Recognized Communications Expertise

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The Squire Sanders Communications Industry Group is an internationally recognized leader in the field of communications law. For more than four decades – beginning at a time when the communications industry was largely controlled by a few providers – we have been at the forefront of developments that have transformed the communications marketplace throughout the world. Our practitioners are ideally situated to assist public and private-sector clients in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa as they address new challenges presented by the convergence of the communications, media and information industries.

Squire Sanders counsels both sovereign governments and state and regional authorities charged with ensuring that modern communications services are available to all consumers. We advise government authorities on the privatization of state-owned communications companies and the establishment of transparent and nondiscriminatory regulatory structures that enable and encourage competition and the growth of new services. We also assist regulatory authorities such as the US Federal Communications Commission in administering the reconfiguration of spectrum resources to benefit more efficiently from the explosive growth of wireless consumer, enterprise and public safety services.

Our private-sector clients benefit tremendously from our experience working with government regulators around the world and our first-hand knowledge of the regulatory regimes enforced by them. We work with clients in numerous jurisdictions to facilitate the growth and success of new and existing communications services operating domestically and across international borders. We also assist large enterprise users of communications services in successfully navigating the transition to digital and wireless services in a cost-effective and productivity-enhancing manner.

Our communications practice includes lawyers knowledgeable in nearly every communications industry sector. We represent clients worldwide in transactions, mergers, joint ventures, litigation, sector restructuring, licensing, regulatory compliance, content restrictions, network capacity, collocation, reseller and agency agreements, antitrust, tax, litigation, trade and employment issues, and advertising and sponsorship agreements.



  • Representing one of the largest competitive local exchange carriers against one of the Bell Operating Companies in two trial-type administrative arbitrations, one before a mediator in Washington DC and the other before an administrative law judge (ALJ) in New Jersey. At issue was whether the Bell Company was required to compensate our client for the cost of transporting Internet traffic that originated on the Bell Company's network but was delivered to Internet service providers who were served by our client. In Washington, the arbitrator recommended that our client receive damages of approximately US$35 million. In New Jersey, where the parties tried liability only, the ALJ found for our client. Had the case reached the damages stage, we were prepared to prove damages of about US$70 million. However, prior to the start of the damages phase, the parties agreed to settle the cases.
  • Representing the Nigeria National Space Research & Development Agency (NASRDA) in the purchase and development of a satellite communications network to serve the telecommunications needs of the region. The work included negotiating a contract for the construction and launch of the satellite from a China-based manufacturer. The contract also provided for the construction of ground network equipment and initial operation of the satellite network. Squire Sanders also assisted NASRDA on issues involving coordination of frequency spectrum for the satellite through the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
  • For a major US-based association of manufacturers, sellers and installers of consumer electronics products, reviewing and revising the client's online privacy policy and terms of use consistent with EU, Japanese and US data protection and privacy legislation and regulations.
  • Serving as General Counsel to the Transition Administrator, an entity selected by the FCC to manage the largest spectrum reallocation in United States history. The multiyear process required the relocation of well over a thousand public safety, critical infrastructure, commercial and private radio licensees. We provided legal and regulatory advice to the TA, with particular emphasis on FCC regulatory, transactional, ethics and procurement matters. In addition, the firm structured a unique ADR process and fielded a team of more than 50 mediators to resolve more than 1,300 disputes that arose during the reconfiguration process.
  • On behalf of a leader in transportation communications and systems engineering, advising the ITS industry in negotiations with the FSS industry regarding a protocol to share the same frequency band. The sharing protocol is intended to provide guidelines on how to locate new DSRC and FSS station sites and modify existing operations to avoid potential interference. Once completed, the sharing protocol is expected to be presented jointly by the two industry groups to the FCC for possible adoption into both the DSRC and FSS service rules. Experience has shown that resolving actual interference between existing operations is difficult, costly and can take a significant amount of time. By reaching an agreement the two industry groups hope to avoid having to address these issues through a formal FCC proceeding, which can be contentious and time-consuming.
  • Providing comprehensive legal and regulatory advice to a leading national regulatory authority in the Middle East in connection with the award of operating and spectrum licenses to the first alternative fixed and mobile operators in the country. This year-long project involved the preparation of various consultation documents under the country's new telecommunications law, the development of secondary legislation, the design and implementation of competitive selection processes (both auction and beauty contest) for a new mobile operator and a new fixed line network operator, and the drafting of operating and spectrum licenses for the new entrants as well as the incumbent operator. The work also involved the development of a market review process and the preparation of draft dominance designation following an EU-style ex ante regulatory approach.
  • Coordinating a project covering over two dozen countries in Europe and the Middle East to obtain spectrum authorizations and telecommunications regulatory approvals for an inflight communications company that is a joint venture between a leading Europe-based aircraft manufacturer and a provider of global information and telecommunication solutions for the air transport industry, to enable the provision of GSM services on board aircraft. The work included coordination with Inmarsat on space segment interconnect and licensing issues, and detailed advice on regulatory strategy in regards to the European Union, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Czech and Slovak Republics.
  • Acting as outside counsel for a consortium formed to foster the deployment of interoperable dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) systems through a certification program. This representation has included advising and drafting the initial organizational and governance documents, acting as intellectual property counsel for prosecution of trademarks and copyright issues, and advising on privacy and liability issues associated with development of a certification program for new wireless communications devices for DSRC transportation services.

Case Studies

Clearing the Way for Emergency Responders in Largest Realignment of Radio Spectrum Ever Attempted

Squire Sanders was selected in 2004 to serve as General Counsel to the 800 MHz Transition Administrator (TA), a hand-picked team charged with oversight and administration of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) 800 MHz reconfiguration progra...

Brazil Media Regulation

The Brazilian government is in the process of implementing new media regulations, as well as a review of the mass communication law. Our client, a prominent player in the Internet sector, is concerned about draft regulations that would apply local co...

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Robert B. Kelly
+1 202 626 6216

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