Rules and Regulations for SMS Messaging in Kenya

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In regards to messaging, Kenya operates on an opt-in policy for your users and you have to clearly show that your users have agreed to be able to receive messages from the said advertising company.

Communication Authority of Kenya has put in various rules and regulations in regard to content type in terms of quality and variety you are supposed to release to the public.

Also, it has released consumer protection guidelines based on the Kenya Information and Communications (Consumer Protection) regulations, that was developed to protect users and consumers of communication services in regards to their service delivery process.

Some of the rules and regulations proposed by the regulator include;

1. According to the draft, text messaging must be sent between 7:00 AM and 7:00 PM unless such marketing communications are being sent in response to a request by a customer or prior consent has been clearly obtained from the customer for such information to be delivered outside the time in the stipulated regulations. Political messages are to be sent out between 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM and unasked for political messages are not allowed and various restrictions apply to their distribution.

2. A mechanism has to be put in place by which the advertising company that’s identified by its customers can prevent spamming when the client rejects to receive SMS from those providers.

3. The advertising company should refrain from delivering any spam or telemarketing calls from itself or other providers to any number on their register.

4. In the proposed regulations, consumers can only opt in without being prompted by cooperates and agree to receive text messages advertising a company’s products.“ No service provider shall employ any opt-out process in the delivery of marketing communications in Kenya”, read the proposed regulations.

5. If a customer pays for services with M-PESA, this doesn’t give the service provider any leeway to send them their marketing promotional text messages.

6. An opt-out footer should be inserted at the end of the message to assist the customers to be able to opt-out when need arises, for example STOP dial *456*9#. The opt-out instructions should be simple and clear that require minimal effort and time.

7. All advertising companies have to ensure all their customers can register their numbers to Do Not SMS. Do Not Call, Do Not Spam registers.

8. Any content containing gambling, competition, voting, adult, or virtual credit is not allowed to be sent out to your registered customers. The regulations prohibit profiling of a child for the purpose of direct marketing.

9. The draft regulations also mandate businesses that are mainly involved in direct marketing to register with the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner. During the application, the businesses must provide information on whom they’ll collect the data from, the description of personal data they’ll collect, the purpose of this data, and the institutions with whom they’ll share the data collected to.

All this measures put in place by the regulator intends to create a friendly ecosystem among the participants. On one hand, the SMS recipient is protected from being spam with content not fit for consumption. This has led SMS providers in Kenya, to have a standard screening for persons or marketers who are seeking to use bulk SMS service.

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