Telecoms have always been at the core of technology trends and they are considered pivotal for the success and development of the fourth industrial revolution. Telecom networks are the backbone of technologies that are sweeping the world (AI, Big Data and IoT) and the new emerging society will be powered by 5G. Traditional telecom services are under menace from disruptive players, such as OTTs, but connectivity services remain essential for digitalization and for the emergence of new business models.


The telecoms sector was one of the few sectors to have gained momentum as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Its importance was thoroughly tested, but it has shown resilience and capacity to respond to extensive lockdowns. Its relevance and importance for a more digital society and economy is one of the major outcomes of the pandemic.

The increased usage of connectivity services boosted the emergence of new services and will continue to pose challenges to the reliability and efficiency of telecom networks.  Most recovery plans intend to reinforce the importance of “digital” and the importance of super-fast, reliable and affordable networks and equipment. This also poses new challenges in terms of security and cybersecurity.

Coincidently, this change happened when the telecom sector was already on the verge of a big technological leap, with the implementation of 5G, more than just a new mobile generation. 5G technology was in fact designed to deliver higher multi-Gbps peak data speeds (up to 10Gbps), ultra-low latency, more reliable communications, massive network connectivity within the same location and a more uniform user experience.

This new technology will transform the sector and create a new ecosystem, impacting every industry, from transports, healthcare, agriculture, logistics and entertainment. In this context, 5G auctions are spreading the world, giving shape to new business models, new collaboration ecosystems, new clients and new streams of revenues.

As in other sectors, the implementation of AI and Robotics, Big Data and IoT will also have its toll in the telecoms sector and traditional operators will have to adapt in order to survive the emergence of new players and disruptive offers from OTTs.


Forces driving the market


5G is a critical building block of the future telecom networks and services.


Robotics, artificial intelligence, the Internet of things and the increasing capacities of high-performance computers will expand the capabilities of telecoms networks.


The integrity and cybersecurity of networks are on top of Governments and operators’ concerns.


The ambitioned results from the fourth industrial revolution require heavy investment and cooperation between firms, regulators and Government.


Can we help you

VdA has detailed experience and expertise in all policy, legal and regulatory matters associated with Telecoms. Our unique tech and industry insights allow us to provide 360.º legal services to organisations, governments and regulators.

  • Retail markets operators
  • Wholesale markets operators
  • Regulators
  • Governments
  • Developers and technology suppliers
  • Investors
  • OTTs
  • National and international organisations

Our team of experts is delivering strategic and sophisticated legal advice to help our clients on their most challenging and promising projects. With a track-record of advising complex projects for leading companies in the sector as well as for the public sector, VdA services include:

Private sector:
  • Advising on all regulatory and compliance issues, including market analysis, Significant Market Power decisions and ex ante corrective measures, notably access and price control obligations
  • Advising on liability issues, as well as on data (personal and non-personal) and cybersecurity
  • Drafting and negotiating contracts for development, construction, sale and purchase of telecoms network assets (such as optic fibre cables or towers), provision of services, among others, including terms of service and privacy policies for digital offers
  • Assisting on incorporation and financing, from the setting-up of companies to the implementation of business and public partnerships, financing structures and business restructurings, and including financing from public calls and grants, national aid programmes and development banks, business angels, venture capitalists
Public sector:
  • Drafting policies, strategies and laws for the telecoms sector
  • Advising on public contracts: administrative contracts, public tenders, pre-contractual proceedings
  • Negotiating partnerships and memoranda of understanding with governments, institutions, agencies and the private sector
  • Assisting in devising packages / programmes for supporting the telecoms sector (start-ups, SMEs) (aid, financial assistance) and keeping innovation budgets
  • Providing capacity-building, training and awareness programmes

Our Tech Telecom Roadmap Product

The Telecom Toolkit Product comprises a set of services that integrates several modules our clients can choose from in accordance with their needs.

  • Regulatory & Compliance Counselling
  • Contracts Programme
  • Data & Cybersecurity Programme
  • Consumer Protection & Liability Package
  • Public Sector Assistance

For further information on this product please send us an email.

Our team of experts

The disruption of the Telecom ecosystem raises complex challenges that require a holistic and sophisticated legal analysis.

We help our clients meet their goals through a cross-sector team that brings lawyers from our ICT, Competition & EU and Public Law Practice Areas. In addition, to deal with the complex challenges brought by resorting to technologies in the sector, our team further works routinely with our colleagues from M&A, Tax and Real Estate, among others.


Specialised knowledge is required

The opportunities and challenges of the Telecom sector, including those arising from the deployment of emerging technologies and the lack of regulatory certainty, are complex. Specialised knowledge is required for the development and deployment of digitalization strategies. VdA is especially knowledgeable of the opportunities and challenges brought by Telecoms in Europe and in Africa.

VdA is well aware of the opportunities and challenges of the telecom sector in Europe, including those arising from 5G, spectrum auctions, deployment of high capacity networks, market regulation, access to physical assets (ducts, poles and towers), sharing of passive and active elements of a network, installation of submarine cables, roaming and fixed and mobile termination of calls.

VdA has closely accompanied the discussions at EU level, notably of the European Electronic Communications Code that will reshape the legal landscape throughout the EU. VdA is also knowledgeable on all the implementing acts of the Electronic Communications Code, namely the ones approved by the European Commission (e.g., deployment of small cells) and by the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC).

VdA is also aware of the new measures taken by the European Commission on the list of relevant markets subject to ex ante regulation and the definition of termination rates for fixed and mobile calls and has specific know-how on the opportunities and challenges for the deployment of high capacity networks and 5G networks.

VdA has relevant experience in advising operators on the applicable regulatory framework, including  on telecoms, data economy, cybersecurity and critical infrastructures / entities, Intellectual Property, import/export, tax, environment, software licenses, hardware supply, consumer protection, among others.

The know-how amassed throughout the years in the telecom sector has been leveraged by VdA in challenging projects in several African countries. In this respect, VdA has been advising Governments, International Entities (such as the United Nations (UNCITRAL), World Bank, the European Investment Bank and the WWW Foundation).

VdA is also aware of all the macro documents that are (re)defining the digital landscape in African Countries, from the African Union to the regional economic communities, such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Organisation pour l'Harmonisation en Afrique du Droit des Affaires (OHADA). This allows VdA to have a clear understanding of the dynamics and context of specific countries alongside with the general discussions spreading the African continent.

The Digital Transformation Strategy for Africa 2020-2030 further expressly mentions the role of digital infrastructure for the development, provisioning, use and sharing of digital systems (products and services). In terms of policy recommendations and proposed actions, it is expressly referred that national, regional and intra-continental interconnectivity must be promoted, as well as measures that promote a favourable regulatory environment for competitive and harmonised regional and continental connectivity markets.

VdA has relevant experience in advising operators on the applicable telecom regulatory framework, as well as on data economy (personal and non-personal), cybersecurity and critical infrastructures, Intellectual Property, import/export, tax, environment, software licenses, hardware supply, consumer protection, among others.


Can we do it for you

Assisting you in devising the best approach and models for your business, project, product and service, in the light of legal and regulatory opportunities and constraints.

Assisting you in the development and setting-up of your business, project, product and service, drafting all required documentation, assisting in the negotiation of contracts, interacting with competent authorities, and accompanying you every step of the way.

Assisting you in addressing day-to-day business goals and challenges in the light of the applicable laws and regulations. We are here for you.

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