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Kenya - Premium, Short Code Requirements


The regulations in Kenya caters and covers all of the Mobile Payment types, that includes Premium SMS BillingStandard Rate ServicesShort Codes, WAP Billing and Operator Billing.


 Communications authority of Kenya

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) is the regulatory body for the communications sector in Kenya. Established in 1999 by Kenya Information and Communications Act, 1998, the Authority is responsible for facilitating the development of the Information and Communications sectors including; broadcasting, multimedia, telecommunications, electronic commerce, postal and courier services. This responsibility entails:

  • Licensing all systems and services in the communications industry, including; telecommunications, postal, courier and broadcasting.
  • Managing the country’s frequency spectrum and numbering resources.
  • Facilitating the development of e-commerce.
  • Type approving and accepting communications equipment meant for use in the country.
  • Protecting consumer rights within the communications environment.
  • Managing competition within the sector to ensure a level playing ground for all players.
  • Regulating retail and wholesale tariffs for communications services.
  • Managing the universal access fund to facilitate access to communications services by all in Kenya.
  • Monitoring the activities of licensees to enforce compliance with the license terms and conditions as well as the law.






Safaricom, Ltd is a leading mobile network operator in Kenya. It was formed in 1997 as a fully owned subsidiary of Telkom Kenya. In May 2000,Vodafone Group Plc of the United Kingdom acquired a 40% stake and management responsibility for the company.


Airtel.jpg  Airtel

Airtel Africa is a subsidiary of Indian telecommunications company Airtel, that operates in 17 countries across Africa. It operates a GSM network in all countries, providing 2G or 3G depending upon the country of operation.


essar_group_logo.jpg     Essar


Essar Communications is a global player in the communications sector with over three million GSM subscribers in Kenya, and over 900 telecom retail outlets in India



Orange.PNG       Orange

Orange S.A., formerly France Télécom S.A., is a French multinational telecommunications corporation.



Market Statistics


A price war has characterised Kenya’s mobile communications sector in recent years, following the market entry of the third and fourth network. This has led to accelerated subscriber growth, but it has also presented challenges to the profitability of the operators, forcing them to streamline their operations and develop new revenue streams in an environment of falling average revenue per user (ARPU) in the voice market. Third generation (3G) mobile broadband services as well as mobile payment and banking services are delivering these additional revenues, but all service segments are highly competitive. Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) amongst the operators are being discussed. For fourth generation (4G/LTE) technology, the Kenyan government is following a unique open-access approach with plans to licence a multi-faceted consortium to operate the network. 



Area: Total: 580,367 sq km Land: 569,140 sq km Water: 11,227 sq km
Cities: Mombassa, Nairobi, Kisumu, Eldoret, Lodwar, Mandera
Terrain: Low plains rise to central highlands bisected by Great Rift Valley; fertile plateau in west
Climate: Varies from tropical along coast to arid in interior


Nationality: Noun: Kenyan(s) Adjective: Kenyan
Population: 44,037,656 (July 2013 est.)
Annual population growth rate: 2.27% (2013 est.)
Language: English (official), Kiswahili (official), numerous indigenous languages
Flag: download__2_.jpg


Type: Republic
Independence: 12 December 1963 (from the UK)
Constitution: Previous 1963, 1969; latest drafted 6 May 2010, passed by referendum 4 August 2010, promulgated 27 August 2010 (2013)
Political parties: Federal Party of Kenya or FPK, Kenya African National Union or KANU [Gideon MOI], The National Party Alliance or TNA [Uhuru KENYATTA], National Rainbow Coalition-Kenya or NARC-Kenya [Martha KARUA], Orange Democratic Movement of Kenya or ODM [Raila ODINGA], Orange Democratic Movement-Kenya or ODM-K [Kalonzo MUSYOKA], Party of National Unity or PNU [Mwai KIBAKI], United Democratic Forum Party or UDF [Musalia MUDAVADI], United Republican Party or URP [William RUTO], Wiper Democratic Movement or WDM [Kalonzo MUSYOKA]
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Nominal GDP: $75 billion (2012 est.)
GDP per capita: $1,802
Annual GDP growth rate: 4.6% (2012 est.)
Agriculture: Tea, coffee, corn, wheat, sugarcane, fruit, vegetables; dairy products, beef, pork, poultry, eggs
Industry: Small-scale consumer goods (plastic, furniture, batteries, textiles, clothing, soap, cigarettes, flour), agricultural products, horticulture, oil refining; aluminum, steel, lead; cement, commercial ship repair, tourism
Trade: Export - Uganda 10.3%, Tanzania 10%, Netherlands 7.7%, UK 7.2%, US 6.3%, Egypt 4.8%, Democratic Republic of the Congo 4.4% (2012)



Market Growth

General region↓ Total number of Internet users (thousands)↓   Total population (thousands)↓ GDP per capita↓ GDP total (thousands)↓   Total number of mobile subscribers (thousands)↓
Africa 12,043,735   38,610,097 $1,802 $77.14 billion   29,927,274
[source] [source]   [source] [source] [source]   [source]



The Kenyan Shilling (sign KSh, code KES)  is the currency of Kenya.  

1000 KES in £GBP

1000 KES in $USD

1000 KES in €EUR


Approval Process

As part of the application process for a short code, you will need to complete a txtNation Customer Care Form (CCF).


Promotional Guidelines

There are currently no written regulations at the time of writing for Kenya. Your CCF will still be evaluated to ensure your service is delivering value for money and is honest and fair. You should ensure that pricing and support is included on your promotion.


Messages Flow Requirements

There are currently no written regulations at the time of writing for Kenya. Your CCF will still be evaluated to ensure your service is delivering value for money and is honest and fair.


Service Types

Most service types are allowed, however some require specific approval from the regulators. Adult is allowed in the form of Bikini but not available via Safaricom. Local support is a requirement. You can run your service with a online ticketing system. txtNation can help you in setting this up if needed. 

You are not able to run any services that contains offensive, unsuitable and unlawful content, in particular:

(a) unsuitable for minors

(b) incites crime

(c) describes unlawful sexual activity

(d) promotes violence

(e) causes alarm

(f) breaches a law

(g) breaches a code of practice


 Billing Types

We operate on Mobile Terminated (MT) billed lines in Kenya. See forum entry "What are the SMS billing types available?" for more information on these billing types.


Shortcodes and Keywords

On our dedicated code in Kenya, we operate on a 4 digit shortcode for each carrier.



The current Kenya rate of tax is available via Wikipedia. The out-payments on our rate cards are exclusive of VAT, so if you are VAT registered you can claim a higher outpayment than is shown.


 Dedicated Codes 

Dedicated codes are available with a 8 -10 week lead time depending on carrier availability, the carriers approve based on their backlog, the time of year, price point and service type. You can read more about Short Code Coverage, SMS Billing Services and Mobile Payments in Kenya via the txtNation Gateway.


 Kenya has the following Mobile Payment options available, all of which fall under these regulations:

  • Premium SMS (P-SMS) including Short Code services


 Additional options for Mobile Payments and Messaging in Kenya include:

  • HLR Lookup
  • Bulk SMS


Note: This page is updated as frequently as possible when we are informed from the regulators or mobile operators in Kenya of a change or update in regulations. There may be a latest version of Premium SMS, Mobile Payments or Short Code Regulations in Kenya. Please contact your account manager for more information.

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