Industry focus: telecoms in Netherlands

Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy LLP draws upon its strengths in a number of key areas to provide a comprehensive range of services to clients operating in the telecoms sector. It assists with regulatory proceedings, competition and M&A. The practice also excels in handling multijurisdictional litigation, as well as commercial issues. Practice head Kees Schillemans specialises in EU and competition law, as well as telecoms sector regulation. Tjarda Van Der Vijver is another key individual at the firm. Peter Eijsvoogel left the firm in 2021 to become an independent attorney.

Practice head(s):

Kees Schillemans

Other key lawyers:

Tjarda van der Vijver

Testimonials

‘Very skilled professionals, top quality advice.’

‘Tjarda Vijver: very amicable, smart, customer-oriented. Fast and excellent quality. Same counts for Kees Schillemans: an absolute expert in his field.’

Key clients

KPN

PGGM Infrastructure Fund / Eurofiber

Eurazeo

Bird & Bird

Bird & Bird’s cross-practice telecoms team in the Netherlands is ‘great at collaborating with other professionals in public affairs, technical issues and research agencies’. It works closely with other practitioners in the firm's international network to handle complex national, European and multijurisdictional projects. It is also active in administrative/civil court proceedings and transactions. The group's wide-ranging expertise spans areas such as fixed-line networks, mobile/5G, EU/global satellite communication, blockchain and OTT/IoT/M2M. Marjolein Geus, who has ‘unmatched knowledge of regulatory affairs within the telecom sector’, co-heads the practice with Paul Waszink.

Practice head(s):

Marjolein Geus; Paul Waszink

Other key lawyers:

Frank Simons; Feyo Sickinghe; Wilfred Steenbruggen; Laura Grijpma; Tjibbe Douma; Jochem Apon; Raoul Grifoni Waterman

Testimonials

‘We are supported by Marjolein Geus. Marjolein and her team at Bird & bird have proven over the years to be highly specialised in telecom legislation and regulations and have been a great support for our company. Marjolein is very knowledgeable, pragmatic in her approach, understands the needs of her client and will provide tailored advice to the client.’

‘Bird & Bird is a tech powerhouse. We had a very tricky telecoms matter and recieved more credible advice from them than anyone else.’

‘Bird & Bird has some of the most talented lawyers I’ve worked with anywhere in the world. Marjolein Geus is phenomenal, an absolute superstar – depth of knowledge, strategic approach and relentless work ethic. I can’t recommend her highly enough.’

‘The Bird & Bird telecoms team is exceptionally sophisticated about matters of consequence to the OTT industry, and has a strong network of resources across the EU. It is informed, responsive, pragmatic and generally clear in its guidance.’

‘Marjolein Geus is particularly strong, both as an attorney and as a team leader. In addition to broad background knowledge, she is crisp, efficient, and responsive, with good legal judgment.’

‘Bright thinkers; See through complex matters instantly. Strength in international telecommunications law; spectrum regulation; well placed within an international network of telecom experts, quickly reaching out for international opinions. Bird & Bird stand out as they stay engaged throughout the process on a 24×7 basis. They will offer innovative solutions; challenge status quo to arrive at acceptable outcomes to all parties.’

‘Bird & Bird is unique regarding its in-depth knowledge of sector specific legislation. The team is very creative in coming up with out of the box solutions when it comes to the interaction between legislation and policy development leading to commercial successes. The team and partners are always easy to reach and very approachable.’

‘The Bird and Bird team is great at collaborating with other professionals in public affairs, technical issues and research agencies. It understands the political side of an issue while focussing on the legal.’

Key clients

ABN AMRO

Arcus Infrastructure / E-Fiber

British Telecom (BT)

Broadcom

Cellnex

CM.com

Colt Telecom

DigitalEurope

European Commission

Equigy

MONET

NLEx

Nokia

Primevest

PostNL

Proximus

Qualcomm

Rabobank

Sisvel

Tele2 AB

T-Mobile

Verizon

Webfleet Solutions

Work highlights

  • Leading the European wide project for DigitalEurope regarding the implementation/analyses of the implementation of the European Electronic Communications Code (EECC) in all 27 EU Member States and the UK.
  • Leading a project for the European Commission regarding the development of the groundbreaking European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI).   EBSI is described as a “Flagship Technology Project in the EU”.
  • Assisted operators (T-Mobile, Primevest and E-fiber) and leading banks (ABN AMRO N.V. and Rabobank), in multiple projects regarding the deployment of fiber-optic networks and transactions regarding the financing of the roll-out of fiber-optic telecom networks (Fiber-to-the-Home or FttH).

Brinkhof

Brinkhof is seen by clients as a go-to adviser on a wide ambit of high-profile and complex matters relating to the Dutch telecoms market. Its first-rate reputation is reflected by its work for a diverse range of clients, such as hardware manufacturers, MVNOs and MVNEs, OTT players and network providers. The team, which is ‘very well-connected to the client’s interests’, is prominent in high-profile projects, competition-related and regulatory matters, as well as patent cases and civil damages actions, among other key mandates. Pepijn Van Ginneken has a particular focus on telecoms regulatory issues, and is an expert in competition law in a communications context. He co-heads the team with Quinten Kroes, who advises on and litigates matters related to telecoms, media and data protection law. Another key name in the area is Remy Chavannes, who has ‘outstanding legal expertise spanning the telecom, media and digital landscapes’.

Practice head(s):

Pepijn van Ginneken; Quinten Kroes

Other key lawyers:

Remy Chavannes; Dorien Verhulst

Testimonials

Standout partner leading a team of solid associates. Diversity is key for us and we see that reflected at Brinkhof, far more than in other European firms. We’re thrilled that the team has seamlessly adapted to our internal tools (Gsuite, billing, etc.).’

‘Remy Chavannes has outstanding legal expertise spanning the telecom, media and digital landscapes. He’s smart, approachable and delivers advice that is concrete & rooted in real life.’

‘Very knowledgeable on telecoms business. Very well connected to the client’s interests.’

‘Remy Chavannes. Creative thinker. Nice to work with. High quality litigation. Dorien Verhulst. Extremely good reader and analyst of complex telecoms files. Hard worker. Very valuable lawyer.’

Key clients

T-Mobile

Tele2

KPN

Utility Connect

Glasdraad

VCR

Xiaomi

Eurofiber

OPPO

Work highlights

  • Representing T-Mobile, the largest mobile operator in the Netherlands, in connection with its challenge to the record fine imposed by regulator ACM in relation to online compliance with consumer protection regulations.
  • Representing Oppo and Xiaomi with cases relating to their alleged infringements of standard essential patents, raising important points of both patent and competition law.
  • Providing On-demand video streaming platform with regulatory support in its dealings with various EU telecommunications regulators (BEREC) and media regulators (ERGA), illustrating our strength in specialist regulatory issues.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer leverages its strengths in litigation, regulation, competition law, transactions and joint ventures to provide a full service to clients in the telecoms space. The firm has a notable strength in handling telecoms regulatory matters that interface with the car manufacturing industry, including those concerning the Internet of Things. Antitrust, competition and trade specialist Winfred Knibbeler, who leads the practice, has substantial experience of undertaking advisory work and litigation in the telecoms sector. Alvaro Pliego Selie is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Winfred Knibbeler

Other key lawyers:

Alvaro Pliego Selie

Testimonials

‘We’ve been working with the same people within this firm for years. They have a knowledgeable and smart team. Partner involvement is excellent, as are the associates we work with.’

‘The team is always available and quick to deliver high quality and pragmatic legal advice. In most cases we work with them they get the job done (e.g. getting network access obligations overturned).’

Key clients

AGC Equity Partners Investment Management Ltd

Airbnb

CK Hutchison

HP Inc

MTN Group

Vitruvian Partners

VodafoneZiggo

Liberty Global

Vodafone Plc

Volkswagen / Audi

Work highlights

  • Representing VodafoneZiggo in the successful and landmark appeal against wholesale broadband regulation passed by the ACM in 2018. The appeals court CBb sided with VodafoneZiggo and rejected appeals from rivals T-Mobile and Tele2 Netherlands.
  • Following the challenge to the merger of Liberty Global’s Dutch business and Ziggo, rival operator KPN lodged an appeal at the EU General Court, which led to annulment of the original decision by the General Court and renotification of the Liberty / Ziggo transaction to the European Commission, which was subsequently cleared in 2018. Represent VodafoneZiggo, and its shareholders Liberty Global and Vodafone plc as interveners in ensuing litigation lodged again by KPN, in which the General Court in January 2021 rejected KPN’s appeal.

De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek

Particularly strong in litigation and regulation, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek is ‘on all levels very committed and focused and has in-depth knowledge of the telecoms sector in the Netherlands’. The multidisciplinary team advises on competition, intellectual property, administrative law, commercial contracting, alternative dispute resolution, finance, corporate and M&A matters. Gertjan Kuipers ‘really knows the industry and how to use that to its advantage in telecoms disputes’. He co-heads the practice with Tobias Cohen Jehoram, Lennard Keijzer and Jolling de Pree.

Practice head(s):

Gertjan Kuipers; Tobias Cohen Jehoram; Lennard Keijzer; Jolling de Pree

Testimonials

‘The team is on all levels (partner, counsel, senior associate, associate) very committed and focused and has in-depth knowledge of the telecoms sector in the Netherlands.’

‘How the IP team is embedded in the broader litigation practice and firm practice. Especially for multidisciplinary (IP) disputes or transactional matters, De Brauw is one of the best firms in the Netherlands to go to.’

‘Gertjan Kuipers has unparalleled analytical skills and is strategy wise always three steps ahead. He has been handling telecoms cases for almost two decades now, has been involved in the AIPPI working group on Standard Essential Patents, and that shows. He really knows the industry and how to use that to its advantage in telecoms disputes.’

Key clients

Sisvel

Deutsche Telekom Netherlands

T-mobile

KPN

Fortino Capital Partners

Everynet BV

CM.com

Be-In Mediagroup

NXP Semiconductors

Sharp

Access Advance & GE Video Compression

Altice

Verizon

Disney

NOS

EQT Fund Management

TomTom

Work highlights

  • Represented Sisvel in its enforcement campaign of standard essential patents in the Netherlands. Sisvel is a well-known leader in the management of IP and identifies, evaluates and maximises the value of IP assets for its partners around the world, such as Mitsubishi Electric, Orange, Airbus, Toshiba, Sony and many others.
  • Adviser for Deutsche Telekom in the Netherlands. The firm recently advised the client on a merger with Cellnex resulting in the largest independent cell mobile tower company in the Netherlands.
  • Trusted adviser for T-Mobile in the Netherlands. The firm recently advised the client on an auction process for the roll-out of fibre infrastructure in the Netherlands and their acquisition of Sim-only provider Simpel.

NautaDutilh

NautaDutilh‘s team has undergone significant expansion recently, with the arrival in March 2021 of Joris Willems, who has broad expertise in telecoms, media and technology. He joined from DLA Piper with a team of four fee earners, including counsel Cyril Christaans. The practice was further boosted by the arrival of associate partner Nima Lorjé from Brinkhof. The growing team provides a full offering in the area, with particular experience in cross-border M&A, regulatory, litigation and administrative law. The firm also has strengths in advising on OTT platforms and outsourcing in telecoms.

Practice head(s):

Joris Willems

Other key lawyers:

Nima Lorjé; Cyril Christaans

Key clients

Irdeto

Prosus

MessageBird

VodafoneZiggo

Vodafone Plc

GTT Communications

Wiko

Tinno Mobile

Next Private B.V.

KPN

Inmarsat Solutions B.V.

Tata Consultancy Services

Tencent

ING Bank

HAL Investments

Pels Rijcken & Droogleever Fortuijn NV

Known for defending Dutch government organisations in complex and politically sensitive litigation, Pels Rijcken & Droogleever Fortuijn NV handles advisory work and litigation for the Dutch Telecommunications Authority, the Netherlands Radiocommunications Agency, the Dutch Media Authority and the State of the Netherlands. The firm has a particular strength in regulatory matters. Practice head Jannetje Bootsma specialises in administrative law, with a focus on telecommunications and education. Arnoud Boorsma handles general administrative law, supervision and enforcement, notably telecoms sector and the public and commercial media sector matters.

Practice head(s):

Jannetje Bootsma

Other key lawyers:

Arnoud Boorsma

Testimonials

‘Very strong and versatile team, great litigators.’

‘Arnoud Boorsma is an excellent lawyer with great knowledge of bot telecom law and administrative procedural, which is a prerequisite in the complicated proceedings he and his team are often involved in. Jannetje Bootsma has excellent skills in court and always present in the big cases.’

‘The practice has a unique selling point. They provide legal services for all supervision authorities in The Netherlands. The practice is well informed about national and European administrative law, competition law, audiovisual law and telecom law. With their excellent knowledge of legislation and case law, they supply high level legal services.’

‘The individuals we work with are very much interested in our mission, vision and strategy and are aware of the importance to explicit our public value in all legal disputes. The legal experts are very much able to see through the main issues/questions and provide tailor-made legal services that correspond to our high standards.’

‘Good knowledge of public law, European law and regulation issues. They deliver on time and with high quality.’

‘Focuses on the core issues to ensure high quality in time.’

Key clients

Commissariaat voor de Media

ACM

OPTA

Agentschap Telecom

State of the Netherlands

Work highlights

  • Represents the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy. Foundation Stop5GNL instituted proceedings against the State aimed at prohibiting the roll-out of 5G technology in the Netherlands. The firm assisted the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy in these preliminary relief proceedings and has acted on behalf of the State together with his colleagues. By decision of 25 May 2020, the District Court of The Hague denied Stop5GNL’s claim. The District Court concluded that the State was not acting unlawfully by enabling the roll-out of 5G. Stop5GNL Foundation has filed an appeal.

Clifford Chance

Sitting within the firm’s wider global tech group, Clifford Chance’s multidisciplinary telecoms practice advises corporate enterprises, private equity houses and financial institutions on a full spectrum of TMT matters. The team's expertise includes telecoms infrastructure investments and developments, joint ventures, outsourcing, cyber security and data protection matters. Senior counsel Jaap Tempelman leads the group.

Practice head(s):

Jaap Tempelman

Other key lawyers:

Andrei Mikes; Tamlin Higgins; Orsolya Gondos

Testimonials

‘Very knowledgeable across various relevant sub-topics and good collaboration among teams. Generally, smart team, hands-on, very good accessibility.’

Key clients

Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners

Telefónica

MessageBird

OneWeb

ING Bank

Booking.com

EQT

MTN Group

Natixis

KKR

Work highlights

  • Advised DTCP and KKR on the launch of Open Dutch Fiber, a new passive fiber network operator, and on a strategic agreement between Open Dutch Fiber and T-Mobile Netherlands.
  • Advised DTCP on its seed investment comprising (i) the acquisition of all mobile towers and masts owned by T-Infra (a subsidiary of T-Mobile/Deutsche Telekom) in the Netherlands, and (ii) the subsequent sale of T-Infra to Cellnex Netherlands, whereby DTCP acquired a stake in Cellnex.
  • Continuing to advise global satellite operator OneWeb in determining and analysing telecoms regulatory requirements across multiple jurisdictions in four continents with regard to the roll-out of its global terrestrial network, which supports its global Low-Earth-Orbiting satellite constellation.

Houthoff

Houthoff has a strong track record in high-profile M&A in the telecoms industry, and it is also highly regarded for its litigation work. In addition, clients turn to the firm for advice on regulatory issues and outsourcing arrangements, among other matters. Thomas de Weerd heads up the practice.

Practice head(s):

Thomas de Weerd

Key clients

Wingtech

Tofane

Telia Company

Tele 2 AB

Raga Establishment Ltd.

High Point

Bloomberg L.P.

Work highlights

  • Advised several of Altice’s significant minority shareholders on Patrick Drahi’s public offer for all shares in Altice Europe’s capital.
  • Advised Nexperia on the $1.5bn underwritten refinancing in connection with the acquisition of Wingtech of the majority interest in the Nexperia group.
  • Advised Antin Infrastructure Partners and Eurofiber on Antin’s sale of a substantial minority stake in Eurofiber to PGGM, one of the largest pension funds in the Netherlands; Eurofiber is the largest independent fibre network company in the Netherlands, with a significant presence in Belgium and France.

Loyens & Loeff

Loyens & Loeff's telecoms practice combines expertise in commercial, corporate, tax, regulatory, IP, IT, competition, procurement, real estate, data protection, privacy and employment. The multidisciplinary team handles cases related to regulatory obligations, as well as assisting clients with drafting and negotiating interconnection agreements, and with obtaining permits and registrations. Kim Lucassen leads the telecoms team, the data protection and privacy team, and the life sciences team.

Practice head(s):

Kim Lucassen

Other key lawyers:

Nina Orlić

Testimonials

‘They have a team of highly skilled professionals and they are always able to provide us with advice on complex legal matters (at short notice if needed).’

‘Kim Lucassen is a real business partner. She understands the needs of us as her client.’

Key clients

Orange S.A.

Jaguar Land Rover

Tata Communications Netherlands B.V.

ZED+

Oi S.A.

Custom Connect B.V.

Interxion Holding N.V.

Broadcom

Liberty Global Europe Holding B.V.

AT&T

Goldman Sachs

Viacom

Panasonic Europe

Universal Music Group

Work highlights

  • Advises Tata Communications Netherlands B.V., part of the Tata concern, on a continuous basis on all telecom related legal and regulatory aspects and requirements that they face in the Netherlands. Furthermore act as Tata’s representative towards the Dutch telecom authorities (ACM and Agentschap Telecom).
  • Assists Jaguar Land Rover with data protection law matters related to ‘intelligent cars’. Further assist Jaguar Land Rover with various matters related to commercial contracts and on the launch of new services.
  • Advised Interxion Holding N.V. – a Netherlands-based US-listed company, which provides carrier and cloud-neutral colocation data centre services – on the acquisition of the data centre business of Vancis B.V., a Netherlands-based company. Furthermore advise Interxion on an on-going basis on data protection related matters.