Reliance Jio files complaint against Airtel’s new ads on Internet speed
New Delhi: Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd has accused Bharti Airtel Ltd of airing misleading ads on network data speed.
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.’
The ad cited Ookla LLC, a company that tests network speeds, using Speedtest, a widely-used app for testing internet connectivity.
Ookla had given Airtel the fastest mobile carrier award in February based on consumer-initiated Speedtest results in Q3 and Q4 of 2016.
Reliance Jio, in its complaint, questioned the Speedtest methodology. Ookla is not recognised by either the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) or the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). Therefore, Airtel cannot use the word ‘officially’ in its advertisements, said Jio.
“We are aware of the material flaw in Ookla Speedtest and have also raised it with them in the past. In spite of acknowledging this flaw, we are surprised that Ookla has gone ahead and released misleading results. We have initiated suitable actions at appropriate forums,” said a Reliance Jio spokesperson.
Airtel has been heavily advertising across platforms its superior mobile internet speed. Apart from print, outdoor and digital, it has rolled out a new television commercial featuring Sasha Chettri, popularly known as the Airtel Girl, in which she is seen reiterating the claim of Airtel being India’s fastest network, basing it on the Speedtest results of Ookla.
“Airtel has been rated as India’s fastest mobile network by Ookla—the global leader in broadband testing and web-based network diagnostic applications. 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,” said an Airtel spokesperson.
Currently, ASCI is processing Reliance Jio’s complaint and as a part of the process it will be reviewed and clarifications will be sought from Airtel. A spokesperson from ASCI declined to comment for this story.
“I do not think any platform can give exact mobile internet speed details because the strength of a wireless network depends on location and distance from a tower. Consumers should rely on their personal experience of bandwidths rather than operator claims,” said Mahesh Uppal, telecom analyst and director at New Delhi-based consultancy Com First.