Hours back, Reliance Jio accused Bharti Airtel of violating license conditions over the Apple Watch Series 3 Cellular variant. Airtel has now hit back at Jio saying that the new entrant’s aim is to create a monopoly over everything that they do. “This is yet another frivolous complaint by a desperate operator, whose sole aim appears to have a monopoly over everything that they do. Bharti Airtel is a law-abiding and responsible operator,” said an Airtel spokesperson on Jio’s letter to Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
Furthermore, the person added that DoT was fully aware of the network architecture and functionality of the Apple Watch Series 3 on Airtel network. “The DoT was duly notified prior to the launch of Apple watch including product features, network architecture and lawful interception and we have also requested them to carry out a demonstration of the same,” he further added.
Jio’s claim was regarding the network nodes hosting. The Mukesh Ambani-led telco alleged that Airtel is hosting the network nodes which are used in the Cellular variants of the Apple Watch abroad, which could lead to lead to a security breach. “eSIM provisioning node in India and the node being used to provide Apple Watch Series 3 is currently located outside India in gross violation of license terms,” said Jio in its filing to DoT.
As per Airtel sources the only information outside of India is the e-SIM inventory, which is like any other SIM inventory data and is a practice followed by almost all global operators. There is No CDR, No KYC, or any private information outside the country. Lawful interception is within India. Apple watch does not change anything from the current physical SIM making it Soft SIM as far as security and privacy are concerned.
However, Airtel spokesperson denied such news by saying “All information relating to customers, network nodes etc. is hosted in a fully secure manner by Airtel India along with provision for lawful interception. We will be happy to share more details with the DoT as and when required.”
Reliance Jio wants DoT to punish Airtel by imposing a penalty. Jio also noted that Airtel has deliberately chosen to install a critical network element outside India. It will be interesting to see Jio’s reply to this strong statement from Airtel.