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Telecommunications

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Expertise

"This team understands our business concerns and delivers guidance in a concise, actionable and prompt manner."
Chambers Europe

Described by clients as an “all star team”, our Telecommunications Group is consistently recognised by international legal directories as a leading adviser to organisations involved in the telecommunications sector and related regulated sectors. The Group advises telecommunications companies, internet service providers and broadcasting companies ranging from early stage start-ups to multinational corporations on the full range of legal issues that affect them.

The group is structured on a cross-departmental basis, drawing on specialist skills including EU competition and regulatory expertise as well as corporate, commercial, finance and capital markets, technology, outsourcing, tax, litigation and property expertise. We have in-depth knowledge and experience of the particular requirements of the telecommunications sector and work closely with clients to understand the products and services forming the basis of their business. This enables us to provide legal advice of the highest calibre in an industry-focused commercial manner.

We provide a full service to our telecommunications clients and advise on a variety of matters explained in 'Experience Highlights'

Our Team

Experience Highlights

Regulatory

  • Competition and regulatory issues under the EU Regulatory Framework including spectrum licensing, rights of access, interconnection, infrastructure sharing, number portability, consultations with the telecommunications regulator in Ireland, the Commission for Communications Regulation ('ComReg') and the European Commission regulatory disputes, and complaints and challenging the regulators’ decisions in the courtsall aspects of the Irish regulatory regime including authorisation and related regulatory obligations relating to ECNs and ECSs.
  • All aspects of establishment of an MNO including spectrum auctions and licensing issues – we have advised a major telecommunications provider on its successful bid for a 3G licence and the launch of its mobile business.
  • All aspects of infrastructure roll out to meet licence requirements including the negotiation and outsourcing of the operation and maintenance of voice and data networks and end-to-end bandwidth transmission programmes involving the expansion of fibre-based access transmission.
  • Interconnection issues including interconnection disputes.
  • Number porting issues and porting disputes.
  • Universal service obligation funding and the contribution levy.
  • Competitions to appoint service providers in the telecommunications sector, including those that involve use of public resources such as emergency call answering services competition by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, or the roll-out of the National Broadband Scheme.
  • The launch of MVNOs including the regulatory obligations that apply and the wholesale and retail contracts necessary to establish a new service offering.
  • The preparation of responses to regulatory consultations.
  • Regulatory issues relating to content provision including rules applicable to premium services providers.
  • Advised a multinational telecoms manufacturing company in relation to the use of certain security software tools in the context of compliance with Irish data protection and privacy legislation.
  • Advised an Irish Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO)  and an international content provider on its data protection obligations in particular its obligations under the data retention Directive 2006/24/EC.

Transactional work

  • Advising on mergers and acquisitions in the telecommunications sector including merger control filings at Irish and EU level as well as multi-jurisdictional filings and interactions with other regulatory bodies.
  • Advised Three Ireland on its €780 million acquisition of communication provider Telefónica Ireland Limited, which trades as O2 Ireland.
  • Advised Three on the network infrastructure design, roll-out and implementation of the National Broadband Scheme including network maintenance, monitoring and management, support and maintenance services and technology procurement.
  • Drafting and negotiating complex network outsourcing agreements relating to the operation and maintenance of voice and data networks and end-to-end bandwidth transmission programmes involving the expansion of fibre-based access transmission.
  • Advising An Post National Lottery on the procurement and contractual aspects of telecommunication network connectivity and network management services.
  • Negotiating the commercial arrangement relating to an MVNO Customer Services agreement with Vodafone
  • Advising Singapore Technologies Telemedia Pte Ltd on its acquisition of sole control of eircom Holdings Limited, Ireland’s leading fixed telecommunications network provider as well as earlier acquisitions of eircom including the acquisition by Babcock & Brown Capital and the Swisscom approach to eircom in 2005 which was ultimately vetoed by the Swiss government.
  • Advising on the acquisition of Towercom Holdings Limited, the mast acquisition, design and construction business from eircom.
  • Advising Vodafone Group plc on the acquisition of the assets and business of Eircell Limited for €4.5 billion, now Vodafone Ireland.
  • Advising Tektronix Communications, a leading worldwide provider of communications, test and network solutions, on its acquisition of Dublin based Arantech Limited.
  • Advising Harris Corporation on the Irish aspects of its acquisition of the Tyco Electronics Wireless Systems business (formerly known as M/A-COM).
  • Advising Valista Ltd, the Irish provider of payment technology for electronic and mobile commerce on its sale to Aepona Limited, the UK based provider of telecoms software products and services.
  • National Toll Roads in relation to the sale of Irish Broadband Internet Services Limited to Imagine Communications Group Limited.

Regulatory Investigations and Contentious Work

  • Advising Three on the successful landmark appeal against the decision of the Communications Regulator ('ComReg') decision that Three had “significant market power”, dominance, in the voice call termination market as well as other high court appeals.
  • Advising the major fixed communications provider, UPC, on the successful defence of copyright infringement proceedings (both primary and secondary liability) taken by the music industry seeking injunctive relief against UPC to prevent subscriber P2P file sharing in EMI Records (Ireland) Ltd and others v UPC Communications Ireland Limited.
  • Dispute resolution procedures relating to telecommunications companies and consumers including ComReg’s dispute resolution procedure.
  • Criminal and civil investigations carried out by ComReg pursuant to its criminal investigatory powers including dealing with visits by authorised officers, data collection powers, intentions to prosecute and settlement issues.
Accolades

Matheson’s team has "thorough knowledge of the telecoms regulatory environment".
European Legal 500 2019

"They are always available, which includes at short notice and outside business hours."
Chambers Europe 2019