Creative advisors for carriers and manufacturers in a changing industry
Clients look to Munger, Tolles & Olson’s telecommunications practice for insightful guidance through myriad complex regulatory, statutory and constitutional issues that arise in this rapidly changing industry. Dealing with issues at the front of the cultural conversation as well as familiar matters noted for their ongoing legal complexity, our clients benefit from an interdisciplinary approach that allows us to call on colleagues.
Our telecommunications work includes:
- Litigated Proceedings
- Merger Review
- Class Actions
Our client list includes a wide range of carriers and technology companies, including:
- Comcast Cable
- Ponderosa Telephone
- Frontier Communications
A range of Munger, Tolles & Olson intellectual property, appellate and regulatory attorneys work closely with our telecommunications clients, including:
Our telecommunications clients benefit from our interdisciplinary approach and look to us for guidance when they face novel and complex questions that require creative minds. Our recent representations include:
- Verizon in obtaining approval from the California Public Utilities Commission for its $7 billion acquisition of TracFone Wireless, Inc., the largest provider of pre-paid wireless service in the United States.
- Comcast in:
- A successful appeal before the Ninth Circuit concerning the meaning and application of the federal Cable Act and California’s corresponding Digital Infrastructure and Video Competition Act.
- Appeals arising out of International Trade Commission and Patent Trial and Appeal Board proceedings concerning Comcast's DVR technology.
- Ericsson in successfully settling a dispute over Apple's obligation to pay fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory (FRAND) royalties for Ericsson's standard-essential patents used in 2G, 3G and 4G LTE cellular communications. The matter was settled with a new seven-year agreement.
- The Attorneys General of New York and California and 12 other states in leading a high-profile and potentially ground-breaking antitrust challenge to the $26 billion Sprint/T-Mobile merger. While unsuccessful, the lawsuit signaled that companies should expect to face tougher enforcement from the states.
- HTC Corp. in favorably resolving nationwide class actions alleging that the installation and use of Carrier IQ software on its smartphone devices violated the federal Wiretap Act, Stored Communications Act, Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and other laws.
We specialize in challenging matters that set important precedents, which is why clients turn to us when the stakes are high and they need an experienced partner to help guide matters to an efficient resolution. Our work includes:
- Verizon: Obtaining CPUC Approval for Tracfone Merger
Munger, Tolles & Olson represented Verizon before the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), where Verizon was pursuing regulatory approval of its planned acquisition of TracFone Wireless, Inc., which had approximately 20 million customers, making it the largest provider of pre-paid wireless service in the United States. A variety of intervenors opposed the CPUC’s approval of the roughly $7 billion transaction, and we led Verizon’s efforts to demonstrate to the CPUC that the transaction was pro-competitive and in the public interest.
The hearing lasted several days and involved more than half a dozen witnesses. The MTO team combined the presentation of expert analysis with detailed testimony from fact witnesses to present the competitive benefits of the merger. After the intervenors stated their opposition to the merger, we undermined their narrative with targeted cross examinations. Following Verizon’s commitment to ensuring consumer participation in the federal Lifeline program, which subsidizes cell phone service for the low-income consumers who comprised a substantial portion of TracFone’s customer base, the merger was approved by the CPUC in November 2021. Federal approval followed shortly thereafter.
Media Coverage: California approves Verizon deal to acquire TracFone Wireless