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Allen & Overy (Thailand) Co, Ltd is one of the best-known names in the Thai telecoms and media industry and is instructed by two of the three largest telecoms operators in Thailand, as well as the Asia Pacific branches of some of the world’s largest media groups. The TMT practice group is integrated with the disputes resolution department and regularly appears in Administrative Court proceedings for telecoms operators; though the firm is also adept at handling corporate and regulatory matters in the telecoms and media industries. Dumnern Subpaisarn is advising Advanced Info Service on a range of contentious matters and also assisted a subsidiary, Advanced Wireless Network, with its successful THB40.99bn bid for 1800MHz telecoms licences. Additionally, Subpaisarn is acting for Total Access Communication (DTAC) in its claim against the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) and the Secretary General of NBTC. Much of the group’s Administrative Court work requires expertise in Thailand’s regulatory framework, and the team also provides regulatory compliance advice to household name tech companies such as Uber Technologies. Other major clients include Fox Networks Group Asia Pacific and THAICOM Public Company. Nithi Laophulsuk joined the firm from Standard Chartered Bank (Thai) and senior associate Wipanan Prasompluem has experience in regulatory work in the telecoms sector.

Acting for household name online companies, TV broadcasters and telecoms providers, Baker McKenzie’s IT and communications department handles a wide variety of work, but has a particularly strong regulatory offering. In 2016-2017, the team has assisted internet providers and tech manufacturers with a range of licencing issues and has provided Thai regulatory advice to universally familiar internet-related services companies. Department head Dhiraphol Suwanprateep has extensive experience in the regulatory framework governing the Thai telecoms industry, and also handles commercial contract and licencing work. He is at the forefront of the evolving Thai regulatory regime surrounding cloud computing. Nont Horayangura is instructed by a host of banking, software and telecoms companies.

Tilleke & Gibbins is highly regarded in the Thai market for its corporate and regulatory work for clients in the hi-tech, media and telecoms sectors. The team’s ‘knowledge of local laws and regulations’ cannot be overstated and it is this expertise that has drawn clients such as Oculus VR, InComm, Apple and Facebook, the last of which the team has advised on a litany of data protection, licensing and other regulatory issues. The team also acts for e-commerce clients such as Lazada, telecoms companies including AT&T and Vodafone, clients involved in cloud computing and various start-ups and mobile app operators. In addition to its formidable regulatory offering, the group often handles acquisitions and joint venture arrangements for technology and media companies. Practice head Jeffrey Blatt, David Duncan, who has considerable expertise in TMT-related corporate transactions and IT infrastructure projects, and Piyanuj Ratprasatporn are key contacts. Other notable clients include Cisco, Isuzu, 24M Technologies and Wikipedia.

Acting for domestic and international corporates and investors, Blumenthal Richter & Sumet Ltd is well-known in the Bangkok market for its extensive regulatory expertise in some of the greyest areas of Thai TMT law, such as data privacy and cloud services. John Formichella is an established name in the field and provides regulatory and corporate advice to a very wide range of corporate clients. In one particularly large cross-border mandate, he advised a multinational industrial company on the implementation and integration of a digital IT system for an enterprise of more than 5,000 end-users. The TMT group, which includes senior associates Naytiwut Jamallsawat and Promboon Sookatup, often works for online clients involved in specialised digital industries such as insurance and internet gambling. The department head is sought after by some of the largest telecoms companies and is advising one of the world’s more prolific software companies on Thai regulations surrounding its planned geo-hosting services.

DLA Piper (Thailand) Limited is particularly experienced in obtaining licensing and other operational rights for clients in the tech and telecoms sectors. The integrated IP and TMT group works across various industry sectors and has been especially active for air carriers and aircraft-related telecoms providers in 2016-2017. Chanvitaya Suvarnapunya heads the practice group and has been instructed by clients such as Expedia, Telstra Corporation and LINE Plus Corporation. Working alongside its dispute resolution department, the firm has also seen recent growth in the number of contentious matters it undertakes. Indeed, the litigation team was successful in defending a claim bought against its software developer client regarding a banking systems project. Pattama Jarupunphol is an active senior associate in the team and Supreedee Nimitkul left the firm to join Kennedys.

In Bangkok, R & T Asia (Thailand) Limited is particularly well-known for its regulatory expertise and this has won the TMT group instructions from some of the world’s most prominent tech companies and domestic telecoms providers. The group’s experience covers nascent areas such as over-the-top services and data privacy and it also brings its regulatory strength to the Administrative Court, where it regularly represents leading telecoms companies. Notable contacts in the department include Supawat Srirungruang and Saroj Jongsaritwang. DTAC, Telenor and Lazada are some of the key clients.

The partners at Weerawong, Chinnavat & Partners have extensive experience in the telecoms industry and leverage that experience in a range of corporate transactions, from shares transactions and corporate financing to purchasing commercial advertisement rights. Additionally, Rapinnart Prongsiriwattana is representing DTAC in a significant case in the Administrative Court involving telecoms concessions and public-private contract law. In the corporate finance space, Passawan Navanithikul acted for Jasmine International in obtaining a THB6bn facility agreement from Siam Commercial Bank for the expansion of its broadband business. Chinnavat Chinsangaram also advised Taobao China Holding (a member of the Alibaba Group) on its $1bn acquisition of a controlling stake in Lazada Group, which required navigation through complex cross-border regulatory and licensing issues in areas such as digital payment. Phisit Dejchaiyasak has represented telecoms providers in disputes and Veeranuch Thammavaranucupt has a valuable background in the telecoms sector.

The strength of DFDL’s Bangkok-based TMT department lies in fintech and e-commerce – two areas that have seen increased popularity in Thailand. The team provides regulatory advice to multinational corporates and also assists online businesses and investors with various financing and corporate transaction matters. Kraisorn Rueangkul advised Entertainment Gaming Asia on the launch of a mobile gaming app throughout the ASEAN region and, in a separate matter, assisted Microsoft with regulatory issues surrounding its e-money services in Thailand. Rashane Leerabandhu acted for venture capital fund TIH Investment Management on its investment in P2P lending start-up Money Table. Vinay Ahuja heads the TMT practice group and assisted Eatigo International with obtaining a $10m series-B investment from TripAdvisor. Other clients of the department include Uber and a notable telecoms operator.

Linklaters has real strength in corporate and capital markets transactional work in the TMT sector, where the group has made use of its expertise in infrastructure funds to advise telecoms clients seeking diversified capital sources. The TMT team also acts for communications companies on regulatory issues and receives instructions from prominent governmental organisations in the telecoms and media sector. In 2016, Wilailuk Okanurak and Sonya Kalnin assisted ASEAN Industrial Growth Fund with the provision of IT systems and services by Yum! Restaurants International. Okanurak and Kalinin also acted for a major fintech company, Ascend Group, in relation to a share subscription by Ant Financial in the client’s subsidiary, Ascend Money. Wanwisar Nakarat is another key contact in the department. Additional clients include True Growth Infrastructure Fund, DTAC and United Technologies Corporation.

With instructions from an impressive roster of European and American tech clients, Watson Farley & Williams (Thailand) Limited exhibits the ‘ability to communicate legal concepts in a manner that is comprehensible to western lawyers’. In the regulatory space, the ‘strongly recommended’ Alan Polivnick assists Uber with the licensing and regulatory issues connected with the client’s introduction of Uber Eats in Thailand. Polivnick has also advised Uber BV in relation to certain data privacy issues. Christopher Osborne handles corporate and commercial work for clients such as The Cabin Chiang Mai and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the latter of which he advised on a guarantee facility for True Move H’s acquisition of a 4G telecommunications spectrum. Osborne also acted for the shareholders of one of Asia’s largest e-commerce property sites on the sale of its Asia-wide business to a Spanish listed company.

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