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KENYA

  • "Opening up spectrum can prevent Kenya from running out," APC News, 22 December 2010: "...Open spectrum however would make it much easier - and cost effective - for rural people to access the internet, use mobile phones, or use any other information and communications technology. Because operators feel that the rural investment in spectrum is not profitable enough for them, an open and free spectrum would be a big incentive for them to operate in these areas..."
  • "CCK to slash spectrum fees in March to aid rural rollout," TeleGeography's CommsUpdate, 7 January 2011: "Telecoms regulator the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) has confirmed that it will issue new spectrum fees for both operators and broadcasters in March 2011... [CCK director general Charles Njoroge] hinted that a system of assigning telecoms frequencies through auctions would be phased in, replacing the set fees currently levelled at operators. The price review is believed to be a response to claims from mobile operators that high charges have hindered their expansion to non-urban areas..."
  • "Guidelines on the Implementation of Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs) on Non-Protected Basis," Communications Commission of Kenya (no date - public consultation period closed): "...This authorisation is a general class license and does not have to be applied for individually, and attracts no frequency fees... WLANs shall be used within premises or campuses..."
  • "African Regulatory Index Reports: Kenya" African ISP Association, June 2005, third/final draft: "The Ministry of Information and Communications is responsible for the telecommunications sector. It was created in July 2004 and it is the first time that the there is one parent ministry for information and communication technologies (ICTs)... CCK was established by the Kenya Communications Act of 1998, to license and regulate the communications sector in Kenya... The roles and the relationship between CCK and MoIC (MoTC its predecessor) seemed clear before March 2005. However, this is not currently the case from the events of March 2005... The suspension of the Director General and the CCK Board by the Minister of Information and Communication in violation of the 1998 Act was a setback to the ICT industry and undermined the independence of the regulator. Worse still the Minister gave no reason for this and proceeded to appoint a junior officer from the National Communications Secretariat as acting Director General for a period of 4 months. The minister however reinstated the CCK board retaining some members and appointing new ones... Most ISPs and PDNOs interviewed felt that Radio spectrum rules are awkward and difficult to understand. CCK regulations state that frequency spectrum allocation is only made to Infrastructure Service Providers... However ISPs and Cybercafés can set up wireless (WiFi) LANs and WANs using the IEEE 802.11 standard in the 2.4GHZ and 5.8GHZ spectrum that is unlicensed; these are popularly referred to as 'Hot Spots'. Nevertheless, the ISPs and Cyber Cafes cannot backhaul or carry traffic from the NOCs to the Hot Spots using the 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz band; they must use [licensed Public Data Network Operators (PDNO}] for this... The ISM band (2.4GHz) and the 5.8 GHz spectrum is now unlicensed. Historically the 2.4GHz band in Kenya was licensed to the Department of Defence and there is conflicting information in the industry on the availability of the 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz bands. Most ISPs interviewed... contend that the DOD is still using these frequency bands and that they are not unlicensed and is still controlled by CCK..."
  • Kenya Data Networks "has put in place its Butterfly service, a voice and data service offered over meshed Wi-Fi. The initial footprint is 80 sq kms and coverage is mostly in Nairobi. However it has plans to roll-out to Mombasa, Eldoret and Kisumu..." Balancing Act Africa issue 308 (June 2006). Additional information from "Wireless Mesh Network Connects Major Cities In Africa," WirelessIQ, 12 July 2006: the combined population of the cities Butterfly will cover is estimated to be 4 million. Relying on WiFi means "end users do not have to pay frequency fees, which are quite high in Kenya..."
  • "Google partners to provide cheap, Wi-Fi service in Nairobi," by Matt Hamblen, ComputerWorld, 30 August 2011: "A partnership between Google and an Internet service provider in eastern Africa on Tuesday launched Wazi Wi-Fi, a high-speed wireless broadband network in Nairobi, Kenya... The network is already providing affordable high-speed Internet access at Nairobi's Junction Shopping Mall area. The service is free for the first 10 minutes of use per day on a single device and costs 50 Kenyan shillings (about 54 cents US) for a single one-day pass or 500 Kenyan shillings (about $5.40 US) for a one month pass per device..."
  • "M-Pesa: Kenya's mobile wallet revolution," by Fiona Graham, BBC News, 22 November 2010: "...Although not the first mobile money transfer system in the world - Smart and Globe were active on a smaller scale in the Philippines in 2002 - [M-Pesa] is arguably the most successful, with over 13m customers. In March 2010 28.59bn Kenyan Shillings (KES) (£220m, $351m) was transferred using the service. Originally funded in parts by a grant from the UK government, it was supposed to be a microfinance loan repayment system. 'After running the pilot for about nine months we started to see customer behaviour that said actually, this is much more useful as a person to person money transfer system,' says Mr Hughes. 'At that point the lights went on and we realised where the scale opportunity was.' The service has also been launched in Tanzania, Afghanistan and now South Africa, with trials underway in India..."
  • "Commission unveils new post-exclusivity licensing framework," press release describing the Communications Commission of Kenya's new licensing policies (8 September 2004). Main feature is a move toward "technology neutrality," with separate license requirements (and fees) for network, application and content providers. No mention of any exemptions from licensing.
  • "Country report - Kenya: Telecommunications Services Market Access Study," DG Trade (European Commission), June 2003, 37 pages.
  • Cyber Café Operators Association of Kenya.

Africa - Regional Overview