provide contact details such as physical and postal address, telephone numbers, emails etc. for the company.
    3. Indicate the type and model of equipment to be sold.
    4. Attach company Certificate of Incorporation or registration certificate copy to the letter.
    5. Attach copy of the company PIN Certificate.

    Telecommunications licensing procedures

    An application is deemed received when the Authority accepts the application fees and issues a receipt and the applicant has met all the requirements. Applications sent by post are logged in as letters until or unless the applicable license application fee is received. Once an application is accepted, it undergoes processing, which may include publication in the Kenya Gazette in accordance with the law. At the conclusion of the licensing process, an applicant is advised of the outcome in writing.

    Post-licensing issues

    1. If CA approves an application for a Telecommunications license, the applicant is required to take up the offer within six (6) months, failure to which he/she may be required to apply afresh if still interested.
    2. On taking up the offer, the license must be put into operation within 12 months from the date of issuance.
    3. It is a requirement that all electronic communications systems/equipment be type approved by CA before they are activated. Further, CA inspects all networks before they are put into operation.
    4. Telecommunications licenses relate to operational authorization, which allows licensees to set-up systems, and/or provide services to third parties. These licenses are not tied to any roll-out resources such as radio spectrum, numbering (including ENAM) and/or way-leaves. Investors are advised to seek for such resources separately after they are granted a relevant operational license.
    5. Investors are encouraged to familiarize themselves with licensing terms and conditions available on sample licenses posted in the License Application Forms section of this page.

    For more inquiries, please contact: The Director, Licensing, Compliance and Standards P.O. Box 14448, Nairobi 00800. Tel. +254 20 4242000, +254703 042000 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

     

  • Modified ULF Licence Templates

  • Licensing Fees

    The license fees and license periods are determined based on the market segment to be serviced. Other than application fees, other requisite fees include; initial operating fees, annual operating fees, access fees for spectrum and annual spectrum fees. Annual Licence fees are subject to a monthly interest of 2% where it remains unpaid ninety (90) days after it becomes due.

    Filename Size
    An Adobe Acrobat file New Market Structure Under The Unified Licensing Framework -January 2016 122.22 KB

     

  • Licensee Register

    The following is the list of licensed telecommunications operators and service providers under the Unified Licensing Framework (ULF).

    Filename Size
    An Adobe Acrobat file Register of ULF Licencees - June 2014 1.56 MB

  • Market Structure

    Unified Licensing Framework (ULF)

    The Authority has adopted a Unified Licensing Framework (ULF) that is technology neutral. Consequently, operators and service providers are licensed under a market structure consisting of the following broad market segments:-

    a) International gateway Systems and Services Licence This licence allows for the establishment and operation of international gateway systems and to provide international gateway services using satellite communication services across the globe or terrestrial systems across contiguous countries.

    b) Submarine Cable Landing Rights Licence This licence allows for the establishment of submarine cables systems for the provision of international connectivity services across the sea.

    c) Network Facilities Provider (NFP) This category of licence allows a licensee to establish and operate communication infrastructure using any form of technology, whether fiber, copper, satellite or microwave systems, for purposes of leasing for use by application service providers to provide services. The resources applicable to this category of licence are the spectrum resources. The category is further divided into 3 subcategories; i.Network Facilities Provider Tier 1 This licence allows a licensee to deploy communication infrastructure, using any technology, countrywide with the main difference that it allows for a national spectrum reservation and allocation particularly for the mobile services.

    ii. Network Facilities Provider Tier 2 This licence category also allows a licensee to deploy communication infrastructure countrywide, using any form of technology, only that spectrum allocation is regional and not national.

    iii. Network Facilities Provider Tier 3 This licence allows a licensee to deploy communication infrastructure within a specific region using any form of technology except Satellite Communications because of its borderless nature. Spectrum is also allocated regionally.

    d) Application Service Provider This licence allows a licensee to provide any form of service to end users using the infrastructure leased from any of the above NFP licensee. Such services include but are not limited to voice, data, Internet, mobile virtual network operator, vehicle tracking services etc. The services are all communication services except services that are content in nature. Resources applicable to this licence are numbering resources both for customers and for network nodes

    e) Content Service Provider This licence allows a licensee to provide content related services to end users who are customers of the application service providers. Content service providers use the infrastructure of Network Facilities providers and the Systems of the Application Service Providers to reach their customers. The services offered by content service providers are of information, entertainment, education, health, social etc nature that can either be text, voice, video clips delivered to a customer’s mobile device on request or as subscribed to by the customer. g) Dot KE Domain Name Registry Services Provider The dot KE Domain Name Registry services allows a licensee to be the administrative and technical contact for the dot KE domain name registry; administration and maintenance of the dot KE domain name registry, provision of name service for the dot KE domain name registry and provision of a domain registration system for the dot KE Domain Name Registry.

    h) Dot KE Subdomain Name Registrars This license allows for the provision of registration services for the Dot KE ccTLD subdomain registrar services

    i) Telecommunications Contractor Licence This licence allows for the supply, installation and maintenance of communication infrastructure for third party infrastructure providers like NFPs, IGS, SCLR or private network operators. The Telecommunication contractor does not own the resultant. j) Telecommunication Technical Personnel Licence This is a licence issued to an individual deemed to be technically qualified to carry out installation and maintenance of communication infrastructure. The licence categories include Installation (I), Maintenance (M), Internal Wiring (W) and External Wiring (E) issued depending on the level of qualification of the person. Details are available on the application form.

    k) Ordinary Communication Vendor Licence

        This allows for the supply and maintenance of low power communication devices, mainly end user devices such mobile phones, set top boxes, remote devices, tracking devices etc. The requirements are;

      • A letter signed by company CEO, on company letter-head, asking for authorization to sell low power equipment.

     

      • The letter must provide contact details such as physical and postal address, telephone numbers, emails etc. for the company.

     

      • Indicate the type and model of equipment to be sold.

     

      • Attach company Certificate of Incorporation or registration certificate copy to the letter.

     

    • Attach copy of the company PIN Certificate

    The requirements, applicable fees, and licensing procedure for the above licences are contained in the respective application forms except for the ordinary vendor licence whose requirements are as indicated above.

    The telecommunications market structure is below;

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    An Adobe Acrobat file New Market Structure Under The Unified Licensing Framework -January 2016 122.22 KB

  • License Application Forms

  • Compliance Forms

    All existing telecommunications licensees are expected to fill out compliance returns annually which are then submitted to the Authority.

    See requisite forms below:

    Filename Size
    An Adobe Acrobat file ASP Compliance Return Form - Revised 2016 597.38 KB
    An Adobe Acrobat file BPO Compliance Return Form- Revised 2016 190.27 KB
    An Adobe Acrobat file CSP Compliance Compliance Form-Revised 2016 237 KB
    An Adobe Acrobat file Dot KE Registry and Registrar Compliance Return Form 2016 392.49 KB
    An Adobe Acrobat file IGS and SCR Compliance Return Form- Revised 2016 361.18 KB
    An Adobe Acrobat file NFP Compliance Return Form- Revised 2016 416.05 KB
    An Adobe Acrobat file Sub-Domain Registry and Registrar Compliance Return Form 377.61 KB
    An Adobe Acrobat file Technical Personnel Compliance Return Form- Revised 2016 344.87 KB
    An Adobe Acrobat file Telecommunications Contractor Compliance Form Ver 7 344.46 KB
    An Adobe Acrobat file Telecommunications Vendor Compliance Form - Revised June 2016 388.48 KB

    Work Notices for Telecommunication Contractors & Technical Personnel

    Filename Size
    An Adobe Acrobat file Commencement of Work Notice Form 34.42 KB
    An Adobe Acrobat file Completion Of Work Notice Form 25.82 KB
    An Adobe Acrobat file Installation Inspection Checklist Form 59.23 KB

    INSPECTION QUESTIONNAIRE FORMS

    The Authority issues existing licensees with inspection questionnaire forms from time to time with the aim of verifying compliance with license conditions.

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