Major victory for Jio, Airtel told to withdraw 'fastest network' Ad

New Delhi: In a major setbcak for Airtel, advertisement sector watchdog-Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI)- has asked the company to withdraw of modify its Ad claiming to be the fastest network of India. Jio had approached the ASCi saying that the claim of being "officially the fastest network" is "misleading" and done in "mala fide manner in collusion with" broadband speed tester Ookla.

The ACSI has given time till April 11, 2017 to withdraw or modify the TV commercial.

Jio had alleged that Ookla, the owner of Speedtest app, takes money for giving such awards. Jio also that Ookla had approached it for the same for the same quarter it adjudged Airtel as fastest mobile network. Jio had also alleged that Ookla results were based on SIMs used in primary slot which renders high speed Jio SIMs in secondary slot useless.

ASCI's Fast Track Complaints Committee ruled in favour of Jio after hearing the complaint. "The FTCC referred to the TRAI web-site with respect to the coverage of Airtel vis a vis Reliance Jio and noticed that there is a significant gap between Geographical dispersion of Airtel and Jio 4G subscribers which could impact the comparison. Based on this data, the FTCC concluded that the claim was not adequately substantiated and the basis of comparison has been so chosen as to bestow artificial advantage to the advertiser," ASCI order said.

However, Bharti Airtel has said it will appeal against the ASCI order. "We do not agree with ASCI's decision and will file an appeal as per guidelines. Our campaign is based on findings by Ookla - the globally recognised leader in mobile speed tests and also a benchmark for reputed global operators. We have shared all supporting facts with ASCI and strongly believe that our campaign is compliant with all guidelines. We will be happy to provide more details, if required, and hope ASCI will reconsider its decision," Airtel said.

Tester Ookla, meanwhile said that it stands by its results."The award designation was validated using the IP methodology described above for all Speedtest results during the last 6 months of 2016 (Q3 & Q4). When analyzing the data for all of 2016, Airtel was still the clear leader. When analyzing data for 2017 to date, Airtel is still the clear leader. It is worth noting that after correcting for the Android limitation, Airtel's lead over Jio increases for all aforementioned date ranges."