Jio on July 3 announced the Jio Bharat phone platform for entry-level 4G phones. Different brands can adopt the platform to build Jio Bharat phones and so far, Reliance Retail and Karbonn have announced two models priced at Rs 999. These entry-level phones don't have all the features you get with a smartphone, but two important and useful features that they do have are UPI payments and OTT streaming. However, it appears that Jio is limiting the use of UPI to only the JioPay app and OTT streaming to JioCinema and JioSaavn apps. Users don't seem to have the ability to install alternative UPI apps like Google Pay, Phonepe, Paytm, etc., or alternative OTT streaming apps like Disney Hotstar, Sony Liv, Amazon Prime, etc. This gives Jio's apps a significant advantage over their competition, raising antitrust concerns. After all, Google has been the subject of two Competition Commission of India (CCI) investigations for preinstalling and mandating the use of its own apps to the detriment of competition. Some of the rulings from the two investigations relevant to Jio's case are outlined below: In the Google Android investigation, CCI ruled that Google: Cannot force manufacturers to pre-install Google apps. Cannot link Play Store license with other apps. Should allow users to uninstall pre-installed apps. Cannot restrict side-loading of apps (installing apps from third-party sources). In the Google Play Store investigation, CCI ruled that Google: Cannot discriminate against other UPI apps. Jio is engaging in many of the above practices that CCI…
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