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The Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) is the regulatory authority for the communications sector in Kenya. Its regulatory mandate spans the fast growing telecommunications, broadcasting, IT (e-commerce) and postal/courier industries, including managing the country’s frequency spectrum.
CCK is mandated to license all communications systems and services in the country. In executing this and its other responsibilities, CCK is guided by the provisions of the relevant statutes, including the Kenya Communications Act, 1998, Kenya Communications (Amendment) Act, 2009, and the Kenya Communications Regulations. These legal documents are available in hard copy at the Government Printer: www.governmentpress.go.ke and on soft copies at: http://www.cck.go.ke/regulations/sector_legislation.html and http://www.cck.go.ke/regulations/sector_regulations.html
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. CCK issues commercial licenses on a first-come-first-served basis and the turnaround time is 135 days.
Unified Licensing Framework
The Commission has in place a Unified Licensing Framework (ULF) which is technology and service neutral. The ULF market is structured into three main license: (i) Network Facilities Provider (ii) Application Service Provider (iii) 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/data services are required to get a license for international Systems and Services. Details of the various telecommunications license are available on the web-link: http://www.cck.go.ke/licensing/telecoms/market.html
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: http://www.cck.go.ke/licensing/telecoms/application.html .
At page two of each application form, you will find details of the minimum requirements for acceptance of an application for each type of license and applicable fees. In general, 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 requirements.
Telecommunications licensing procedures
An application is deemed to have been received when CCK accepts the application fees and issues a
receipt. Applications send by post are logged in as letters until/unless the applicable license application fees 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 CCK 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 with the license.
- 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 be type approved by CCK before they are activated. Further, CCK inspects all networks before they are put into operation.
- Telecommunications licenses relate to operational authorization which allows licensees to set-up systems and/or providing 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 at our website: http://www.cck.go.ke/licensing/telecoms/application.html.
For more inquiries, please contact:
The Director/ Licensing, Compliance and Standards
P.O. Box 14448, Nairobi 00800. Tel. +254 20 4242000, Fax: +254 20 4451866