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Our strong industry knowledge combined with an international edge helps telecoms companies, digital infrastructure providers, and equipment manufacturers navigate today’s complex telecoms regulatory environment. Our global team advises clients on their most strategic matters to capitalise on opportunities and mitigate risks.

Freshfields helps companies in the telecoms and digital infrastructure space futureproof their business models in an environment characterised by disruptive new entrants, emerging technologies, and evolving regulation. We act for operators, equipment manufacturers and financial investors on complex, cross-border transactions, disputes, and compliance with regulatory obligations. We regularly advise these players on mergers, acquisitions, carveouts and financing, strategy and regulation, commercial arrangements, partnering agreements relating to towers infrastructure, and the financing and rollout of fibre networks.

Antitrust, tax, data and other regulatory bodies are continuing to scrutinise telecoms business models as digital transformation continues to reshape the sector. Amid evolving sector network economics, we frequently help our clients to anticipate, respond to and reduce the likelihood of business or project risks associated with regulatory change and a rapidly changing competitive landscape.  

Recent client successes

Our work included: (1) advising a multinational conglomerate corporation on the antitrust aspects of its €20bn Italian telecoms joint venture with VimpelCom, creating the largest mobile operator in Italy; (2) advising on its 50/50 joint venture with Veon to combine their Italian mobile businesses, Three and Wind, and related carve out and disposal of network business to Iliad; (3) advising on the European Commission’s investigation into its proposed acquisition of Telefonica UK and its subsequent successful appeal of the European Commission’s decision to the General Court of the European Union; (4) advising 3G Austria on the acquisition of 1,755 mobile network sites from T-Mobile; and (5) advising WindTre, part of the CK Hutchison group, on creating a 50/50 joint venture with Iliad Italia for RAN sharing in less densely populated areas of Italy and to accelerate service coverage including 5G. 

Our work included advising on: (1) its acquisition of over 3,200 telecommunications sites in France from Cellnex Telecom; (2) its partnership with F2i to acquire TowerTel from EI Towers; (3) its purchase from Monaco Telecom of over 815 wireless towers and acquisition of newly constructed wireless towers over six years across Malta and Cyprus through a build-to-suit programme; (4) its purchase from eir of over 650 wireless towers and acquisition of newly constructed wireless towers over eight years across Ireland through a build-to-suit programme; and (5) its joint venture with Bouygues Telecom to deploy 4,000 wireless towers in France. 

The joint venture between MásMóvil and Orange will create a sustainable player and venture lead to significant efficiency gains, allowing the combined company to accelerate investments in FTTH and 5G that benefit Spanish customers. 

Awards & Recognitions

Number one for global merger control, 2022 and 2023, Global Competition Review: GCR 100 Survey

Top of GCR's Global Elite ranking (15th time), 2023, Global Competition Review: GCR Global Elite

M&A Firm of the Year, Who's Who Legal Awards, 2022  

Firm of the Year: Competition & Trade; M&A; Arbitration, Who's Who Legal Awards, 2022 

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