(L-R) Awards host Shadia Bseiso; Simmons supervising associate Neil Westwood and partner Raza Rizvi; awards judge Sahia Ahmad, general counsel of Dubai Tourism)

Finalists: Al Tamimi & Company; Baker McKenzie; Dentons; DLA Piper; Eversheds Sutherland; Hadef & Partners; The Bench FZE (Highly Commended).

Simmons & Simmons’ Middle East TMT team was presented the TMT award for leading the firm’s global involvement in the launch of the world’s largest satellite constellation.

Due for deployment in 2019, the project aims to provide affordable high speed internet to millions of unconnected people in developing markets. Based out of its UAE office, the team has been working with OneWeb to obtain unconventional telecoms regulatory approval from authorities across 20 jurisdictions in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Given OneWeb’s ambitious launch schedule, those approvals needed to be secured before a three-month deadline, with the project’s $1.2bn funding hinging on the firm delivering those authorisations on time. That meant educating a wide range of stakeholders on satellite regulation and having a thorough understanding of the relevant national regulatory regimes, legal requirements and potential roadblocks, particularly given that many emerging market regulators did not initially understand the nature of the consents needed.

“The complexity and significance of this deal is undeniable and the hard work that went into ensuring a successful outcome is impressive. This could clearly not have been achieved without the Simmons team’s high level of legal expertise in the sector, as well as their sterling project management skills,” praised one judge.

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