Livia Dyer, co-head of TMT, Bowmans, with awards judge Lusani Nelufule-Mugivhi, CSIR

Finalists: ENSafrica; Norton Rose Fulbright; Simmons & Simmons (Highly Commended); Webber Wentzel.

Bowmans snapped up the TMT Team of the Year award for its work on South African telecoms company Rain’s multibillion-rand investment in a new national high-speed ‘LTE-A’ mobile network, helping the company rise from a relatively small player to a genuine challenger to the country’s dominant mobile operators.

To hasten the pace of the network’s rollout, Rain leased sites from tower companies and other telecoms providers, including Vodacom, which required complex advice from Bowmans on the commercial, regulatory and competition aspects of those agreements. The Vodacom deal means it can roam on Rain’s network, allowing Vodacom to offload traffic when its own network is congested, boosting network speeds. This is the first time such a large-scale data roaming arrangement has been put in place in South Africa, therefore Bowmans had to ensure the legal and technical components of the transaction structure were ironclad in order to successfully counter any objections from Vodacom’s competitors (other operators may now adopt similar arrangements).

The successful closing of the deal has secured Bowmans additional work from Rain, including advising on equipment procurement agreements with suppliers. “Project managed well from competition, regulatory and commercial perspective; client satisfaction evident by further instruction of the Bowmans team,” a judge commented.

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