United Kingdom

The communications sector is undergoing a fundamental and rapid evolution, with new digital companies accompanied by challenging long-standing business models, runaway technological development, convergence, disruption and significant change to the regulatory landscape. Deregulation in certain areas is going arm in arm with greater regulatory control in others, such as data breach, consumer privacy and merger.

In face of these challenges, communications businesses need to adapt, diversify into new business lines, and often to grow, whether organically or through acquisition. Additionally they need to understand and comply with the new regulatory requirements.

You need lawyers who understand your sector to tackle these challenges head-on, often on an international basis in this most international of businesses. This is where our international team of sector specialists come into play. We have over 200 experts, many with in-depth experience in the industry, across our 65 offices.

We support communications companies within all aspects of their operations, including acquisitions, data protection network sharing, pricing sales, operations, product development, regulatory compliance, licensing and distribution arrangements, and issues relating to cyber breaches and intellectual property protection.

Their geographic spread globally and in the UK is really useful and makes them quite unique.
Chambers UK, 2015

Our team frequently advises on complex or ground-breaking transactions or issues. In the past year alone, CMS has advised on M&A transactions in the sector with an aggregate value of over EUR 10bn.

Additionally, we advise mobile and fixed line operators on the complex issues around network sharing agreements, helping our clients to realise huge cost saving potential, as well as preparing their business and infrastructure for future technologies and investments.

We have advised on network sharing deals for clients in the UK, Belgium, Germany and several CEE countries, and have also advised on their feasibility in other European countries. This makes us one of the market leaders in that field.

Our dedication to achieving a commercial solution coupled with our understanding of your industry sector, means you can remain focused on your business.

Our Global Head of TMC, Chris Watson, is ranked in Band 1 in Chambers UK 2015 for Telecommunications.

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Law-Now: Com­mu­nic­a­tions
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Jan 2018
Net­work Shar­ing 3.0
In­fra­struc­ture shar­ing and in­vest­ment 2017
26 Nov 19
Tele­coms: Court of Ap­peal rul­ing on op­er­at­or’s right to sur­vey
The Court of Ap­peal has con­cluded that para­graph 3(d) of the Code shall be con­strued to in­clude an ex­press right for op­er­at­ors to enter upon land to un­der­take a sur­vey to as­sess suit­ab­il­ity for the in­stall­a­tion...
20 Nov 19
Elec­tron­ic Com­mu­nic­a­tions Code – new guid­ance note
The RICS has just pub­lished its guid­ance note for sur­vey­ors ad­vising in re­spect of the Elec­tron­ic Com­mu­nic­a­tions Code.  Whist the guid­ance note is not man­dat­ory for RICS sur­vey­ors, it provides sur­vey­ors...
15 Nov 19
Brexit and data pro­tec­tion: what to do next (when you don’t know what’s...
Whilst the threat of a no-deal Brexit has been aver­ted for now, the fu­ture is by no means cer­tain. We have high­lighted some of the key is­sues for UK-based or­gan­isa­tions, and the EEA or­gan­isa­tions that...
14 Nov 19
In­ter­ac­tion between op­er­at­or’s rights un­der the Elec­tron­ic Com­mu­nic­a­tions...
Sum­mary The Up­per Tribunal does not have jur­is­dic­tion un­der Part 4 of the Elec­tron­ic Com­mu­nic­a­tions Code to im­pose Code rights over land in fa­vour of an op­er­at­or, which already oc­cu­pies that land un­der...
01 Nov 19
Tele­coms: First Court of Ap­peal de­cision un­der the New Code 
The Court of Ap­peal has up­held the Up­per Tribunal’s de­cision in Corner­stone Tele­com­mu­nic­a­tions In­fra­struc­ture Ltd v Compton Beauchamp Es­tates [2019] UKUT 107 (LC) that the Up­per Tribunal didn’t have...
22 Oct 19
En­sur­ing ten­ant­s' con­nectiv­ity to Gig­abit-cap­able net­works
Sum­mary A Bill has been in­tro­duced in Par­lia­ment to en­able tele­coms net­work op­er­at­ors to gain ac­cess to mul­tiple dwell­ing build­ings to de­ploy fixed line broad­band con­nec­tions, where a land­lord has re­peatedly...
06 Sep 19
5G-PDO: UK Gov­ern­ment con­sults on cuts to plan­ning red tape
As part of plans to sup­port the de­ploy­ment of 5G and ex­tend mo­bile cov­er­age to rur­al areas, the UK Gov­ern­ment has launched a 10 week con­sulta­tion on pro­pos­als to widen or cre­ate new per­mit­ted de­vel­op­ment...
02 Sep 19
Di­git­al po­ten­tial for Scot­land
SFT (the Scot­tish Fu­tures Trust) have pub­lished (here) a re­port en­titled “Scot­land’s di­git­al po­ten­tial with en­hanced 4G and 5G cap­ab­il­ity”, pre­pared for them by De­loitte LLP. This is hot on the...
10 Jul 19
Watch this (adtech) space – ICO re­port on adtech and real time bid­ding
The UK In­form­a­tion Com­mis­sion­er’s Of­fice (ICO) has is­sued an up­date re­port on adtech and real time bid­ding (RTB). The reg­u­lat­or has iden­ti­fied sev­er­al areas as need­ing im­prove­ment, and sees this as...
25 Jun 19
Deal­ing with MSV re­quests un­der the new Elec­tron­ic Com­mu­nic­a­tions...
In a judg­ment on costs, the Up­per Tribunal has provided fur­ther guid­ance on con­duct to op­er­at­ors and landown­ers when mak­ing and re­spond­ing to re­quests for ac­cess for pre­lim­in­ary sur­veys. Where deal­ing...
24 Jun 19
Spot­light on the new Tele­coms Code: the key de­cisions
The new Elec­tron­ic Com­mu­nic­a­tions Code (the “Code”) came in­to force on 28 Decem­ber 2017. Nearly eight­een months on, we have seen many claims is­sued un­der the Code, with op­er­at­ors and land own­ers look­ing...