Our global communications practitioners have worked on diverse matters and projects throughout the world. We specialize in advising clients on regulatory issues in developing and developed markets and have experience in virtually every facet of telecommunications and technology, representing major wireless service providers, equipment manufacturers, trade organizations, governments and enterprise consumers in transactional, legislative, regulatory, administrative and appellate litigation matters. The following areas are among the capabilities we offer that benefit our clients.
As industry consolidation, new technologies, increasing demand for broadband services and globalization continue to drive wireless communications across all sectors, clients require sophisticated legal counsel experienced in the complex nuances and fast-paced technological nature of the business. Our lawyers are involved in every facet of wireless technology, having advised governments and regulatory authorities, major wireless service providers, equipment manufacturers, tower companies, trade organizations, and enterprise consumers in transactional, legislative, regulatory, administrative and appellate litigation matters before international, national and local regulatory authorities.
Our work in the development and use of broadband networks is as diverse and expansive as the industry itself. We advise operators and users of long-distance fiber optic networks, competitive local exchange networks, wireless communications systems and utilities. Our clients include high-profile, unregulated information and internet service providers and large enterprise consumers of broadband services. We also assist governments and regulatory authorities in their development of internet policies and regulations and their application to next generation IP-based communications services.
Communications Network Infrastructure
Owners, operators and users of communications towers that provide infrastructure support for wireless and broadband users have unique legal needs, including compliance with US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Aviation Administration regulatory requirements, state and federal agency rulemakings, legislative efforts that affect the tower industry, legal and zoning challenges regarding siting, compliance with environmental and safety laws and a host of potential liability issues. Our Communications Group is one of the leading tower siting and infrastructure practices and leverages the experience of an interdisciplinary team dedicated and to serving all of these legal needs.
We have an internationally renowned specialty in spectrum licensing rebanding and regulation. Our experience covers both government advisory mandates and advice to bidders on a range of spectrum auction types in jurisdictions as diverse as the US, Europe, the Middle East and Myanmar. We have considerable experience assisting clients with spectrum auctions and secondary market transactions for spectrum. This includes assisting regulatory authorities with the development of auction tender rules and the conduct of complex licensing procedures for the award of spectrum. We also advise clients on strategies for auction participation including identifying likely competitors and relevant factors that may alter market values for individual spectrum segments. In addition, we counsel clients on the procedural requirements for placing bids and participating in auctions. Finally, we assist clients in assessing auction results and preparing and filing the forms required to secure licenses.
In secondary spectrum markets, we assist clients with the purchase and sale of spectrum rights through assignment, transfer and lease. We help ensure that secondary market transactions fulfil the commercial needs of our clients, while remaining compliant with the regulatory restrictions that are often imposed on such transactions. We have participated in major policy proceedings addressing the allocation of radio spectrum by both national and international regulatory bodies to public and private mobile service providers; an example is our role as General Counsel for the 800 MHz Transition Administrator, which oversees the FCC’s 800 MHz Band Reconfiguration program. The program is the largest spectrum reconfiguration effectuated by any administration and affects more than 2,000 public safety radio systems, such as those used by police, fire fighters and emergency medical technicians
European Electronic Communications Code (EECC)
The EU Electronic Communications Code (EECC) is a new directive recasting the regulatory framework for electronic communications in the EEA. The EECC introduces a number of changes, including changes to the regulation of significant market power and network access, the promotion of very high capacity networks, spectrum management and end-users rights. It also expands the scope of EU telecoms regulation to new internet-based services, such as over-the-top (OTT) services; although OTT services remain subject to lighter touch regulation compared to traditional public switched telephone network (PSTN)-based services. Member states must adapt their existing telecommunications regulations in accordance with the EECC by 2020. In the meantime, certain provisions of the EECC may have direct effect, even before its transposition into national laws. The EECC is complemented by various directives and regulations, including, among others, the e-Privacy Directive, the Telecoms Single Market Regulation, the Roaming Regulation and the Radio Spectrum Decision.
Find Out More about the EECC
Read our insight which looks at 'Five Minutes on the EECC'.
Why Choose Us
- We have vast experience in all of the issues covered by the EECC, having actively participated in the negotiations at EU and member state levels, which led to the adoption of the EECC.
- With our “one-firm firm” approach, we draw upon the skills of specialists in complementary areas such as competition, licensing, spectrum management, e-privacy, network security, consumer protection and public policy.
- Many of our team members are former senior EU and national regulators, have served in in-house leadership roles within leading global telecommunications companies, or have leadership positions within international regulatory fora, such as the International Institute of Communications.
- Through our pan-European network, we are able to provide a “one-stop shop” for meeting the challenges and opportunities arising from the EECC. We can add value by monitoring the transposition of the EECC in national laws, advising on compliance with the new EECC requirements and bringing or defending clients in regulatory proceedings related to the imposition of new, or the rolling back of existing, ex ante regulation under the EECC.
- This cross-practice and cross-offices collaboration, combined with our industry focus, ensures we can give you the highest quality representation, with all the benefits only an influential global law firm can provide.
Intelligent Transportation Systems
Our lawyers are internationally recognized for representing clients seeking to deploy emerging intelligent transportation systems (ITS) for enhanced safety, multimedia and communications. We represent the major ITS trade group before the FCC, the US Department of Commerce and other authorities regarding the implementation of Connected Vehicle systems and technologies, which involve vehicle to vehicle (V2V) and vehicle to infrastructure (V2I) communications and have major legal considerations, including spectrum policy, risk management, data privacy and public private partnership issues among others. We draw on our experience in all aspects of these new technologies including wireless communications and location, intellectual property, public and private financing, and vehicle and installed-equipment manufacturing.
We are a leader in the field of satellite and aerospace law and policy. Our lawyers have assisted a wide range of clients throughout the world in matters involving satellite communications, space sciences and aeronautical communications. We offer extensive knowledge and experience in the licensing, financing, implementation and operation of satellite and aerospace systems and regularly assist clients in satisfying market entry conditions and obtaining authorizations in countries throughout the world to provide satellite communications services including broadband services to aeronautical, maritime, land mobile and oil and gas sectors. Drawing on the experience of our lawyers throughout Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and the US, we provide advice and guidance regarding all aspects of global and regional satellite and aerospace law and policy.
Privatization and Creating New Regulatory Regimes
We are a longstanding leader in the privatization of state-owned communications operators and assets. Acting on behalf of both sovereign governments and bidders, we assist in creating new sector structures, establishing new regulatory bodies, drafting licenses and concession agreements, preparing and negotiating transaction documents, preparing tenders and evaluating bids. We have advised on the restructuring of national communications regulatory regimes in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Americas, addressing such issues as market structure, market entry, licensing, ratemaking, interconnection, spectrum allocation, inter-jurisdictional conflicts, dispute resolution, competitive safeguards and the creation of new regulatory authorities. We have also provided expert advice to telecommunications industry players in these markets. In the private sector we work with clients to facilitate the growth and success of communications services operating domestically and across international borders. We also assist large enterprise users of communications services in navigating the transition to digital and wireless services.
Our industry-leading approach recognizes that policy formulation is often an iterative process, with the executive and administrative agencies, Congress and the judiciary all impacting the outcome. We have unique resources to advance client interests in these multiple forums at the same time.
We are active in proceedings before Congress, the FCC, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), the Department of Commerce, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and the Rural Utilities Service. We also advocate for clients before the Interdepartmental Radio Advisory Committee (IRAC), the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the US Department of State, state public service commissions and legislatures, state attorneys general and international bodies, such as the International Telecommunication Union and foreign regulatory agencies.
Market Access and Licensing
Our lawyers possess in-depth expertise in helping service providers to secure market access and navigate national regulatory regimes. We have secured market access through licenses and permits in more than 200 nations. Our work includes addressing local corporate presence and governance requirements, restrictions of revenue repatriation and mandatory interconnection with dominant incumbents. We frequently address antitrust and competition issues, mergers and acquisitions, unbundling of equipment and services, disclosure of customer information and technical network data, discriminatory provisioning and accounting mechanisms.
Communications industry clients turn to us for practical and creative legal advice and strategy for international and domestic mergers and acquisitions. We can guide you through due diligence reviews of the licenses and regulatory approvals held by the target company, along with verification of contractual relationships necessary for the ongoing provision of services. We are also a longstanding leader in the privatization of state-owned communications operators and assets.
Regulatory Compliance, Enforcement Proceedings and Dispute Resolution
We routinely assist our clients in matters involving regulatory compliance and remediation, complaint investigations and enforcement actions involving licensed communications service providers, universal service support, and equipment certifications and distribution. We offer extensive knowledge in the development of regulatory compliance and training programs and in addressing regulatory enforcement proceedings and commercial disputes.
Privacy and Data Security
Many companies today work with sensitive consumer data and we provide guidance on all aspects of privacy and data security. Our lawyers have a wealth of experience with corporate privacy policies and best practices. We can help you with advertising and e-commerce, data breaches, security issues, licensing, consumer marketing, social media, due diligence and government relations. We also advise clients about compliance with domestic and international privacy-related regulations, and represent clients before Congress and other legislative bodies, state and federal regulatory agencies (the FTC and FCC) and the courts.
Universal Service Support and E-rate
We are proud to have developed one of the first and most extensive practices dedicated to helping service providers, consultants and applicants who participate in the universal service and E-rate programs. You can rely on our assistance with application advice, rulemaking proceedings, ongoing compliance, audits, preparing and filing USAC and FCC appeals, congressional outreach, litigation, and representation in FCC Inspector General, Department of Justice investigations and qui tam actions. Our collective expertise is unparalleled and we have an impressive track record of positive appeal decisions from the FCC, overturning dozens of negative federal funding decisions.
Telemarketing and Automated Calling/Messaging
Our lawyers are experts in application of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, Junk Fax Act and the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule, including use of automated calling technologies and prerecorded messaging, facsimiles and text messaging. Our efforts include enforcement and compliance cases at the FCC and FTC and participation in rule making and other proceedings at those agencies.
Foreign Ownership and Investment in Domestic Networks
Our lawyers assist large and small multinational clients on their investment in, and establishment of, technology and communications businesses in the US. We advise on and undertake the necessary federal and state approval processes to obtain or assign licenses, permits and clearances to own technology and communications assets in the US, and advise on the best form of corporate organization, taking into account federal and state regulatory requirements, foreign ownership restrictions and tax.