Jio in a letter blamed Vi and Airtel for a supposed campaign to acquire its customers in the backdrop of farmer protests. Jio essentially argued that Vi and Airtel were using the protests to make the Reliance-owned telco look bad and gain their subscribers. It’s not clear if Reliance cited any evidence to make this extraordinary claim. Protesting farmers have called for a boycott of businesses owned by industrialists they believe would threaten farming after recently passed legislation; Reliance’s wide-ranging interests fell comfortably in that category, leading to calls for boycotts of everything from the conglomerate’s telecom services to its music streaming service JioSaavn.
Vi and Airtel refuted Jio’s allegations sharply. In a letter to the TRAI shared with MediaNama, Airtel said that “Despite being provoked by some competitors who we know will go to any length to make baseless allegations, adopt bullying tactics and use intimidatory behaviour we have always conducted our business with character and transparency something that we are deeply proud of and known for.”
“Vi believes in doing business with ethics,” the other telco said in a short statement. “These are baseless allegations against us to malign our reputation. We strongly refute such irresponsible comments on us.” We have filed an RTI to the TRAI for a copy of Jio’s letter; the telco did not return an email requesting comment on their position.
Airtel’s full response
We have just been made aware through media about an outrageous complaint made to TRAI by Reliance Jio against Airtel. This complaint relates to market activities in Punjab/ Haryana LSA that are purportedly encouraging customers to Port to Airtel.
We wish to emphatically deny this baseless charge.
Airtel has operated in the telecom industry for 25 years. During this period, we have competed hard in the market place and striven to serve our customers with excellence. At the same time we take great pride in treating our competitors and partners with respect. Despite being provoked by some competitors who we know will go to any length to make baseless allegations, adopt bullying tactics and use intimidatory behaviour we have always conducted our business with character and transparency something that we are deeply proud of and known for.
The current complaint therefore deserves to be dismissed and thrown out with the contempt that it deserves. It is in poor taste and is scurrilous to say the least.