Telecoms in Ireland

Mason Hayes & Curran LLP

Mason Hayes & Curran LLP stands out for its expertise in advising Irish state entities on complex matters, such as the procurement of high-profile telecoms projects, spectrum auctions, and the drafting and enforcement of regulations. The team also acts for some of the most prominent companies in the telecoms sector, assisting them on compliance with EU and Irish regulations as well as handling corporate transactions involving telecoms companies. Practice head Michael Madden and Edel Hartog are key names. Senior associate Gráinne Morrissey  is also noted for her experience in telecoms and has recently completed a ten-month secondment at ComReg, the Irish communications regulator.

Practice head(s):

Michael Madden

Other key lawyers:

Edel Hartog; Gráinne Morrissey; Frank Flanagan

Testimonials

‘The core team at Mason Hayes & Curran, Michael Madden and Frank Flanagan, have advised on the key radio spectrum awards and other radio spectrum related matters in Ireland for the previous 10+ years and have, therefore, developed a tremendous breadth of experience and expertise on such matters.’

‘Having worked closely and extremely well with us over many years, the MH+C team have a great understanding of not only the regulatory framework, but our internal processes, and their advice and assistance continue to reflect this understanding. For example, the MH+C team is highly accessible, pragmatic and solutions-focused in their delivery of services and readily appreciate and respond to the tight time pressures we are constantly under (both internal and external).’

‘Another key aspect is that the key members bring quite different but, importantly, highly complementary experience, expertise and perspectives in their advice and assistance. Similarly, they are quick to bring in additional and varied expertise should the need arise. The sheer exposure of the MH+C team, and hard-earned contextual understanding, would be extremely difficult to find in another Irish firm.’

‘Michael and Frank bring quite different but, importantly, highly complementary experience, expertise and perspectives to the table. In particular, given his previous experience at ComReg and his competition/regulatory law practice, Michael readily understands our objectives and perspective, contributes extremely well to nuanced policy discussions (especially involving the commercial perspectives of the industry, economic analysis and competition law), and provides a highly accessible, engaging, responsive and no-nonsense primary point of contact between our teams.’

‘Michael Madden is an experienced partner but with prior experiences working in a regulatory environment as an economist. Frank Flanagan, also an experienced partner has a background in more technical matters; together they provide excellent balance. To boot, both gentlemen are personable, open and honest in their advice, very approachable and most importantly very aware of our role and the challenges that we face.’

‘Strong industry knowledge of telecoms, sectorial regulation, Govt and EU policy implications and state aid implications. Breadth of experience of having worked with/advised directly both sectorial regulator and government. ’

‘Highly knowledgeable and flexible team of partners and associates, where the main partners I dealt with were Edel Hartog and Michael Madden in terms of wholesale telecoms regulation and state aid (with specific on State Aid guidelines for broadband deployment).’

‘They are very responsive to inquiries and respond quickly. They are creative and provide good advice that is not overly “lawyerly” and does not overplay the regulatory risk. ’

‘Very nice people to work with, particularly Edel Hartog.’

Key clients

Commission for Communications Regulation

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment

BT Ireland

Virgin Media

Amazon

BlueFace

Ericsson

IBM

Genesys Telecommunications

Tata Communications

Sprint Corporation

IP Telecom

Globalstar

Work highlights

  • Advised the Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment on all aspects of the design of Ireland’s National Broadband Plan.
  • Advising ComReg on the design and implementation of its next big multi-band spectrum auction involving the 700 MHz band and other valuable spectrum bands.
  • Advised ComReg on an unprecedented proposal to release a significant amount of additional radio frequency spectrum to mobile network operators, and potentially other wireless broadband providers across the country, aimed at reducing the acute burden on their networks and maintaining quality of services.

Matheson

Matheson's telecoms practice handles a range of matters in this sector, including advising on compliance with telecoms law and defending against investigations by regulators. The team is particularly active in advising on competition and merger control matters in the telecoms space. Practice head Helen Kelly has considerable experience handling litigation against the Irish telecoms regulator ComReg. Anne-Marie Bohan is another key contact in the team, and also leads Matheson's Technology and Innovation Group. Kate McKenna is heavily involved in providing regulatory advice to telecoms companies.

Practice head(s):

Helen Kelly

Other key lawyers:

Anne-Marie Bohan; Kate McKenna; Simon Shinkwin

Testimonials

‘They deliver commercially focussed and pratical advice on a timely basis ’

‘Simon Shinkwin has been very responsive and aims to understand commercial imperatives and tailors his advice accordingly.’

Key clients

Three Ireland & parent CK Hutchison

Sky UK / Sky Ireland

Microsoft

AMP Capital

An Post / PostMobile

Enet

Cisco

Twitter

Facebook

Amazon

Work highlights

  • Acting for Sky Ireland in ongoing litigation against ComReg in relation to pricing and access decisions as part of ComReg’s review of the Irish broadband market.
  • Advising Three on the implementation and implications of the new EU Roaming Regulation (and ComReg investigations / complaints arising from it) as well as the impact of other new legislation including the European Electronic Communications Code and the ePrivacy Regulation.
  • Advised the final bidder for the National Broadband Plan on all aspects of its bid.

McCann FitzGerald

McCann FitzGerald is active in handling contentious telecoms matters, acting for telecoms companies against both ComReg and other telecoms providers. The team also acts for ComReg in defence of proceedings brought by telecoms companies. On the non-contentious side, the team advises clients on corporate matters, including acquisitions and joint ventures in the telecoms space. The practice is led by Philip Andrews, who focuses on regulatory matters, David Lydon, who handles telecoms M&A, and Rosaleen Byrne, who is noted for her work in litigation.

Practice head(s):

Philip Andrews; David Lydon; Rosaleen Byrne

Other key lawyers:

Catherine Derrig

Testimonials

McCann FitzGerarld’s reputation in telecoms is driven by Rosaleen Byrne, who is highly experienced and very well regarded in telco regulation in Ireland. She has a reputation of combining an in-depth legal knowledge of the sector with a strategic and practical approach, which clients appreciate. Byrne has extensive experience of advising both regulators and private clients, which gives her an excellent perspective on how to deal with legal issues in this complex sector.’

Key clients

Vodafone

Three Ireland

BT Ireland

Electricity Supply BoardNova Networks

Commission for Communications Regulation (“ComReg”)

Work highlights

  • Representing ComReg in a Commercial Court statutory appeal brought by Eircom (“Eir”) in respect of five decisions by ComReg to refuse Universal Service Funding applications made by Eir for its financial years 2010/11 –2014/15.
  • Advising Vodafone on contentious and non-contentious matters relating to its rights and obligations under the EU telecoms code and related litigation.
  • Advising the Electricity Supply Board on its fibre-to-the-home joint venture with Vodafone, Siro and the implications of the National Broadband Plan for both ESB and Siro.

William Fry

William Fry's telecoms work spans the full spectrum of matters in this sector, with recent work including acting for both ComReg and private telecoms companies in litigation, advising companies on commercial agreements for telecoms infrastructure, and handling M&A transactions in the sector. Claire Waterson leads the team. 'Canny litigator' Garrett Breen handles telecoms disputes and senior associate Sarah Lynam stands out for her work on regulatory matters.

Practice head(s):

Claire Waterson

Other key lawyers:

Laura Scott; Laura Murdock; Sarah Lynam; Garrett Breen

Testimonials

‘The William Fry team has talent from top to bottom. Strengths in advisory and also in telecoms litigation both on Irish and EU issues. Top of the latter compared to other firms.’

‘Garrett Breen is a pragmatic decision-maker, a canny litigator and calms troubled waters. Laura Scott has technical know-how and is an excellent drafter. Claire Waterson is clever and pays keen attention to detail; she makes complex ideas appear simple. Laura Murdock is efficient and effective, and Paddy Murphy is up and coming.’

Key clients

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment

Horse Racing Ireland

Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg)

Digicel

Accuris Networks Limited

Tesco Mobile Ireland

Work highlights

  • Advising the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment on the legal aspects of the rollout of the National Broadband Plan.
  • Acting for the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) in complex litigation regarding the Irish broadband market.
  • Advising Accuris Networks on its acquisition by ZephyrTel, a software company dedicated to the global telecoms industry.

A&L Goodbody LLP

A&L Goodbody LLP is noted for its work acting for clients in litigation against the Commission for Communications Regulation, and also advises on corporate and commercial work such as reorganisations and transactions in the telecoms sector. The practice also handles cross-border work alongside the firm's Belfast office, including litigation against Ofcom, the British telecoms regulator. The practice is led by John Whelan and David Widger.

Practice head(s):

John Whelan; David Widger

Other key lawyers:

Charlie Carroll; Andrea Lawler

Key clients

eir

Eircom Limited

eircom (UK) Limited

Oak Hill Capital Partners

Ezetop Unlimited Company

Echelon Data Centres (Aldgate Developments Ltd)

Work highlights

  • Advised Oak Hill Capital Partners on its investment into Ireland’s National Broadband Plan project.
  • Advised eir on the reorganisation of its group to split out its masts business (into a newly incorporated entity, Emerald TowerCo) from its broader telecoms business
  • Acting for Eircom as notice party to proceedings issued by Sky against the Commission for Communications Regulations (ComReg) 2018 market renew decision and ComReg’s 2018 pricing decision.

Arthur Cox

Arthur Cox's telecoms practice advises clients on corporate and commercial matters in the sector, as well as handling the development of telecoms projects. Practice head Patrick Horan is noted for his work on competition law, including advising on the merger control aspects of telecoms transactions. Infrastructure specialist Aaron Boyle and corporate partner Connor Manning are also active in this sector.

Practice head(s):

Patrick Horan

Other key lawyers:

Aaron Boyle; Connor Manning

Key clients

National Broadband Ireland

Vodafone

Openet

eir

Phoenix Tower International

Tetra Ireland

Cellnex

Telus International

Granahan McCourt

Enet

Avaya

Cubic Telecom

Work highlights

  • Advised NBI on its winning bid for an equity raise to fund the implementation of the Irish government’s €3bn National Broadband Plan.
  • Advised PTI on the €300m acquisition of eir’s wireless infrastructure/tower network.
  • Advised Cellnex on the acquisition of Cignal Infrastructure from InfraVia Capital Partners.

Eversheds Sutherland

Eversheds Sutherland handles contentious and non-contentious telecoms matters for clients in both the public and private sectors. The team sits on ComReg's panel, advising the regulator on investigations and enforcement; other work includes assisting with the procurement of telecoms projects and other commercial matters in this sector. Practice head Peter Curran is experienced in procurement and litigator Eoin Mac Aodha is another key contact.

Practice head(s):

Peter Curran

Other key lawyers:

Marie McGinley; Peter O’Neill; Eoin Mac Aodha

Testimonials

‘Eversheds have provided excellent support to us in enforcement actions (criminal and civil) in certain cases. They have shown a deep understanding of the procedures involved and assisted us in preparing in an efficient and organised manner for cases taken. Eversheds have demonstrated consistent expertise in all aspects of prosecutions and civil court proceedings.’

‘Eoin Mac Aodha has been consistently reliable and responsive to our needs. He takes a pragmatic and wise approach to litigation and provided measured counsel in occasionally difficult circumstances.’

Key clients

Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg)

Cicada Exchange

PiPiper

ENET

EirGrid plc

CyrusOne LLC

CSS Holdings, LLC

Webdoctor

Sun Life Financial of Canada

Woebot Labs

Adaptics Limited trading as Drop

Anam Technologies Limited

Woebot

Television Audience Measurement Ireland Limited

Tuas Mobility Services Ireland (“Turas”)

Work highlights

  • Advising Eirgrid on procurement of dark fibre services on interconnector links between Ireland and Wales and between Ireland and France (Celtic Interconnector project).
  • Advising ComReg on various enforcement and dispute resolution matters with major telcos.
  • Advising Cyrus One LLC on various major data centre projects in Ireland.