After Reliance Jio complaint, ASCI asks Bharti Airtel to stop ‘fastest network’ ad

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Published: April 1, 2017 6:04:08 AM

Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) on Friday asked Bharti Airtel to stop its TV commercial claiming as “officially” the fastest network terming it as “misleading”.

Advertising Standards Council of India, ASCI, Bharti Airtel, TV commercial, Reliance Jio Infocomm, Fast Track Complaints Committee, telecom companies, AirtelAdvertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) on Friday asked Bharti Airtel to stop its TV commercial claiming as “officially” the fastest network terming it as “misleading”. (Source: Reuters)

Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) on Friday asked Bharti Airtel to stop its TV commercial claiming as “officially” the fastest network terming it as “misleading”. In doing so the advertising industry watchdog, upheld the complaint, which was filed by rival Reliance Jio Infocomm (Jio). Bharti had come out with ads claiming it is officially the fastest network in India based on findings by Ookla, which was countered by Jio, which moved ASCI countering the claim. ASCI’s Fast Track Complaints Committee (FTCC), which took up the issue of the TVC, said, “The FTCC considered this representation to be misleading by ambiguity and implication”.

FTCC further said that it considers the word “Officially” used by Bharti to be “misleading as this test is not based on any government organisation or recognised authority such as the regulator Trai in this category and hence, exploits consumers’ lack of knowledge”. ASCI said the TVC and website advertisement contravened its guidelines on Disclaimers Clause and upheld the complaint.

“We have advised the Advertiser to modify appropriately or to withdraw the said TVC and the website advertisement by April 11, 2017,” the advertising watchdog added. Responding to the development, a Bharti Airtel spokesperson said, “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”.
Ookla too has stood with its findings on Bharti’s claim as the fastest network.

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“Ookla fully stands behind the accuracy and reliability of the methodology used to designate Airtel as ‘India’s Fastest Mobile Network’. The award designation was validated using the IP methodology described above for all Speedtest results during the last 6 months of 2016 (July-December). When analysing 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”.

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