Telecoms & Media

Our Telecoms Group focuses on the legal, regulatory and tax aspects of operating in Ireland. Clients include regulatory bodies and global multinationals as well as Irish entrepreneurial start-ups.

Incumbents and new market entrants are faced with complex legal and regulatory requirements, often stemming from European Union rules, overseen in particular by ComReg (the Commission for Communications Regulation) and the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (the ODPC).  Our lawyers advise telecoms clients on:

  • Irish and EU regulatory issues (including licensing and authorisation)
  • Competition law Content sourcing
  • Data protection and privacy
  • Network build and roll-out
  • Outsourcing
  • Procurement
  • Consumer law
  • Terms & conditions for supply of goods/services

Our team has extensive expertise with regard to licensing and authorisation and to the legal issues in network build and roll-out. We advise on communications infra-structure projects, procurement, content supply, and outsourcing arrangements. Broadcasters, cable television operators and value added service providers also call on our telecoms expertise.

Our Sectoral Regulation team has extensive experience on telecoms licensing and notification obligations, including compliance issues, consumer protection, significant market power and dealing with regulatory investigations.  There is a strong cross-over with our Technology Group with regard to data protection and privacy. We also advise domestic and international service providers on regulatory practices, marketing, data retention and related obligations.

On the broader corporate and commercial fronts, we work closely with our colleagues in other practice groups in the Firm in order to provide clients with a full legal service around corporate work such as take-overs, mergers & acquisitions, trade sales, take privates, venture capital investments and IPOs, as well as related areas including agency and reseller agreements, non-disclosure agreements, employment and pensions and tax.

Our experience includes advising/acting for:

ComReg (the Irish Communications Regulator) in relation to a number of regulatory enforcement matters, including the first High Court proceedings before the Commercial Court seeking to enforce compliance by the telecoms incumbent eircom with obligations arising from its position of significant market power in the line rental market, and eircom’s cross-appeal.

Nortel Networks (acting for the joint administrators of its Irish subsidiary). The Nortel Group filed for bankruptcy in January 2009, with debts exceeding US$4bn.

BSkyB on a challenge by the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner that raised novel issues with regard to the duration of consents given by data subjects and interpretation of the meaning of “customer”.

Smart Telecom in its high profile dispute with Huawei Technologies over the supply of high-end IT equipment to a major Irish telephone and broadband supplier.

3Mobile/Hutchison 3G on ongoing telecommunications matters.

Kilsaran on its investment in Imagine Broadband, a pan-European communications provider.

Telefonica SA on tax matters.

Tata Communications on tax matters.

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The Patent Litigation Law Review: Ireland

William Fry have written the Irish chapter for the inaugural edition of 'The Patent Litigation Law Review'


Breaking down the General Scheme of Data Protection Bill 2017 Part 4: Government Committee Issues Assessment Report as Clock Ticks Down to GDPR

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UK High Court rules that TV Show Formats can be Copyright Protected

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We are consistently ranked as one of the leading Telecoms law firms in Ireland.

Department

  • Clients praise the client-oriented nature of the advice: "They offer a cogent, practical explanation of the law".  Other interviewees value "the quality of the staff and the ability to recommend legal experts in other jurisdictions." Chambers Europe 2017
  • "The team has a wide range of experience that it brings to bear on specific issues, and provides timely and concise advice." Chambers Europe 2016 
  • William Fry’s media team includes ‘excellent’ defamation specialist Fiona Barry, who regularly advises Associated Newspapers on defamation and privacy issues. Claire Waterson is recommended for telecoms work. Legal 500 EMEA, 2015
  • "This firm is very available and responsive, and good at tailoring advice for non-lawyers." 
    "We have a good degree of trust in this team's advice. The lawyers have a flexible approach, and are clearly high quality." Chambers Europe, 2015 
  • "A proactive team that goes beyond expectations. If you give the lawyers an instruction, they will bring their own expertise and a holistic understanding of the technology environment." "The team is very responsive; the lawyers know what they are talking about, if not they will find an expert. They give appropriate advice and answer the questions I ask - I can't rate them highly enough."  Chambers Europe 2014 
  • "If you are a start-up company looking for advice, these are the people to speak to. The team's work has brought huge benefit to my business.” “The lawyers are sharp and offer great strategic advice.” Chambers Europe 2013 

Team

  • Cormac Little
    • Cormac Little is ‘very knowledgeable and has a good relationship with the regulatory authorities’. Legal 500 EMEA 2017
    • Cormac is described as ‘ultra-reliable’. Legal 500 EMEA 2017
      Clients describe him as "a very likeable and calm-inducing lawyer." Chambers Europe 2017
    • Interviewees describe Cormac Little as "lightning quick, and able to comprehend complex issues right away, showing that he is committed to our situation." Chambers Europe 2016
    • Cormac Little is ‘a recognised expert in the field’. Legal 500 EMEA 2015
    • "Very knowledgeable, experienced and well respected" in Irish competition law. Chambers Europe 2015
    • Cormac Little ‘consistently gives precise and business-savvy advice’. Legal 500 EMEA 2013
  • Claire Waterson
    • Clients say that she is "very cool and measured, with a real conciseness in how she thinks about issues." Chambers Europe 2017
    • Claire is ‘very knowledgeable and has a good relationship with the regulatory authorities’.  Legal 500 EMEA 2017
    • Clients say she has a "very smart, analytical brain, and is good on the nuances of EU directives." Chambers Europe 2016
    • Claire Waterson ‘pays exceptional attention to detail’ and has ‘a keen intellect’. Legal 500 EMEA 2015
    • According to sources, Claire "is always a pleasure to work with. Her advice is always precise, clear and to the point." Chambers Europe 2014
    • According to a source, she is "tremendous: responsive, clear and pragmatic. She is the reason I keep going back to the firm.” Chambers Europe 2013
  • Fiona Barry
    • Clients praise her as being "responsive, knowledgeable and pleasant." Chambers Global 2017
    • Fiona Barry is ‘responsive, calm and considered’. Legal 500 EMEA 2016
    • Fiona Barry is 'excellent’. Legal 500 EMEA 2015
    • Fiona Barry's practice encompasses commercial litigation, medical negligence and defamation. Clients value her input, praising her as being “receptive to our needs. She supports and assists our clients.” Chambers Europe 2013
  • Laura Scott
    • Clients say: "She is very hard-working, responsive and dedicated to leaving no stone unturned in considering and communicating all available options. She is also extremely pleasant to work with." Chambers Europe 2017
    • Laura Scott has the ‘Midas touch with clients’ Legal 500 EMEA 2017
    • "Her commitment to clients, astute strategy, technical strength and attention to detail are second to none." Chambers Europe 2015
    • Clients describe Laura Scott as "absolutely superb. She is very thorough; her work underpins our company." Chambers Europe 2014
  • Carol Plunkett 
    • One interviewee calls her "a real heavyweight" and "one of the most senior litigators in Ireland," adding: "Nothing fazes her, so that is reassuring for the client." Chambers Global 2017
    • One source explains: "She brings a whole wealth of experience to the table and is a doyenne of Irish IP law." Chambers Europe 2017
    • Carol Plunkett has ‘an amazing IP knowledge base’. Legal 500 EMEA 2017
    • Carol Plunkett, highlighted by market commentators as an "extremely accomplished lawyer". Chambers Europe 2016
    • "She's one of the most experienced litigators in Dublin. Having dealt with cases across a huge spectrum, nothing will phase her at this stage." Another comments: "She is practical and knowledgeable, and understands commerciality. She manoeuvres around the issues very smoothly." Chambers Europe 2015
    • Carol Plunkett has ‘great instincts’. Legal 500 EMEA 2015
    • Carol  is unanimously regarded as a "powerhouse of IP" with "a wealth of experience" in the field. Chambers Europe 2015
    • Carol Plunkett is described by clients as "hands-on and accessible, with excellent communication. She instils this culture in all her team and keeps everyone up to speed." Chambers Europe 2014
    • Carol Plunkett is widely acclaimed as “just brilliant. She has fantastic expertise in both intellectual property and commercial litigation.” Chambers Europe 2013

Key Contacts

Cormac Little Partner

Claire Waterson Partner

Fiona Barry Partner

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