Squire Sanders Advises on Landmark Telecoms Joint Venture

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    Squire, Sanders & Dempsey has advised Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa, the operator of T-Mobile in Poland, on its 15-year agreement to share radio access networks with PTK Centertel, operator of the Orange network in Poland. As part of the agreement, the two operators have transferred staff into a joint venture company, NetWorks!, with each owning 50% of the new company. NetWorks! will develop and maintain networks in Poland, and is one of only a few similar joint ventures currently operating within the worldwide telecommunications industry.

    The joint venture will improve the quality of the mobile network in Poland. By sharing radio access networks, each operator will serve its customers using approximately 10,000 stations - a significant increase on the 7,000 stations owned by Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa and 6,400 owned by PTK Centertel. The joint management of the networks will optimize network maintenance costs and enable greater investment in the latest technology which will help to deliver new services such as broadband mobile internet access to a greater number of customers.

    Due to the scale of the venture, new network-related solutions will be phased in gradually from now until 2014, but benefits will be seen in certain areas of Poland within the first six months of 2012.

    Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa and PTK Centertel’s business dealings will be limited to technical aspects. Each party will continue to own their network components and frequencies. The operators will continue to compete on the wholesale and retail telecommunications markets using their present brand names.

    The Squire Sanders team advising Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa on the agreement was led by Warsaw partner Eligiusz Krześniak, supported by Marcin Wnukowski, Edyta Dubikowska and Piotr Chochowski (all from Warsaw), Ann LaFrance and Chris Watkinson (London) and Oliver Geiss (Brussels).

    Eligiusz Krześniak commented: "This joint venture is a major step forward in the continued development of the telecommunications market in Poland and a landmark strategy for the industry as a whole as there are very few similar agreements in existence elsewhere in the world. It will mean that both operators will be able to invest funds effectively and speed up the expansion of the network infrastructure to benefit their customers."

    Nicola Woodmass
    Head of Communications
    Squire, Sanders & Dempsey (UK) LLP

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