Telecom Italia Obtains Another Major Victory Against Vodafone

February 2, 2007

Cleary Gottlieb won a key summary judgment ruling in Rome’s Regional Administrative Court for Telecom Italia S.p.A., Italy’s largest phone operator. The ruling suspended the Ministry of Communications’ decision authorizing Vodafone, Italy’s second largest mobile operator, to conduct a limited trial of its new telephone services branded Numero Fisso (i.e., Fixed Number). The Court issued its decision on February 2.

Numero Fisso is a hybrid fixed-mobile telephone service, allowing consumers to use their fixed-line home numbers on mobile phones within an area called “Home Zone.” According to the Ministry’s decision, Numero Fisso should have been treated, for regulatory purposes, as a telephone service provided at a fixed location. However, the Court provisionally suspended the decision, upholding Cleary Gottlieb’s arguments that Numero Fisso does not comply with several legal requirements that apply to fixed-location telephone services, particularly concerning the use of geographic numbers, and that the Ministry should have launched a public consultation prior to the adoption of its decision.

This win follows in the footsteps of two other interim rulings obtained by Cleary Gottlieb for Telecom during November 2006, which restrained Vodafone from marketing Numero Fisso based on misleading advertising and unfair competition law.