Telecommunications

Telecommunications

Zepos & Yannopoulos has an in-depth knowledge of the Greek telecommunications regulatory framework and a wide expertise in telecommunications.

Our telecoms practice encompasses the full range of regulatory, investment, transactional, Mergers & Acquisitions, tax and competition issues. We advise on all aspects of the telecommunications industry, including voice and data carriage and the mobile, satellite, cable and internet access sub-markets. We have played a leading role in the major telecommunications transactions in Greece, including the issuance of exchangeable bonds by Hellenic Exchangeable Finance S.C.A., the IPO and various secondary offerings of the Greek Telecommunications Organization (OTE), the IPO of mobile telephone operator Cosmote in the Athens and London stock exchanges, and the participation in the auction process for the award of wireless local loop licenses. 

We have also advised and provided full-fledged legal support to Telcordia Technologies, Inc. in connection with the participation in the public tender and all kinds of legal and regulatory issues arising from the award for the development, installation and maintenance of the National Reference Database for Portability by the National Telecommunications and Post Commission. We also act on a regular basis for leading equipment suppliers and internet companies such as Cisco, Nokia, Ericsson and Yahoo!, in relation to numerous telecommunications and related legal issues. In addition, we assist numerous clients with respect to their compliance to Greek telecommunications regulation, including compliance to lawful intercept procedures of telecoms providers. 

In more detail, telecommunications-related projects in which our firm has been involved include, among others, the following:

With respect to OTE we have advised:

  • The Greek State on the issuance of the €1 billion 2% exchangeable bonds issued by Hellenic Exchangeable Finance, resulting in the decrease of the Greek State's shareholding of OTE to under 51%
  • The Greek State with regards to its search for a strategic partner for OTE
  • Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and NBG International on the issuance of the first Greek Euro-denominated corporate bond offering of €1.1 billion issued by OTE on February 2000. Our assignment included advice on all legal and tax issues connected to the structure of the transaction
  • The international lead underwriters (Salomon Smith Barney and Credit Suisse First Boston) with regard to the third and fourth secondary offerings of OTE shares. We advised on all legal, tax and regulatory issues of the offerings including the exchange of privatization certificates for shares
  • The international lead underwriters (Salomon Brothers, HSBC, James Capel and BZW) with regard to OTE's privatization and IPO, including issues relating to the combined offering of OTE's shares to domestic and foreign investors, the liability of the underwriters, and the underwriting agreement, and
  • STET with respect to OTE's call for bids to select a strategic partner. Our assignment included the legal due diligence of OTE and advice related to a proposed agreement with Korea Telecom and the proposed license to be granted.

In connection with the above transactions, our firm conducted on four occasions the legal due diligence of OTE, and has commented on and issued several legal opinions. 

Other Assignments in which we have advised: 
 

  • The domestic (Eurobank and Commercial Bank of Greece) and international (Merrill Lynch, Pierce Fenner & Smith and Salomon Smith Barney) lead underwriters with respect to the privatization and IPO of mobile operator Cosmote and the offering of its shares to Greek and foreign investors. We conducted the legal due diligence of Cosmote, and participated in the drafting of the prospectus, underwriting agreements and governmental privatization decisions. We advised on the structure of the transaction and on all legal, regulatory and tax related issues
  • Apple on the distribution of i-phone in Greece
  • Yahoo! Europe in connection with a cooperation agreement with OTEnet, OTE's internet service provider
  • NETMED (former NetHold Group, owner of Filmnet TV channel) for more than 6 years on a multitude of legal issues in the field of satellite broadcasting and distribution, cable and pay-per-view networks
  • Nokia on its provision of services and supply of equipment to one of the three mobile telephony operators
  • Pactel on its participation to the tender of the Greek Government for the award of two mobile telephony licenses. We advised on the drafting of the relevant legislation and other legal issues throughout the bidding process
  • Atos Origin in relation to numerous contracts relating to the provision of information technology services in the telecoms industry including mobile telephony operators
  • Telcordia Technologies, Inc. in connection with the participation in the public tender and issues arising from the award for the development, installation and maintenance of the National Reference Database for Portability by the National Telecommunications and Post Commission, as well as all related local regulatory compliance and relations with the supervisory authority EETT
  • Deutsche Telecom with respect to its activities in Greece, being inter alia a controlling shareholder in OTE
  • T-Systems, an affiliate company of Deutsche Telecom, in relation to a variety of legal issues, including regulatory compliance and filings with the ADAE (Hellenic Authority for Communications Security and Privacy)

Zepos & Yannopoulos has an in-depth knowledge of the Greek telecommunications regulatory framework and a wide expertise in telecommunications. Our clients include most of the major and most significant telecommunications players of the market. 

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