Schalast | Communications & Infrastructure

In the Communications & Infrastructure practice group, we support network industries and Network user. We provide advice about contractual, regulatory and disputed cases, in and out of court. Our operation is characterized by a practice-oriented approach. We rely on many years of in-house experience. We use legal tech tools where possible and help our clients implement them.

A traditional focus of the law firm is comprehensive advice to companies in the telecommunications, cable and energy sectors. Legal 500 (2020 and 2021) and Juve (Handbooks 2020 and 2021) list Schalast in the telecommunications industry focus. Under the leadership of Dr. Ernst Georg Berger, his practice group became Law Firm of the Year for Telecommunications in 2007 and 2011.

In addition to telecommunications, energy is one of the firm's core areas. Energy transition requires stable and controllable networks and a sustainable interaction of classical generation and renewable energies. Cross-sectoral approaches must unite electricity, gases or hydrogen and heat in a holistic energy concept to achieve more stringent climate targets. Our interdisciplinary team of experienced lawyers in telecommunications, IT and energy law provides targeted and interest-oriented support with extensive industry knowledge.

Our international network Multilaw ensures that we can support companies in almost all jurisdictions. Upon request, Schalast attorneys will coordinate the entire consultation - you only have one central contact. Schalast heads the Multilaw OTT Special Interest Group.

Sector focus

Telecommunications

Consulting based on tradition

From our many years of experience, we have developed consulting expertise for companies at all value chain stages, from infrastructure operators to resellers. Another focus is supporting providers newly regulated due to changed legal framework conditions, such as OTT providers.

In the last few decades, few industries have experienced such dynamic development as the telecommunications industry. In addition to technical innovation, law and regulation are still significant opportunity and risk factors for designing successful business models. Since its founding, Schalast law firm has actively accompanied and shaped this development.

Content focal points

In terms of content, we advise as follows:

  • Support in regulatory issues
  • Representation at the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA)
  • Creating sample contracts as well as terms and conditions
  • Judicial representation
  • Negotiations with other market participants
  • Negotiations with the housing industry
  • Support for tenders in the broadband expansion field
  • Implementing regulatory compliance audits
  • Support for innovative product launches

OTT communications provider

For a long time, providers of Internet-based communication, so-called OTT communication services, were only subject to general law in the European Union. This changed on December 21, 2020, when a level playing field was created across the EU between OTT service and traditional telecommunications providers.

Since then, OTT service providers have had to meet a significant number of new regulatory requirements. This new regulation has global scope, because it addresses every company that offers its services within the EU - regardless of where it is located.

You can find comprehensive information about OTT regulation here.

Do you want to test whether you are regulated as an OTT provider? Our Tool can be found here.

Discussion about regulating OTT providers was a hotly debated topic for many years and came to a preliminary conclusion when the European Code for Electronic Communication was adopted. After the code passed, we set ourselves the goal of offering clients a one-stop-shop solution to ensure EU-wide compliance. For this purpose, we founded an international lawyer group under the Multilaw law firm network umbrella. Our clients have access to specialized advice for the entire EU and other selected countries.

Content focal points

In terms of content, we advise as follows:

  • Legal compliance: From comprehensive gap analysis to advice on individual issues
  • Advice for the entire EU (including coordinating partner law firms)
  • Support in regulatory issues
  • Creating sample contracts as well as terms and conditions
  • Negotiations with other market participants
  • Judicial representation

Energy industry

Energy is and will remain the ultimate driver of the future. Whether as a core task or means to an end, energy never stands alone. That is why we network energy with our other core competencies and provide holistic and entrepreneurial advice.

Thanks to our many years of experience in energy law and energy management advice, we know the interfaces between the market players and find practical solutions for you, taking into account the different perspectives.

Our practice team of experienced lawyers in telecommunications, IT and energy law supports you in implementing the major tasks of supply security, climate neutrality, digitization and energy transition design with extensive knowledge of the industry, stakeholders and relevant technical, economic and political interactions.

Content focal points

In terms of content, we advise as follows:

  • Regulatory advice in the field of network, storage and other infrastructure access, network connection issues and special constellations, investment or dismantling decisions and cooperation models
  • Support with integrating electromobility and synergetically developing hydrogen infrastructure and power-to-gas systems
  • Advice in connection with market processes, unbundling specifications, access rights and rolling out intelligent metering infrastructure
  • Product and contract design in existing portfolios and comprehensive support when entering energy sales
  • Cost optimization as the end consumer, measurement concepts, advice for producers, infrastructure and plant operators or sustainability concepts
  • We mediate in out-of-court disputes and supervise proceedings before courts, regulatory authorities or arbitration boards

Data center operator

Indispensable telecommunications industry partner

The communications industry would be inconceivable without cooperation with data center operators. Exchanged data volume has grown steadily for years and there is no end in sight to this development. Security, reliability and flexibility are not only central industry values, but also the basis of our legal advice.

We support data center operators in all contractual matters to ensure their security and general compliance. This includes customer contracts (collocation, etc.) as well as all levels of purchasing - be it acquiring systems and other equipment, associated maintenance contracts, renting land or constructing buildings and their expansion.

Content focal points

In terms of content, we advise as follows:

  • Contract review and negotiations with other market participants
  • Creating sample contracts as well as terms and conditions (purchasing and sales)
  • Advice on compliance, in particular regarding requirements for critical infrastructures from BSIG and BSI-KritisV
  • Judicial representation

Renewable energies

Renewable energies have long been an integral part of the energy industry. Balance of power between conventional and renewable generation, sustainability and climate neutrality is reversed and requires a complex interaction between existing and new market participants.

Decentralized energy supply requires sustainable yet economical energy concepts for both electricity and heat. We support producers, energy suppliers, contracting providers, financiers and end customers. Whether redistribution, direct marketing, eligibility or self-generation concept, we check the feasibility according to EEG, KWKG and general energy law.

Content focal points

In terms of content, we advise as follows:

  • Questions about connection, operation and feed-in from network and system operators as well as contractual implementation
  • Designing direct marketing, PPAs and self-sufficiency concepts
  • Privilege issues, reporting obligations and conceptual requirements
  • VRepresentation before the clearing house, courts or regulatory authorities

Equipment manufacturers

Cooperation partner in all stages of the value chain in the telecommunications industry

Even the digital world cannot exist without cooperating with manufacturers and suppliers of hardware, systems and other technology. Obviously, this applies to network operators who are absolutely dependent on a reliable supply of systems and other technical infrastructure for their offer. The topic of public safety (BSIG, BSI-KritisV) has recently become substantially more important. Legal support to ensure compliance, certification and contractual risk management is essential.

In addition, device manufacturers are constant telecommunications industry cooperation partners in mutually marketing services and products as well as increasing respective end customers’ value. We advise on negotiating and drafting cooperation and supply contracts. On the basis of our special expertise in telecommunications law, you avoid regulatory pitfalls and can optimally design your offer based on the industry's legal requirements.

Content focal points

In terms of content, we advise as follows:

  • Creating and negotiating cooperation and supply contracts
  • Product compliance, especially with special attention to BSIG and BSI-KritisV (critical infrastructure requirements)
  • Contractual risk management
  • Advice regarding regulatory requirements in product design
  • Creating sample contracts as well as terms and conditions
  • Judicial representation

Housing industry

Network access and speed in a highly regulated environment

The housing industry is traditionally an important cooperation partner for network operators. In addition to cable network operators, cooperation with fiber optic network operators has recently become more important. Sustainable next-generation bandwidths are possible without a having to expand the building's internal infrastructure (keyword: FTTH) hardly possible. Interfaces to the energy industry are also increasing, be it metering concepts, tenant electricity models, sub-metering constellations, meter reading services and multi-utility connections to the smart meter gateway.

Here, a plurality of possible cooperation models are conceivable, whereby in addition to the competitive environment, new regulatory requirements (chargeability / open access / freedom of choice) are of considerable importance for the cooperation's optimal choice and design. At the same time, a dynamic legal framework contributes massively to the growing complexity in which decision-makers have to act. Our lawyers shed light on the regulatory darkness and develop tailor-made solutions together with clients.

Content focal points

In terms of content, we advise as follows:

  • Negotiating provision contracts, usage and company agreements
  • Creating model contracts
  • Regulatory advice with special attention to telecommunications and tenancy law for economically optimal solutions in network expansion
  • Judicial representation

Public utilities

Public utilities are the face of the energy transition. Hardly any other group of companies unites such different areas of activity under one roof and is exposed to such diverse and sometimes conflicting challenges from law, regulation, market and customer expectations. When giving advice, we take this special position into account and act with a sense of proportion and sensitivity.

We know the tension between meeting requirements, growing and recognizing trends, leveraging synergies inside and outside the company and remaining a trustworthy and sustainable partner for customers. We accompany you on your way as a sparring partner, source of ideas and support.

Content focal points

In terms of content, we advise as follows:

  • Mergers, collaborations and make-or-buy decisions
  • Network access issues, connection and usage design as well as process optimization
  • Measurement regulation, roll-out obligations, connecting other media
  • Drafting contracts and negotiating purchase, delivery and service contracts in the context of law changes, market practices and product trends
  • Contracting models and EEG concepts for end customer sales
  • Implementing legal requirements for basic and substitute care
  • Support in preparing price adjustments and new products, enforcing regulatory claims and handling complaint procedures and disputes with end customers
  • Advice in the interface areas of energy efficiency, smart meter roll out and its effects on metering point operation, sales and gas network operation
  • Support with integrating electromobility and services in connection with commodity products