Freehills was principal adviser to Vodafone on the engagement of Nokia in both Australia and NZ for the establishment of a third generation (3G) mobile phone network in both countries.
Vodafone opted for a reverse e-auction to reach the best price to set up the network as all four competing bidders were able offer what the telco’s customers needed.
The deal was led by Freehills’ Sydney office, and also involved staff from Brisbane, Perth and Melbourne. The team was led by Andrew Messenger and included partners Lesley Sutton, Louise Capon, David Templeman and senior associate James North. Among other things, Messenger said they “advised on the various legal issues that flow out of an e-auction”.
He said it allowed Vodafone to obtain bids on individual components for the 3G network. This had allowed them to build up a useful “price book” which could be used by Vodafone in purchases in other parts of the world.
“The complexity, scope and speed of the negotiations for this project required a team with depth, talent and a diverse skill set,” he said.
“We were able to draw on firm-wide resources to form a team of over 20 lawyers working in both Auckland and Sydney to success- fully meet Vodafone’s timetable for the launch of the new network.”
Vodafone Technology Director Jeni Mundy said customers will benefit from Vodafone Australia and Vodafone New Zealand having chosen a vendor in common. “Taking this step together means we can continue to offer Vodafone customers the best in mobile applications and services,” she said.
Freehills said Vodafone general counsel Paul Gray praised their team for their solutions to complex legal issues.
“This was a challenging project for us and with Freehills’ assistance we have delivered an excellent result,” he said, “and I appreciate all their efforts and their commercially astute advice.”