You are here: Home » Companies » News » Telecom
Business Standard

Airtel ads misleading, differentiating customers: Reliance Jio to Trai

Jio alleged that arbitrary classification by Airtel is gross violation of telecom tariff order 1999

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Airtel ads misleading, differentiating customers: Reliance Jio to Trai

In a new face-off, telecom operator has alleged that Bharti is violating tariff rules by issuing misleading offers and arbitrarily discriminating among its own customers subscribing to the same plan.

The Mukesh Ambani-led has demanded highest penalty imposed on Sunil Bharti Mittal's Bharti by telecom regulator alleging that the two plans of -- priced at Rs 293 and Rs 449 respectively -- are being marketed in a misleading manner.

It said that Airtel's advertisements of these offers are an attempt to lure prospective subscribers making them believe that they will be provided 1 GB data per day for 70 days.

"However, the subscribers who do not satisfy Airtel's dual criteria, will be provisioned only 50 MB data and post that, they will be charged the exorbitant data tariff of Rs 4,000 per GB," Jio said.

Under the said plans, is offering unlimited local and STD calls along with 1 GB of mobile internet per day for 70 days to customers with 4G handsets and 4G SIM. In case of Rs 293 plan, unlimited calling is limited within the network.

Other customers availing these plans get only 50 MB of data usage per day for 35 days.

Jio said that is offering these recharges "in a grossly discriminating basis by providing the headline data benefits of 1 GB data per day for 70 days only to the new subscribers holding a 4G handset in conjunction with a 4G compatible SIM card. All other subscribers are provided substantially lower data benefits of 50 MB for 35 days."

Jio said that with reduction in validity of the plan for other set of customers, the value of voice calls also gets reduced.

"has chosen to create an arbitrary distinction on the basis of subscribers possessing 4G handset and 4G SIM. It has arbitrarily reduced the validity of voice benefits under same recharge for the same class of subscribers without a 4G handset or 4G SIM...," Jio said.

The new entrant alleged that the "arbitrary classification" by is a gross violation of the telecom tariff order 1999.

When contacted, a Bharti spokersperson denied the allegations and said that the company is in full compliance of all regulatory guidelines, including tariff orders.

"These allegations are nothing but a continuation of Reliance Jio's standard ploy of blaming others for all its problems, including network deficiencies," the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added that what is even more ironic is that Jio itself offered free services for several months but is now pointing fingers at other operators, who are merely offering simple discounts to their own customers to retain them.

"In fact, it is Jio that has been blatantly disregarding all guidelines and directions of the Trai," the spokesperson alleged.

Jio requested the regulator "to take strict action under the Act and impose highest penalty on Airtel" besides a direction to to immediately withdraw the tariff offer which is non-compliant and in breach of rules.

In March, Jio had challenged Airtel's advertisement which claimed that the telecom major has fastest network before the Advertising Standards Council of India. The ad regulator decided in favour of Jio. However, has appealed to the ASCI to review its decision.

First Published: Mon, May 01 2017. 19:03 IST