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:
- Network Facilities Provider.
- Application Service Provider.
- 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:
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:
- The entity should be registered in Kenya as a company, sole proprietor or partnership.
- Have a duly registered office and permanent premises in Kenya.
- Provide details of shareholders and directors.
- Issue at least 20% of its shares to Kenyans on or before the end of three years after receiving a license.
- Provide evidence of compliance with tax requirement.
For ordinary vendor applicants, 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.
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.
- 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.
- On taking up the offer, the license must be put into operation within 12 months from the date of issuance.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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: email@example.com