Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio has written to the Advertising Standards Council of India, the advertising watchdog to seek withdrawal of Bharti Airtel’s recent advertisements that claimed that it is India’s fastest telecom network. In its letter to ASCI, Reliance Jio said that Bharti Airtel’s advertisements based on Ookla speed test findings are false, misleading and incorrect.
Ookla, the broadband testing and web-based network diagnostic applications recently rated Bharti Airtel as the fastest telecom network in India. To celebrate the feat, Airtel also started offering free data to its postpaid customers in India.
Reliance Jio, in its letter to ASCI, said the claim of Airtel was not true and was misleading. It said that the claim was made with the knowledge that the methodology adopted for to determine the mobile internet speed “was completely flawed (this has been accepted by Ookla, LLC in correspondence with us).”
“Airtel is the dominant telecom operator in India in existence for the last 22 years. Airtel cannot claim ignorance of the methodology used by Ookla for determination of the speed,” it added.
In addition to the letter to ASCI, the telecom operator, through its lawyers Khaitan & Co in, sent a legal notice to Ookla. The letter said that Ookla falsely certified Bharti Airtel to be the "India's Fastest Mobile Carrier with full knowledge of that your test "results" are fundamentally flawed and unreliable.
According to the notice, Ookla abused its dominance in this domain in an unethical manner by “concealing true facts, and have purported to provide an unfair advantage to Bharti Airtel and further their business interests for your commercial gains.”
Khaitan & Co’s notice on behalf of Jio said that Ookla's acts were not only reckless, but are also malicious, and mala fide intended to cause monetary losses and irreparable damage to Jio by lowering the perception of the quality of Jio's services in the minds of the general public, giving an undue and unfair advantage to the competitor. “This exercise by which Ookla purports to provide speed "test results" to telecom service providers for internal use for a consideration, and, charges a premium in the range of 2X to 4X —depending on the options availed if such entities wish to promote their business using such "results", shows that Ookla's so-called awards/certificates and brand, is a scam in collusion with a service provider,” the notice read.
Reliance Jio, in its letter, said that Airtel has been guilty of making attempts in the past to use such titles and proclamations, and it was forced to back-track and withdraw such advertisements after complaints from the general public and upon intervention by the Advertising Standards Council of India.