Jio alleges Airtel and Vodafone using farm protests to draw out subscribers
The farmers’ agitation appears to be hitting Reliance where it hurts most.
Reliance Jio, Mukesh Ambani’s telecom leader, has alleged that industry peers Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea are running a “vicious and divisive campaign” and making the preposterous claim that migrating Jio mobile numbers to their networks would be an act of support for the farmers’ protests.
Jio said it had received a large number of port-out requests, with the customers citing campaign messages of Airtel and Vodafone Idea.
Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea have termed the complaint “baseless”.
The brawl, linked directly to an ongoing agitation, comes at a time farmers have been insisting that the contentious farm laws were pushed through to favour the Ambanis and the Adanis.
Reliance Jio, in a letter to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), has sought strict action against the two companies. Jio said that earlier, too, it had written to Trai about an “unethical and anti-competitive mobile number portability campaign” by Airtel and Vodafone Idea to capitalise on the farmers’ protests.
“We submit that Airtel and VIL (Vodafone Idea Ltd) remain unabated in pursuing this vicious and divisive campaign through its employees, agents and retailers. They are inciting the public by making preposterous claims that migrating Jio mobile subscribers to their networks would be an act of support to the farmers’ protests,” Jio said in its latest letter.
Bharti Airtel said in a letter to Trai: “We wish to emphatically deny this baseless charge.… 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.”
A Vodafone Idea spokesperson said the company believed in doing business with ethics. “These are baseless allegations against us to malign our reputation. We strongly refute such irresponsible comments on us,” the VIL spokesperson said.
Bharti Airtel had pipped Reliance Jio in new mobile subscriber addition in September after a gap of four years.