Kenya

Information current as of 20 January 2020

What is the state of 5G deployment in Kenya?

The Government of the Republic of Kenya (the “Government”) has published its National Broadband Strategy (2018-2023) (the “NBS”). In the NBS, the objective is that 5G will be introduced by 2023. It is too early to assess whether the objective will be achieved.

Which telcos and communications players are launching 5G services?

The NBS tasks the following key industry players with ensuring that Kenya attains successful 5G trials by 2022:

  • Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology
  • The Communications Authority of Kenya
  • Safaricom PLC
  • Airtel Kenya (a subsidiary of Airtel Africa PLC)
  • Kenya Education Network (KENET)
  • Liquid Telecom (a subsidiary of Econet Global)
  • Wanainchi Group
  • Jamii Telecomunications Limited
  • Telkom Kenya Limited
  • Kenya Power and Lighting Company.

As of the end of 2019, Safaricom, the largest telecommunications company in Kenya, was the only company observed to have been doing 5G trials through its TubeStar Base Station.

Are there any public tenders for spectrum licences?

No.

Has there been any comment on when there might be?

No.

What has the government said regarding spectrum licences for commercial use?

The Government has made no specific statement addressing spectrum licences for commercial use. On spectrum management, the NBS is to facilitate converged service availability and maximize value and use of spectrum by:

  • ensuring flexibility in spectrum licensing and authorisation (e.g. enabling platforms such as spectrum trading to enable entry of secondary markets);
  • adopting flexible use rules for existing licences;
  • adopting internationally harmonised band plans during allocation and assignment of spectrum; and
  • use of market mechanisms to assign spectrum.

The target is to, by 2023, review the Kenya Information and Communications (Radio Communications and Frequency Spectrum) Regulations 2010 (which provide a framework for spectrum assignment in Kenya) to bring it in line with the new aspirations concerning spectrum management.

Are the rules for 5G already drafted, and if so, what do they say?

There are no 5G specific regulations currently in place.

What are or would be the rules for granting competitors access to the new 5G networks, once they are deployed?

With respect to information, technology and communication infrastructure, the current policy is that the Communications Authority of Kenya will oversee access, license operators and regulate and price commercial access to such infrastructure built with public funds. The infrastructure will be available for use by Kenyan private and commercial operators on fair, affordable and equitable terms without prejudice to size, location or composition. A legal framework is to be developed to provide for a fair use policy by which privately established infrastructure may, on fair commercial terms, be made available by one operator to others.