Our Technology, Media & Telecommunications lawyers provide local and international clients with world-class, specialist legal support across the full spectrum of TMT law matters.
We combine the firm’s Arabic-speaking lawyers and locally-qualified advocates, and specialist international lawyers, our TMT team provides clients with top quality legal services. The team’s advice is practical and informed by its familiarity with the sectors in which our clients operate, the legal and regulatory environments of more sophisticated jurisdictions, and our deep knowledge of local law and practice.
Our TMT team services a client base that includes technology vendors, as well as a diverse range of private and public sector technology purchasers. Many of these clients are in the financial services sector, including banks, media companies, insurance companies and payment solution providers. Other clients operate in the e-commerce space, ranging from modest on-line marketplace start-ups through to developers of significant technologies.
The need for efficient infrastructure and a general desire to move towards knowledge-based economies is resulting in increased public sector investment in technology in our region.
Private and public sector clients are seeking to enhance their existing systems, including by adopting world-leading technological solutions.
Our core services include:
- Support and documentation on all types of transactions in the technology sector, such software licensing, consultancy services and outsourcing;
- Technology and intellectual property aspects of corporate and commercial transactions, including employment and consultancy;
- Local law compliance in respect of diverse technology-related issues, including data protection, use of encryption;
- Advise on government procurement rules in a technology context; and
- Contentious technology-related matters, including allegations of copyright infringement, disputes as to ownership of technology and improvements, and disputes relating to failure to perform under technology services agreements
Our relevant experience includes – but is not limited to:
- Advising SAB Holdings on a SAR 50 million project, building a hotspot operation in Saudi Arabia using Intel technology, which included reviewing and negotiating the master service agreement with Intel corporation, with a contract value of US$ 6 million;
- Advising ACER on internal policies relating to Consumer Protection and Data Protection Regulations, in compliance with the applicable laws and regulations in the UAE, KSA, Lebanon and Oman;
- Advising ACER on the new after sales’ warranty provisions applicable in Saudi Arabia and their implications on Acer’s EMEA warranty manuals and policies;
- Drafting ACER’s companywide export policy with an emphasis on the embargo on the export of IT equipment to Iran and Russia;
- Advising Huawei on the optimized structuring and compliance with Omani banking and company laws in light of Huawei establishing in Amsterdam to provide treasury services to its global operations;
- Advising Huawei on the legal framework governing its activities and the services it provides in the Oman that included a full assessment of its taxation exposure, and further advising on the optimal corporate and contractual structure to mitigate exposure.
- Advising on Huawei compliance with regards to employment law, unionism, taxation law, companies law, telecoms law, AML and anti-bribery laws.
- Advising Huawei in regards to MoCI and OCCI issues;
- Advising Huawei on agency matters;
- Advising Huawei on employment issues covering compliance with labour laws and Ministry of Manpower’s regulation;
- Representing a regional retailer in relation to multi-million dollar and IT procurement / licensing agreements;
- Advising Cisco Systems in Saudi Arabia on a SAR 25 million project, reviewing the technical maintenance agreement with the mobile operator STC; and
- Advising an international electronics company on the various options of setting up a presence in Iran, taking into account sanctions regulations imposed by the EU, US and UN, and corporate governance, export, distribution arrangements and employment in Iran.
The region has a young demographic, increasing incomes and greater access to content via tablets and smartphones and applications.
Broader considerations, such as an increased desire for local content, alternative means of content delivery, and growth in the regional sports and events sector, is resulting in development in the media sector.
Specific cities in the region have become high-profile tourism and event destinations, and the diversity of potential filming locations across the region has also attracted international attention. Meanwhile, there are still major considerations that service and content providers, and their customers, need to consider.
We provide support in relation to:
- Guidance and documentation on all types of transactions and compliance with Media regulations;
- Advise on content production, commissioning arrangements and distribution agreements, barter agreements, agreements with talent, ownership and copyright assignment;
- Local law advisory and regulatory compliance in respect of diverse media-related issues, including local content restrictions, non-compliance with publishing/broadcasting related restrictions and policies; and
- Contentious media-related cases, including copyright infringement, social-media take-downs, and addressing non-compliance with local regulatory requirements.
Some of our most recent experiences include:
- Representing a Dubai based Media Corporation in UNCITRAL proceedings against a Dubai Government Department for claims in excess of AED 55 million. Claims related to construction, engineering approvals and installation of outdoor marketing media infrastructure;
- Advising a world-leading business news organisation on their proposed set-up of a printing press in Dubai that included the relevant licenses, approvals from National Media Council, lease documentation and regulatory issues. We further advised on the closure of their representative office in Abu Dhabi;
- Carrying out due diligence of the largest Middle Eastern chain of theatres, post-acquisition by a Middle Eastern film distributor in the UAE. Drafting constitutional documents following structural changes and appointment of a new management body, as well as execution and registration of all changes and amendments to licenses;
- Reviewing and negotiated a large contract for the broadcasting of major football league matches on mobile devices in Saudi Arabia, between Al Jazeera Sports’ Channel (currently Bein Sport) and Saudi Zain (mobile content license Agreement); and
- Reviewing and negotiating a sponsorship agreement between mobile operator STC and five of the Saudi 1st league football teams, with a contract value of SAR 200 million per year.
We advise suppliers, operators and customers across all related contractual, legal and regulatory matters including commercial/transactional, regulatory, corporate/M&A, finance, competition, outsourcing, employment and pensions, disposals, intellectual property, dispute resolution, real estate and tax advice, e-commerce and data privacy, and assist them in their interactions with the telecoms regulator (CITC). In the event that a dispute arises, we work closely with our Dispute Resolution team to ensure that our clients’ objectives are achieved.
By being fully immersed in our clients’ landscape, we are able to reflect their business drivers in the solutions and advice we provide as trusted legal advisors.
We provide support in relation to:
- MVNO & VNO contracts;
- Management agreements with operators;
- Telecoms facilities and infrastructure contracts;
- Telecoms & IT outsourcing, and consulting contracts;
- Contracts for the sale and purchase of telecoms & IT equipment;
Our relevant experiences, amongst others, include:
- Advising a multinational telecommunication operator with presence in more than 17 jurisdictions on launching a new remote tracking service in the GCC in cooperation with a US-based Fortune 500 Company;
- Assisting the Samawat consortium (with Telecoms Italia Mobile TIM) in putting together the bid for the second mobile license in Saudi Arabia;
- Advising on the 3rd mobile license project worth SAR 21 billion with the MTC consortium, which was awarded – making them the 3rd largest operator in Saudi Arabia (Zain);
- Advised a Chinese telecommunication company on corporate issues as well as compliance with labour laws, unionism, taxation, customs law, anti-bribery and telecom laws in the Sultanate of Oman;
- Preparing the management and operation agreement in connection with the award of a data license (in KSA) in partnership with South Korean operator Dacom, who won the license. The consortium became known as Integrated Telecommunications Company (ITC);
- Advising Saudi Telecom Company (STC) on their IPO, including drafting of the regulatory provisions and legislation, carrying out due diligence exercises, and drafting of concession agreements for third-party network providers;
- Advising a leading bank in the Middle East in acquiring a majority stake of a large telecommunication service provider in Africa with subsidiaries in the GCC and Middle East;
- Reviewing a sizable co-location agreement for South African mobile operator MTN (owned by former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al Hariri), project valued at USD 300 million; and
- Representing an Australian mobile operator on introducing a prepaid visa card technology and prepaid mobile distribution systems in countries across the GCC, the Middle East and North Africa.