Industry focus: telecoms in Netherlands

Allen & Overy LLP

The Allen & Overy LLP team stands out for the breadth of expertise it provides to telecoms clients, which includes knowledge of M&A and corporate, competition, regulatory and finance issues and disputes. Clients are also assisted with network sharing collaborations and contentious regulatory matters. Kees Schillemans, who acts for KPN, heads up the group and Peter Eijsvoogel advises on access and price regulations, mobile and broadcasting frequencies and network neutrality work.

Practice head(s):

Kees Schillemans

Key clients

Royal KPN

Q-Music

Work highlights

  • Acted as KPN’s chief regulatory counsel for over 20 years. The team is currently representing KPN in numerous regulatory proceedings relating to the regulation of mobile and fixed termination rates before the High Administrative Appeals Tribunal and the European Court of Justice, and is also handling the related enforcement issues against an instruction under threat of penalty payments issued by the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets based on the alleged infringement of the MTR/FTR decision.
  • Advised KPN on the sale of its US-based subsidiary iBasis, a leading player in the international wholesale voice market, to Tofane Global.
  • Advising KPN on its planned phasing out of its copper network-based services.

Bird & Bird LLP

The substantial and experienced team at Bird & Bird LLP is headed up by Marjolein Geus and Paul Waszink, and advises clients on the regulatory regimes and EU policies relevant to the telecoms industry, and also handles advisory and contentious matters. The team's advice covers the roll-out of fixed, mobile and wireless networks, network sharing issues, net neutrality work and cybersecurity matters. Senior counsel Frank Simons advises on core telecoms matters including spectrum regulation, telecoms infrastructure and satellite communications mandates.

Practice head(s):

Marjolein Geus; Paul Waszink

Key clients

BT

Cellnex Telecom S.A.

DEM Group

Eurofiber

European Commission,DG Connect

Nokia

PostNL

Proximus

Tele2 Nederland B.V.

T-Mobile/DeutscheTelekom

Work highlights

  • Acting for T-Mobile and Tele2 in appeal proceedings before the Dutch Administrative Supreme Court related to the regulator’s WFA market analysis decision.
  • Represented Tele2 in multifaceted litigation against KPN relating to the increase of rates for wholesale access to KPN’s copper networks including the violation of sector specific price squeeze prohibition and the violation of general competition rules.
  • Acted for T-Mobile in a landmark case in the EU regarding the allowance of ‘zero-rated’ music streaming services by T-Mobile under the Net Neutrality Regulation.

Brinkhof

The team at Brinkhof combines skills across the TMT sectors with competition, IP and data protection expertise. Pepijn van Ginneken provides a blend of telecoms and competition expertise and is often involved in regulatory issues. Quinten Kroes has long-standing experience in media-related and data protection work in addition to matters involving broadband regulations and data protection cases. Remy Chavannes, whose TMT clients include Tele2, has a track record acting for clients in the media, internet and telecoms industries in contentious issues. The group's clients range from infrastructure and network providers to international broadcasters.

Practice head(s):

Quinten Kroes; Pepijn van Ginneken

Key clients

BT Global Services

KPN

Tele2

Eurofiber

Sky Radio

Google

Lycamobile

Rabo CIF (renamed Glasvezel Buitenaf)

Utility Connect

VEON

Delta Rijssen Glasvezel

Work highlights

  • Continues to advise Dutch fixed line telecoms operator KPN on the European Commission’s review of the merger between Liberty Global (UPC) and Ziggo (UPC-Ziggo now rebranded Ziggo).
  • Acting for Tele2 in civil litigation against KPN involving a number of claims and counterclaims regarding KPN’s provision to Tele2 of unbundled local access since 2000, including tariff issues, which raises a number of key regulatory questions.
  • Represented Eurofiber in an important telecoms regulatory and competition case, in which the highest court on telecoms matters ruled in favour of the client’s position.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Clifford Chance

The telecoms team at Clifford Chance is part of the firm's global technology group, which provides multi-practice expertise to its telecoms clients. Gregory Crookes focuses on complex, cross-border M&A and joint ventures between telecoms corporates, while counsel Jaap Tempelman's expertise lies in technology-related commercial contracts, regulatory matters and litigation. The group's work includes advising L2Fiber Rotterdam on the greenfield establishment of fibre optic network operations in Rotterdam.

Practice head(s):

Gregory Crookes; Jaap Tempelman

Testimonials

A great team, international expertise, pragmatic, and pro-active. They  bring new solutions to complex international, non-standard situations.’

Key clients

Tele2

Turkcell

Xiaomi

Delta Fiber Netherlands

L2Fiber

Work highlights

  • Advised Tele2 on its agreement with Deutsche Telekom to combine Tele2 Netherlands and T-Mobile Netherlands. Tele2 will hold a 25% share in the combined company.
  • Supported Xiaomi, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of mobile devices, in the drafting and negotiation of a global manufacturing and supply agreement with Buyin, the purchasing company for Orange, for the supply of mobile devices to the Orange Group.
  • Advised CDC Group, the UK’s development finance institution, on its agreement to invest $180m into Liquid Telecom.

De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek

De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek acts for an impressive range of telecoms clients on corporate and M&A, competition, regulatory, patent protection and litigation work. Jolling de Pree is a specialist in European and Dutch competition law including litigation, while Lennard Keijzer specialises in M&A mandates, and Gertjan Kuipers and counsel Oscar Lamme provide a wealth of patent expertise to technology clients.

Practice head(s):

Jolling de Pree; Lennard Keijzer; Gertjan Kuipers; Oscar Lamme

Testimonials

‘De Brauw’s telecoms practice includes a highly skilled team of patent litigators lead by Gertjan Kuipers and Oscar Lamme. This year, we worked in close cooperation with the De Brauw team in a number of high profile patent cases before the Dutch court involving standard essential patents (SEPs) and FRAND licensing issues. The work also includes assisting patent litigation teams in other jurisdictions. The team is capable of handling both complex procedural matters as well as highly complex technology taking into account multi jurisdictional issues. The work they deliver is always of the highest quality.’ 

‘I have worked closely with Oscar Lamme and Gertjan Kuiper in several SEP patent cases, one which involves coding techniques, a field which is known to be particularly complex. Oscar’s science background helps him to quickly grasp the essence of the technology and to present the case in a clear and convincing way. His technical skills in combination with an exceptional knowledge in patent law makes him a fierce opponent in patent litigation cases.’

Key clients

KPN

Altice

T-Mobile

Siemens

Portugal Telecom International Finance BV

Deutsche Telekom

Ericsson

NXP

Sisvel International S.A.

Oi Telecom

Open Tower Company B.V.

Fortino Capital Partners

Work highlights

  • Lead counsel to Deutsche Telekom on its acquisition of Tele2 Netherlands by T-Mobile Netherlands.
  • Acted as lead counsel to Siemens on its acquisition of Mendix, an innovative Dutch scale-up founded in 2005 in Rotterdam specialising in cloud-enabled low-code application development.
  • Represented KPN in appeal proceedings against a decision by the ACM rejecting KPN’s complaint about abuse of dominance by Fox Sports in the Netherlands.

Houthoff

Thomas de Weerd heads up the Houthoff IT, telecoms, media and technology team and the privacy and data protection practice groups, which work in close co-operation with the corporate and M&A and litigation practices. In a recent highlight, the team worked with a US firm to advise Tele2 on its exit from a joint venture with Kazakhtelecom; it is also advising telecoms clients on regulatory issues and anti-bribery matters.

Practice head(s):

Thomas de Weerd

Key clients

Wingtech

Tofane

Telia Company

Tele 2 AB

Raga Establishment Ltd.

High Point

Work highlights

  • Advising China’s Wingtech Technology Co Ltd, one of the world’s largest smartphone contract manufacturers, on its acquisition of Dutch semiconductor company Nexperia Holding.
  • Assisted Tofane, a Paris-based company and provider of telecoms and digital services for carriers, with the acquisition of the shares in iBasis from KPN.
  • Advised Telia Company, a Swedish telephone company and mobile network operator, on multiple transactions.

bureau Brandeis

bureau Brandeis provides a combination of telecoms, internet, IP (including digital copyright), competition and data protection advice to its clients. Team head Christiaan Alberdingk Thijm is a key contact and Machteld Robichon is well versed in the media and telecoms arenas, especially regarding media regulations. Bas Braeken, who joined from Maverick Advocaten N.V., includes telecoms regulatory regimes and EU competition among his broad experience.

Practice head(s):

Christiaan Alberdingk Thijm

Key clients

Netflix

AMS-IX

KPN/XS4ALL

Dutch Publishers Association (NUV)

eBay

Sanoma

Pearson

Raffld/Lottovate

Talpa Radio

AT5/RTV NH

Fox Networks Group

RadioCorp

Youfone

Work highlights

  • Advising John de Mol´s Talpa Radio on regulatory matters including sponsoring and advertising rules in the Dutch Media Act.
  • Acting for NEM, part of Reggefiber, in a case relating to the fees local communities can charge for the installation of fibre networks.
  • Representing Eredivisie Media & Marketing as a third party in the appeal proceedings initiated by incumbent telecoms operator Royal KPN and local cable operator CAIW. In the administrative proceedings the Dutch competition authority decided that a change in how EMM exploited its distribution rights on the live broadcasts of the Premier League matches did not violate competition law.

DLA Piper

The DLA Piper team provides a wide range of practice area expertise to its TMT clients, which also benefit from the firm's global network of offices. Joris Willems, who is an IP and technology partner, leads the group and has broad TMT experience combined with IT and outsourcing expertise. The group advises on a range of issues including telephony, broadband, satellite and submarine cable mandates.

Practice head(s):

Joris Willems 

Key clients

Vodafone-Ziggo

Irdeto

Lebara

VEON

Tampnet

Work highlights

  • Representing Vodafone-Ziggo in a high-value dispute with one of its former partners and commercial agents.
  • Assisting Irdeto with its negotiations with KPN for various technology contracts.

Loyens & Loeff

The Loyens & Loeff practice assists Dutch and well-known overseas clients with investments, tax, data protection and litigation matters including representation before the Dutch Telecoms Authority. The group's work includes drafting inter-connection agreements, and obtaining the necessary permits. Kim Lucassen and senior associate Joanne Zaaijer are the key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Kim Lucassen

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

Work highlights

  • Advised Orange on its acquisition of IT security firm Securelink.
  • Advising Tata Communications Netherlands, part of the Tata group, on a continuous basis on all telecoms-related legal and regulatory issues and the requirements that it faces in the Netherlands.
  • Defended the management of telecom company ZED+ in Enterprise Chamber proceedings.

Maverick Advocaten N.V.

Maverick Advocaten N.V. focuses on TMT matters and provides expertise in competition law, regulatory frameworks, data protection and a range of administrative proceedings to its telecoms, media and content provider clients. Diederik Schrijvershof and Martijn van de Hel jointly head up the practice; their work includes net neutrality mandates and competition issues in the transport sector. Bas Braeken has departed to bureau Brandeis.

Practice head(s):

Diederik Schrijvershof; Martijn van de Hel

Testimonials

‘The team is unique as they don’t limit their service to solving legal issues; they act as a valuable sparring partner and advisor in complex strategic legal matters.’

‘Diederik Schrijvershof has great expertise in the competition law field, provides practical advice and understands business needs.’

‘Dedicated competition law practice, no clients on other areas so less conflicts.’ 

‘Martijn van de Hel is valued sparring partner, a strategic adviser on how to approach the Dutch competition authority and draws comparisons with competition law situations in other sectors.’

Work highlights

  • Advised Funda Real Estate on a range of competition issues.
  • Advised GitLab on its proposed acquisition by Microsoft, which included competition considerations.
  • Assisted VEVAM, NORMA and LIRA, Dutch collecting societies which are part of PAM, with the competition law aspects of the new compensation system.

Pels Rijcken & Droogleever Fortuijn NV

At Pels Rijcken & Droogleever Fortuijn NV, group head Jannetje Bootsma and Arnoud Boorsma have extensive experience across all aspects of administrative law; they act for a broad range of government authorities with a particular focus on regulators. Clients include the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM); the Dutch Media Authority and the Ministry of Economic Affairs. In a recent highlight, the team represented the ACM in complex proceedings regarding market analysis decisions.

Practice head(s):

Jannetje Bootsma

Testimonials

‘Good knowledge of public law, European law and they have a lot of experience in court procedures – civil and administrative. They deliver on time and with good quality.  Team players and knowledge of government policies and procedures. Arnoud Boorsma, Thijs Franssen, Jannetje Bootsma and Jean-Paul Heinrich are the standout lawyers.’

Key clients

ACM (The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets)

Agentschap Telecom (Netherlands Radiocommunications Agency)

Commissariaat voor de Media (The Dutch Media Authority)

State of the Netherlands (Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Dutch Ministry of Finance)

Work highlights

  • Represented the ACM in its market analysis of fixed telephony, where a number of well-known telecoms companies argued whether the regulation was too strict.
  • Representing the Dutch Media Authority in proceedings against Radiocorp.
  • Assisted the ACM with a market analysis of wholesale fixed access.