Reliance Jio Infocomm has approached the advertising watchdog, seeking withdrawal of advertisements claiming that Bharti Airtel has the fastest telecom network in India, a move that's set to intensify the war between the telcos.
Airtel's latest claim was made on the basis of ratings by Ookla, a broadband testing firm. While Airtel denied any wrongdoing, Jio said the advertisements were misleading and incorrect.
“The claim of Airtel is not true, and is misleading, and has been made with the knowledge that the methodology adopted to determine the mobile internet speed was completely flawed (this has been accepted by Ookla, LLC in correspondence with us),“ Jio said in its letter to the Advertising Standards Council of India dated March 20, 2017.“Airtel cannot claim ignorance of the methodology used by Ookla for speed determination.“
Jio said Airtel has previously been guilty of such titles and proclamations and had been forced to backtrack and withdraw such advertisements after complaints from the general public and upon intervention by the ASCI.
“It is clear that Airtel is in violation of the Advertising Standards Council of India Code, including provisions of “Section A. Chapter I Truthful & Honest Representation,“ it added.
Ookla, based in Seattle, couldn't be immediately reached for comment.
Defending the advertisements, an Airtel spokesperson said Ookla's findings are based on analysis of millions of internet speed tests logged on `modern devi ces' by mobile customers across India using its popular Speedtest app. “The results include all mobile tests, regardless of connection technology.“
The Mukesh Ambani-led Jio al leged that Ookla is not accredited to the government of India and contended that use of the word “officially“ in the advertisement was misleading.
“The use of this word deceives the telecom consumer into believing that the certification is from the telecom regulator namely TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) or the licensor namely DoT (Department of Telecommunications). Airtel, as a dominant player in the telecom market for the last 22 years, cannot plead ignorance to the implication of an undue advantage it will gain by use of such word. Thus, Airtel has wilfully, deliberately and knowingly misled the Indian public,“ it said.
Jio informed the ASCI it has sent a legal notice to Ookla. Jio's lawyers Khaitan & Co said in the notice that Ookla falsely certified Airtel to be India's fastest mobile carrier with full knowledge of that the test results are fundamentally flawed and unreliable. - TOI