Published: Tue, March 21, 2017
Culture | By Julio Duncan

Airtel's 'fastest network' claim misleading: Jio to ASCI

Airtel's 'fastest network' claim misleading: Jio to ASCI

Airtel spokesperson said, "Airtel has been rated as India's fastest mobile network by Ookla - the global leader in broadband testing and web-based network diagnostic applications". The company Monday denied any wrong doing.

Reliance Jio has filed a complaint with the advertising industry watchdog, Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), urging it to take action against the new Airtel advertisement, which claims it is 'officially India's fastest network'.

"Airtel is the dominant telecom operator in India in existence for the last 22 years". Airtel's claim was based on data provided by Ookla, a website and app that allows users to run "speed tests". This is clearly mentioned in the ad. 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 Speedtest app.

"The results include all mobile tests, regardless of connection technology", Airtel said in its response.

Jio told ASCI that Ookla - which had dubbed Airtel as "Officially The Fastest Network" - does not have any accreditation from the Indian government. However, we've learned from people familiar with the matter, that Reliance Jio is unhappy with Airtel's claims as it looks flawed due to a drastic bug found in Ookla's Speedtest app. Ookla is not recognised by either the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) or the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). Either the quality that they're now experiencing with their current network providers should be below optimal, or the quality being offered by Jio should be much above the current market standards. "Thus, Airtel has wilfully, deliberately and knowingly misled the Indian public", it said.

The award certifies that Airtel achieved the fastest mobile network speeds in India from consumer initiated speed test results in Q3 and Q4 of 2016, it said.

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".

Recently, we published a report stating that the residents of Delhi claimed that they wouldn't be using Jio anymore after April 1 as other operators in India offer better than Jio. "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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