Reliance Jio approaches ASCI against Airtel for claiming 'India's fastest network'

While Airtel defended its claim stating that it has the letter from Ookla chief operating officer Jamie Steven certifying that Airtel's network is the fastest, RJio alleged that the speed test on Airtel's network was done in the third and fourth quarter of 2016. The company Monday denied any wrong doing. It is probably the first time in India that a telecom company also introduced a prime or premium subscription scheme, 'Jio Prime'. So, for example, if you use Jio on SIM 2 and Airtel on SIM 1 and perform a speed test using Ookla Speed Test App.

"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".

An Airtel spokesperson stated that as represented in the advertisement, Ookla's findings are based on analysis of millions of internet speed tests logged on "modern devices" by mobile customers across India using its popular speed test app. Therefore, Airtel can not use the word "officially" in its advertisements, said Jio. Ookla is not recognised by either the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) or the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

As Jio will make its services paid from April 1, 2017, it was thought that many customers may stop subscribing to it, but a research conducted by brokerage firm Bernstein showed opposite trend. "Thus, Airtel has wilfully, deliberately and knowingly misled the Indian public", it said.

In a legal notice to Ookla, Jio said it was informed by the broadband testing company that Jio's network was the fastest mobile network in India and can be given the tag of fastest network in India which Jio can use leveraging Ookla's brand but Ookla will "charge substantial sums of money for this goal and especially for publicly using the award and test results".

It alleged that 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".

"We are aware of the material flaw in Ookla Speedtest and have also raised it with them in the past". "It charges money for its services used by telecom companies for their internal consumption, and charges additional consideration" for awarding certificates "that may be used by such companies for external consumption, marketing and publicity".

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