Reliance Jio has sent a legal notice to Ookla rubbishing the “Fastest Mobile Network in India” certificate they have issued to Airtel based on data from Q3 and Q4 of 2016.
In the notice ( The Mobile Indian has a copy of the notice)which Jio has sent, through Khaitan & Co, to Ookla, it has been claimed that, “ This exercise by which Ookla purports to provide speed test results to telecom service providers for internal use for a consideration, and, charges a premium in the range of 2X to 4X – depending on the options availed if such entities wish to promote their business using such results, shows that Ookla’s so-called awards/ certificates and brand, is a scam in collusion with a service provider.”
The notice further adds, “The issuing of the so-called “award/ certificate given by Ookla pursuant to an arrangement such as above is an act of cheating and misleading the users of mobile networks for financial and profit which has no legitimacy.”
Jio has also claimed that “Over the course of detailed correspondence between October 2016 to January 2017, Ookla acknowledged that the methodology used by it to determine the speed is flawed.”
Jio has claimed that Ookla had informed Jio in Q3 of 2016 that the Jio network was the fastest network in India and offered to ‘award’ Jio accordingly for a price. If this claim made by Jio is correct then the question arises for Ookla as to how Airtel could announce its own ‘win’ during the same period as the fastest network. In the notice which Jio has sent, it mentions that “Ookla charges substantial sums of money for this purpose and especially for publicly using your award and test results.”
In a statement, Jamie Steven, COO, Speedtest by Ookla said, “Ookla named Airtel as the “Fastest Mobile Network” in India based on data from Q3 and Q4 of 2016. When analysing markets like India, we take many factors into consideration, including dual SIM devices, network technology, device types, and more. In addition to what the user sees on their mobile application as they take a test in real-time, we apply a rigorous methodology when aggregating the data which uses a variety of internal data sources that control for potential variability in the market.” In simpler language, Ookla will not really disclose how it arrived at the final numbers, quoting internal, proprietary information.
He further added, “We are always improving how additional information is collected and analysed through our Speedtest applications to allow Ookla to accurately reflect internet performance. We have taken dual SIM information into consideration and fully stand behind Airtel being named “India’s Fastest Mobile Network”. India is a dynamic market with a rapidly changing mobile landscape and we look forward to seeing how the market develops.”
Meanwhile, to counter the allegation, Airtel has also come up with its defence. Rajiv Mathrani, Chief Brand Officer, Bharti Airtel said, “We are rather amused by the allegations being made against our campaign. We believe that this is a deliberate attempt to malign our brand and misguide customers through a campaign of misinformation, which is something we now come across on a regular basis, in particular, on social media platforms.”
Last week, Airtel had released a new advertisement campaign in collaboration with Ookla showcasing Airtel is India’s fastest network in terms of mobile data. However, Reliance Jio later issued a complaint to Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) claiming that Airtel’s ad is misleading.
The whole controversy started when Reliance Jio issued a statement in which it said, “The claim of Airtel that it is India’s fastest network is false, misleading and incorrect. The claim is being made by Airtel acting in a mala fide manner in collusion with Ookla LLC, who profess to be experts in the domain space of testing mobile Internet speed.”
We believe that the whole issue has been blown out of proportion, as for the actual user, the experience with mobile speeds will depend on her own local factors. The dust has not, and will probably not settle on this tiff for some time to come.