Hunton & Williams has developed a reputation, both domestically and internationally, for its skill in advising clients in the telecommunications industry. We have represented a range of telecommunications providers (e.g., local exchange, interexchange, wireless), submarine cable system developers and operators, satellite operators, power line communications providers, telecommunications equipment providers and manufacturing companies, international foreign governmental entities, and users of telecommunications equipment and services. Our work for these clients has been broad-based and includes representation in mergers and acquisitions; financings; equity and debt offerings; general corporate and contractual matters; trademark, copyright, trade secrets and other intellectual property matters; antitrust; general litigation; rate, licensing and other regulatory proceedings; legislative work and international trade matters.
As highlighted below, the firm’s lawyers have experience with the telecommunications industry that extends to almost every legal discipline.
Acquisitions and Sales
The firm has extensive experience in transactions involving the acquisition or sale of telecommunications and local exchange companies, telephone assets, earth stations, satellites, transmission facilities, software licenses, lasers, fiber-optic cables and systems, switches, and other types of equipment and telecommunications assets. We have completed the sale-lease back financing for significant telecommunications facilities. In addition, we have represented telecommunications clients in a variety of transactions — both domestically and internationally — including those involving significant corporate mergers and reorganizations, significant acquisitions, public and private equity and debt offerings, bankruptcy issues, sales and acquisitions of dealer and distribution assets including proprietary customer base, asset-based bank financings, a variety of dealer financing packages, and equipment lease financings.
Undersea Cable System Experience
The firm’s lawyers have vast experience in representing clients on matters relating to fiber optic networks, ranging from capacity purchase and lease transactions to the actual construction and licensing of fiber optic networks. Our clients on these matters have been on the purchaser and the provider side, and have included among the world’s largest subsea cable system developers and operators. We have advised these clients on virtually all aspects of undersea cable systems, including, for example, as to: system construction and development contracts; system operation and maintenance agreements (terrestrial and subsea); fiber storage agreements; landing party agreements fiber and capacity sale and lease agreements; equipment supply and lease agreements; co-location agreements; interconnection agreements; all related regulatory issues; related tax structuring and analysis; related bankruptcy issues; and issues associated with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Corporate and Technology
The firm represents a broad array of clients on corporate and technology issues relevant to the telecommunications industry. This representation ranges from large providers of telecommunications services to technology users and developers. The firm has acted as outside general counsel and advisor and has provided issue- or deal-specific assistance.
Specifically, the firm has helped its clients with the following:
- structuring, negotiating and documenting business process outsourcing;
- telecommunications and professional services arrangements;
- software development;
- application service provider, enterprise resource platform and information technology services arrangements;
- reseller, marketing and other distribution arrangements;
- software, hardware and services acquisition and licensing arrangements, including wireless telecommunications infrastructure, and identity authentication and digital certificate infrastructure.
- advising in connection with the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights;
- sale-leasebacks of cell towers;
- creation of wireless internet service;
- development, construction, financing and leasing of cell towers;
- media and advertising contracts;
- handset and other equipment supply contracts;
- corporate financing and other organic activities (venture capital, public offerings of debt and equity, strategic partnering alliances, mergers and acquisitions);
- information technology infrastructure (dial IP, DSL, cable, wireless and other access technologies); and
- e-commerce (transaction enablers, content providers).
Creditors’ Rights & Bankruptcy
The firm has represented long distance providers and local exchange carriers in commercial disputes and bankruptcy cases involving major telecommunications providers, including representation of carriers in connection with adequate assurance issues, billing disputes, assumption and rejection issues, proofs of claim, claim objections and plan confirmation issues.
Telecommunications Act Litigation
The firm's lawyers have participated in proceedings arising under the national Telecommunications Act of 1996 in 30 states and the FCC (Federal Communications Commission), litigating a set of unique substantive, procedural and legal issues. Specifically, Hunton & Williams’ lawyers arbitrated numerous interconnection agreements and disputes arising pursuant to interconnection agreements, including disputes over intercarrier compensation. Moreover, the firm’s lawyers represented telecommunications providers in federal court appeals under the Act as well as proceedings designed to set wholesale rates and to define the terms and conditions related to collocation of equipment, provision of advanced services, service quality and performance assurance plans, and universal service.