New Delhi: The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has sought reply within a week from Bharti Airtel Ltd on a complaint by rival Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd alleging that the operator flouted norms on activation of eSIM in Apple Watch 3, a person close to the development said.

The DoT also mentioned that the security clearance tests for the service are due on 23 May and 30 May 2018. The DoT had on 17 May sought multiple clarifications within a week from Airtel about eSIM service facilitation by the company on Apple Watch 3. Both Reliance Jio and Airtel started selling Apple Watch 3 on May 11 through their sales channels.

“Reliance Jio has filed complaint alleging that Airtel has not set-up the eSIM provisioning node within India in gross violation to the licence terms. Airtel had informed DoT about the service but in its letter services storing user information was not indicated. The department has asked Airtel whether eSIM provisioning network of node of Airtel is storing eSIM profiles and user information outside India," the person quoted above said, requesting anonymity.

Apple Watch 3 and iPhone of a subscriber share the same number and subscribers can use both iPhone and Apple Watch with eSIM to make or receive calls independent of the call status of the other devices. The eSIM is paired with the SIM in iPhone wirelessly through a dedicated network node. The node used for eSIM profile allocation contains network and user information such as operator identifier, SIM details, PIN, and remote file management.

“The DoT has received information that Airtel intends to launch Apple Watch 3 service. The tests for security clearance of the service is scheduled for 23 May and 30 May 2018. This was informed to Airtel on 11 May," the person said.

When contacted, an Airtel spokesperson said that the company has already written to the DoT on 15 May and clarified that it is in compliance with the licence conditions and why “Reliance Jio’s complaint is fallacious and needs to be rejected".

“It appears that this particular communication from the DoT (which is dated 17 May 2018) has not taken into account our communication. We would like to reiterate that this is yet another frivolous complaint by Reliance Jio and we will respond to it at the appropriate forums," the spokesperson said.

Airtel in its 15 May letter said that all information relating to customers, network nodes, etc., along with provision for lawful interception, are hosted in a fully secure manner by the company in India. It stated that no network node or information or data, as alleged by Reliance Jio, has been hosted outside of India.

Airtel’s letter said that network node referred by Reliance Jio appears to be an inventory server, called SMDP server of eSIM, which is not the network node of the company. The letter said that network related information on SIM or eSIM to enable mobile devices connect with network is loaded by SIM makers outside India.

Airtel said that Reliance Jio itself is using SMDP servers installed outside India, which it has not disclosed to the DoT. A company official on condition of anonymity said that charges levelled by the rival are baseless and the SMDP server used by Reliance Jio is located inside India.

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