Telecom player Reliance Jio on Monday filed a complaint against rival Airtel, alleging that certain recent advertisements run by the latter make false and malicious claims, and have caused harm to the company. With Airtel claiming to be ‘officially the fastest’ network in India, Reliance has taken the case to the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI). Jio has trashed Airtel’s claims, calling them “false, misleading and incorrect”.
With Airtel basing its claims on the results of the Ookla Speedtest, Jio has issued a legal notice to Ookla as well, calling the report flawed. The web-based network and diagnostic applications company is a global leader in broadband testing.
According to a report published in The Indian Express, the complaint reads,
Further, your attention is drawn to the words appearing in the advertisement -- ‘Officially The Fastest Network’. Ookla LLC is a commercial enterprise that gives awards for money. They do not have accreditation from the Government of India. The word ‘officially’, when used in the context of telecom services, is linked to only TRAI or the licensor DOT.
The advertisement, where Airtel clearly claims to be India’s fastest mobile network, was based on the analysis of millions of internet speed tests conducted by Ookla. The mobile customers concerned were logged on to the Speedtest app on ‘modern devices’ across India.
Ookla COO Jamie Steven said about Speedtest,
The definitive way to measure your internet performance, Speedtest has been actively used billions of times, making it the dominant global leader in internet performance testing and metrics.
Reliance has asked ASCI to inform Airtel to withdraw advertisements with the claims and has also insisted on removing references from Ookla.
Reliance has accused Ookla of misleading users with this claim. The report says, Ookla has purported to provide an unfair advantage to Bharti Airtel and further their business interests for commercial gains. Reliance Jio has blamed this claim for causing “monetary losses and irreparable damage” to the company.
The notice reads,
It is unclear you have indulged in these actions knowing that these will harm the business and commercial interests of our client and indeed the Reliance group. Your acts have resulted in reputation of our client’s business being damaged and our client having suffered huge and continuing damages which are not capable of being qualified at this stage.
Further, Reliance Jio has asked Ookla to acknowledge that there are “serious and fundamental flaws” in the methodology for determining data speeds. Ookla had recently felicitated Airtel with the fastest mobile carrier award in February based on consumer-initiated Speedtest results in Q3 and Q4 of 2016.