The battle is still on. Bharti Airtel has been titled as the fastest network in India by speed test service, Ookla. Later on, a flaw revealed in the Speedtest application raised several eyebrows related to the ‘Fastest Network’ title. Though Ookla explained the entire methodology, that isn’t sufficient enough to convince ASCI (Advertising Standards Council of India) as the agency now asked Airtel to stop/modify the campaign.
The Fast Track Complaints Committee (FTCC) noticed that Airtel’s claims were in violation of the ASCI guidelines on disclaimers. The FTCC study claims as follows: “While the advertiser submitted an Ookla certificate, they did not provide an explicit test methodology to substantiate that the method is robust to capture that sample; and is representative and comparable across operators, geographies, and consumers.”
According to ASCI “The TVC and web-site advertisement contravened Chapters I.1, 1.4, I.5 and IV.1(b) of the ASCI Code as well as ASCI Guidelines on Disclaimers Clause I. We have advised the Advertiser to modify appropriately or to withdraw the said TVC and the website advertisement by 11 April 2017.”
ASCI also claims that Airtel did not mention about the tests being conducted in Q3-Q4 of 2016, which, in turn, is a large misleading one. FTCC claims the campaign as ‘misleading by ambiguity and implication.’
However, Airtel did not hold back and immediately released a press statement on the ASCI’s appeal. The statement reads: “We do not agree with ASCI’s decision and will file an appeal as per guidelines. Our campaign is based on findings by Ookla – the globally recognized leader in mobile speed tests and also a benchmark for reputed global operators. We have shared all supporting facts with ASCI and firmly believe that our campaign is compliant with all guidelines. We will be happy to provide more details, if required, and hope ASCI will reconsider its decision.”
Supporting Bharti Airtel yet again, Ookla gave a statement as well: “Ookla fully stands behind the accuracy and reliability of the methodology used to designate Airtel as ‘India’s Fastest Mobile Network.’ The award designation was validated using the IP methodology described above for all Speedtest results during the last six months of 2016 (Q3 & Q4). When analyzing the data for all of 2016, Airtel was still the clear leader. When analyzing data for 2017 to date, Airtel is still the clear leader. It is worth noting that after correcting for the Android limitation, Airtel’s lead over Jio increases for all date above ranges.”
So, here it is. Airtel has been given a deadline of April 11, 2017, by ASCI and we’re expecting that both Airtel and Ookla might come out with a solution related to this in the next few days.