Eversheds makes headway in Asia with Maxis telecoms work

Eversheds makes headway in Asia with Maxis telecoms work” />Eversheds has given its South East Asia practice a major kickstart after winning a pitch to advise Malaysia’s Maxis Mobile on the development and expansion of its network infrastructure.

The firm is understood to have seen off competition from a shortlist that included Clifford Chance, Mallesons Stephen Jaques and Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy.

The Kuala Lumpur-listed company, which operates global system mobile (GSM) and general packet radio service (GPRS) networks across Malaysia, has outsourced legal work on the integration of its existing networks with competitor TIMECel; and the contractual framework for 2G and 2.5G expansion followed by 3G deployment over the next five years. A key objective was to introduce competition among Maxis’s suppliers.
Eversheds telecoms head Neil Brown said the firm’s recent experience advising the O2 group on its 3G rollout programme Project Horizon was pivotal to winning the Maxis instruction.

He added: “What they were looking for was someone who understands telecoms infrastructure and has lots of experience of big-ticket, heavyweight commercial work. The bulk of that [contractual] work tends to be done in-house rather than by external lawyers. We’re fortunate enough to have that experience. Not many firms do.”

Eversheds was also able to draw on the resources of its Singapore ally Khattar Wong & Partners. Brown commented: “Winning a client like Maxis is a very important plank in the next phase of our business development in South East Asia.”

His team has already advised Maxis on a number of novel and complex commercial arrangements to facilitate its venture. They include new contracts with Ericsson, advised in-house by Tom Nygren, which has emerged as the chief beneficiary of Maxis’s trawl of the equipment vendor market.

Ericsson has won the role of competitive second 2G radio equipment vendor to Maxis alongside incumbent Motorola. The Swedish vendor has also been selected, along with Siemens, to partner Maxis in the establishment of a 3G pilot network and subsequent 3G rollout.

Brown said the arrangements are unusual, as they combine the flexibility of a framework agreement with the payment on performance commitments usually seen in a turnkey contract. Eversheds also advised on provisions not previously seen in the market to help Maxis manage the risk associated with 3G.