New Delhi: The rivalry between the top teleco’s Bharti Airtel and Reliance JioInfocomm has escalated further despite the Supreme Court verdict relating to the Airtel’s IPL multimedia campaign as both the companies engaged in a fresh slugfest over the same issue.
On Friday, Airtel issued a statement that the country’s apex court had dismissed Jio’s petition challenging a May 10 Delhi High Court order granting Airtel a partial reprieve over its IPL advertising campaign. However, Jio rubbished the claim, and accused the Airtel of indulging in “blatant falsity” and making incorrect and misleading statements to the press” about the day’s Supreme Court proceedings on the IPL advertising case.
The latest flashpoint relates to a protracted dispute over BhartiAirtel’s multimedia campaign offering subscribers live and free coverage of the cricket league’s matches on its network through the Hotstar app. Jio had originally moved the high court on April 13 against Airtel, claiming the latter’s ad was misleading and deceptive as it failed to inform customers about hidden costs of data usage. Airtel, in turn, had then countered, saying its advertisements mentioned that data consumption would be charged as per a subscriber’s plan.
On Friday, a BhartiAirtel spokesman said “the Supreme Court had dismissed the petition of Reliance Jio, which had filed a special leave petition (SLP) against the order of the division bench of the Delhi High Court, which had set aside the single bench order of the Delhi HC”.
The Mukesh Ambani-led telco, however, vehemently refuted the market leader’s claim, alleging that “Airtel in a blatant falsity” had incorrectly stated that “Jio’s petition has been dismissed”.
“Reliance Jio would like to clarify the correct position. The Supreme Court on Friday disposed off the SLP filed by Jio against Airtel, and in fact, allowed the same in directing Airtel to comply with the order of the Ld Single Judge of the Delhi High court, April 13, to the effect that it must run a bold disclaimer in its IPL “live and free” advertisements across all forms of media including electronic media clarifying that data download charges apply,” a Jio spokesman said
Airtel, on its part, said “the only piece that the Delhi High Court division bench had retained was the concession agreed to by Airtel of having the disclaimer in font size 12 instead of 10 in the newspaper advertisement”.
However, the Jio spokesman said the Supreme Court “explicitly negated the order” of the Delhi High Court division bench that “the disclaimer should be limited to print media, and “upheld Jio’s contention that Airtel has to run the disclaimer across all media”.
Accordingly, Jio said it is “hopeful that Airtel will now adhere to and abide by the Hon’ble SC order and qualify its advertising campaign across all media by informing consumers of the correct position of charges payable by them, which in its initial form wilfully misled the subscribers to believe access to Hotstar and data charges are free”.
Both Airtel and Jio had met a similar flashing point last year over claims of Broadband speed involving Ookla Speed tester.