Wednesday 18 October 2017

Imagine wins multi-million payout after WiMax battle

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Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

A multi-million euro settlement has been made in favour of telecommunications group Imagine in the longest-running dispute before the High Court's commercial division.

Protracted legal proceedings involving Imagine Communications Group and Motorola were struck out by the court yesterday following the resolution of a dispute over the roll-out of the Irish firm's WiMax network.

Motorola was retained by Imagine in 2009 to provide the group with an "end to end" turnkey national access network using WiMax, wireless 4G technology which allows users to access home phone and broadband without having to rely on a fixed line or pay for line rental.

However, the project ran into difficulties and Imagine Communications Group and two sister companies sued Motorola Ltd for €130m in 2010, alleging breach of contract and negligence.

Imagine claimed the network provided by Motorola fell well short of what had been promised.

The group, represented by Eames Solicitors, claimed there had been a series of delays in delivering key elements of the network and critical issues arose affecting the service provided to customers.

Motorola, whose wireless network assets were subsequently purchased by Nokia Siemens, denied the claims and insisted it met its contractual obligations. It was initially represented in the dispute by LK Shields and more recently by A&L Goodbody.

The counsel for Imagine, Maurice Collins SC, told Mr Justice Brian McGovern that the case and two other related sets of proceedings had been resolved.

"The only order the court is required to make is an order striking out the three sets of proceedings," he said.

No further details were given to the court and the terms of the agreement are confidential.

However, the Irish Independent understands a multi-million euro settlement was reached in favour of Imagine.

Although the case was initiated six years ago, it never came to trial after becoming bogged down in a plethora of preliminary applications.

Imagine claimed it was bombarded by procedural motions, while Motorola claimed delays were contributed to by the plaintiffs needing to recast their statement of claim on four occasions.

In addition, the High Court refused Motorola security for costs, a ruling which the company unsuccessfully appealed to the Supreme Court.

The contract at the centre of the dispute was negotiated between March and October 2009. It was projected that 402 sites would be delivered to Imagine, over which the network was to operate.

Some 120 of these were supplied, but Imagine did not order any more after July 2010.

The communications group says it has since gotten over the difficulties and is now using LTE Advanced technology to provide high speed broadband in 40 areas across the country.

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