Partner, London
Squire Sanders

Listed in The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers 2011 Annual Compendium and the 2005-2009 editions. She is also listed in Practical Law Company’s Which Lawyer? Yearbook 2009.

Ann LaFrance leads Squire Sanders’ European and Middle East communications law practice. Drawing on more than 20 years of industry experience, Ann advises clients on telecommunications and media regulation, competition law, merger control, advocacy and dispute resolution, and general commercial and corporate law.

Ann has considerable experience advising on the evolving EU regulatory framework for electronic communications including interconnection and access, SMP/market reviews, margin squeeze and the pricing of regulated bundles of services, net neutrality, spectrum licensing and refarming, Next Generation Access, e-commerce matters including data protection and data retention, international internet policies and a range of licensing issues. She also has experience negotiating commercial arrangements between and among operators, service providers and customers. Ann has expertise in the drafting of legislative and regulatory frameworks to facilitate sector restructuring, liberalization and privatization in emerging markets.

From 1996 to 2003, Ann served as Chief International Counsel of MCI Communications Corp. (now Verizon), based in Brussels and London. She played an integral role in formulating company policy on regulatory and competition matters and advocating the company’s position before the European Commission and national regulatory and competition authorities across Europe and around the world. In that capacity, she instructed external competition counsel acting for the company in the investigation of several watershed mergers and joint ventures requiring review of multiple telecommunications and Internet markets.

Prior to 1996, Ann was a US-based partner with Squire Sanders, where she had an active practice before the US Federal Communications Commission and other US agencies with jurisdiction over the telecommunications and postal sectors. She provided transactional advice and regulatory counsel to US- and non-US-based clients in both the public and private sectors on a broad range of communications and postal matters. She also served as an adviser to governments and regulatory authorities in connection with privatisation and liberalisation initiatives in Central and Eastern Europe, and Latin America.

Ann serves as a member of the board of directors of the International Institute of Communications (IIC). She is a member of the International Association of Privacy Professionals and the American, International, Federal Communications and District of Columbia Bar Associations.

Representative Experience

  • Advising various fixed and mobile telecommunications operators and other industry participants in the UK and across Europe and the Middle East on a range of regulatory issues including mobile network sharing arrangements, mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) arrangements, terms and conditions of retail fixed and mobile offers, consumer codes of conduct, applications for code powers in the UK, spectrum allocation and assignment, net neutrality, next generation networks, market definition, SMP assessments and remedies, reference access and interconnection offers, wholesale pricing and quality of service obligations, mobile termination, functional and accounting separation, margin squeeze issues and abuse of dominance concerns.
  • Leading the legal and regulatory team selected to advise a telecoms regulatory authority in the Gulf, in connection with the award of mobile and fixed network licenses, including the development of regulatory policies and procedures to govern the introduction of competition into the market; drafting of consultation papers and responses relating to license procedures and dominance designations; the development of master operating licenses and spectrum licenses and detailed annexes; the design of tender processes (auction and beauty contest) for fixed and mobile licenses; providing advice on the creation of corporate governance structures, management agreements and documentation related to the licensing of two new entrants; and the conduct of parallel competitive bidding processes for the selection of foreign strategic investors in the new licensees.
  • Advising a cable television operator in the Caribbean region on a wide range of regulatory matters including SMP designations and obligations, reference access and interconnection offers, accounting separation, broadband resale offer, margin squeeze and merger review issues.
  • Drafting a new legislative framework for the electronic communications sector of a government in the Caribbean region.
  • Acting as adviser to a bidding consortium on regulatory matters in connection with the issuance of, and proposed operation under, the second and third mobile licenses and a competitive data license in Saudi Arabia.
  • Acting for a joint venture company created to provide GSM communications on board aircraft in the company’s successful campaign to obtain approval of the service from regional bodies and to secure regulatory authorizations for the use of spectrum and to operate airborne GSM services in more than 20 countries across Europe and the Middle East.
  • Providing ongoing regulatory and competition law advice on a range of pricing, marketing and infrastructure sharing issues for a major mobile operator in Central Europe.