Procedures And Guidelines For The Management Of Telecommunications Short Codes And Premium Rate Numbers In Kenya


As part of its mandate, the CCK manages communications resources including numbers. In this regard, the Commission, amongst others, develops and administers the National Numbering resources for Kenya and provides guidelines on allocation and use of numbering resources including Short Codes. 

Short codes such as those used for short message services (SMS) have become popular for providing value added services. These services include premium rate communication services offered by licensed Content Service Providers (CSPs), where the cost is often above the basic SMS tariff rate. Examples include subscription based services like news and weather services. In tandem with the increased popularity of short code services, there is also a growing demand for service interoperability and common codes between networks. Though many of these SMS short codes are network specific and therefore not based on the international ITU-T E.164 standard, end-users of any network can use the same code to access the same services, if the service is accessible in their respective networks. The Commission currently assigns certain categories of SMS short codes in blocks while giving the assignee (mobile operators) the responsibility of undertaking secondary assignment of the codes to other service providers and end users.

This is done for the convenience of quick industry operations, partly because most of these codes are technically network specific codes and also because they are not based on the international ITU-T E.164 standard. In view of the above foregoing circumstances, the Commission has found it necessary to issue these procedures and guidelines in order to ensure efficient and progressive management of the numbering resource, and thereby facilitate equitable access, transparency, fair competition and consumer protection.

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