Indian telecom market’s new entrant Reliance Jio has filed a complaint with Advertising Standards Council Of India(ASCI) against Indian telecom giants Airtel’s advertisement which claims of Airtel being ‘Officially the fastest’ network in India.
According to the complaint Jio says that the claim of Airtel being the fastest network in India is ‘false,incorrect & misleading’.
Recently several advertisement are doing rounds on Indian television saying Airtel is India’s fastest network tested by Ookla.
“Ookla do not have accreditation from the government of India. The word “officially” when used in the context of telecom services is linked to only TRAI or the licensor DOT” the complaint says.
The ad by Airtel features Sasha Chettri, popularly known as “The Airtel Girl”, who is out with a group of friends who are arguing about which Cellular service provides fastest Internet. She solves the dispute by saying that Airtel is decalred “officially” the fastest by Ookla.
This statement was bashed by the Jio associates.
According to Jio, the methodology adopted to determine Internet speed by Ookla, the web-based network and diagnostic applications, was flawed and Jio has issued a legal notice to Ookla as well. “Further, your attention is drawn to the words appearing in the advertisement “Officially The Fastest Network”.
“Ookla, LLC, is a commercial enterprise who give awards for money. They do not have accreditation from the government of India”, says Jio.
In the notice to Ookla, Jio has accused the company of misleading India public by certifying Airtel the “India’ fastest mobile carrier”. The notice states Ookla has “purported to provide an unfair advantage to Bharti Airtel and further their business interests for your commercial gains.” Calling Ookla’s acts reckless, malicious and malafide, Jio has alleged it has caused “monetary losses” and “irreparable damage” to the company.
“It is unclear you have indulged in these actions knowing that these will harm the business and commercial interests of our client and indeed the Reliance group. Your acts have resulted in reputation of our client’s business being damaged and our client having suffered huge and continuing damages which are not capable of being qualified at this stage,”
Further, Jio has asked Ookla to acknowledge there are “serious and fundamental flaws” in the methodology for determining data speeds of various networks.
Ookla also gave a statement stating that their method of testing the speeds are accurate and infact the title of “India’s Fastest Mobile Network” given to Airtel is not “false and misleading”. The Award was validated using the IP methods. They said that Airtel was mobile network leader of the year 2016 and still is.
Airtel gave a statement saying that they agree with ASCI and are willing to make an appeal. They said that Ookla is an globally recognised leader in broadband speed test and they have shared all the supporting facts and documents with ASCI and are happy to provide more facts.
In November 2016, Bharti Airtel filed a complaint to Competition Commission of India (CCI) against Mukesh Ambani’s company accusing the latter of “creating a monopoly for itself” to reap higher profits in the long run. Airtel said Jio’s “predatory free pricing strategy” is to “injure competition”.