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Frequency Spectrum

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.

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.

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.

How many broadcasters have been assigned frequencies?

  • So far, the Authority has assigned frequencies to 155 Commercial FM broadcasters and 37 Community FM broadcasters countrywide.

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.

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 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.

Can one expand the existing network?

  • The network can be expanded on approval from the Authority.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Is it possible to be assigned duplex frequencies?

  • Yes this is possible. However, the assignment 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 and assigned to the licensee.

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.

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

  • Yes. 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.

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.

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.

What are the charges for a VHF/HF radio frequency license?

 

Broadcasting

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.

What are the frequently encountered illegalities with regard to frequency utilization?

  • 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.

How many broadcasters have been assigned frequencies?

  • The National broadcaster has been assigned frequencies nationwide. The Private broadcasters have been assigned frequencies as follows: 3

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.

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 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.

Can one expand the existing network?

  • The network can be expanded on approval from the Authority.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

What do I need to apply for a broadcasting licence?

  • 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.

How do I file a complaint regarding a broadcast service?

  • Any aggrieved party has to first file their complaint with the offending party within 30 days from the date of broadcast which is the subject of the complaint and if the broadcaster takes no remedial action within 45 days of submitting the complaint, or in case you the complainant is not satisfied with the response of the broadcaster, then within 14 days of the final response you may escalate the complaint to the Communications Authority of Kenya for further action.

What is digital migration?

  • This is the transition from analogue television broadcasting services to digital television broadcasting services. Kenya migrated to digital broadcasting ahead of the global deadline of 17th June 2015. The first phase of the transition involved terrestrial broadcasting services.

What are the categories of broadcasting licences in Kenya?

    • Public Broadcasting (KBC is the only designated public broadcaster)
    • Commercial/Private broadcasting service
    • Community Broadcasting services

What are the application requirements for a broadcasting licence in Kenya?

  • Applicants are required to submit a duly complete application form for service licence they have applied for. For more information, the application guidelines shall be availed on the available at the link: http://www.ca.go.ke/index.php/broadcasting and pay to the Authority the requisite application fee for the service  applied for.

What are the applicable broadcasting licence fees in Kenya?

  • There are a variety of fees chargeable broadcasters depending on the market segment they fall under. These fees include among others licence application fee, annual operating fees, frequency fees (where applicable).To see complete fee schedule for broadcasting please click to follow this link: Broadcasting.

What are designated broadcasting sites in Kenya?

  • Designated broadcasting sites are locations where broadcasting transmitters can be located. For TV services, the designated broadcasting sites and for FM broadcasting services. Community broadcasting services are broadcast on location thus they do not need to be located on a designated broadcasting site.

When can I apply for the licence?

  • The Authority will from time to time call for broadcasting licence applications and depending on availability of broadcasting resources, i.e frequency spectrum and TV channels.

Can I operate broadcasting services without a licence?

  • The Act prohibits anyone from providing broadcasting services without the requisite valid licence. Anyone who contravenes this requirement is liable to fine not exceeding one million shillings, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or both.

Who can apply for a broadcasting licence?

  • Any person(s) or company, society, and partnerships registered in Kenya can apply for a licence. However, political parties, movements and human right activists are not eligible for a broadcasting licence.

What is the role of CA in regulating Broadcasting Services?

  • The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) is mandated by the Kenya Information and Communications Act, 1998 and as amended by the Kenya Information and Communications Act, 2013 to be the body which regulates broadcasting services in Kenya. This includes licensing of broadcasting services and regulating the content that is transmitted over broadcasting networks.

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