Reliance Jio calls Airtel's complaint to CCI a diversionary tactic

Reliance Jio has hit out against Airtel, saying its move to file a complaint with the Competition Commission of India (CCI) is the latter's tactic to wriggle out of the cases of violation of telecom norms.

Airtel, which lost its case against Reliance Jio at the Telecom Commission over the extension of free data and voice offer by the Mukesh Ambani firm for another three months, is now looking to open a new front against the company, according to Reliance Jio.

''This latest salvo by Airtel is a clear ploy to divert attention from its own violation of licensing conditions by having denied adequate POIs to Jio and the already announced censure proceedings by the TRAI against them...'' said a Jio spokesperson.

Sunil Bharti Mittal's Airtel has complained to the CCI against Reliance Jio for predatory pricing that could lead to anti-competitive behaviour.

Bharti Airtel has reportedly filed a complaint with the CCI against Reliance Jio, questioning the pricing strategy adopted by the new entrant. The company has been accused of trying to create a monopoly for itself as well as causing harm to competition in order to gain profits in the long run.

In a letter to CCI, dated 2 February, Airtel has said that Reliance Jio's "predatory free pricing strategy" is meant to thwart competition. "It is a strategic business tactic adopted to enhance market power with the objective of eliminating competition which it has succeeded to a large extent during the quarter Oct to Dec 2016 itself," reports quoted Airtel as stating in its letter to CCI.

Jio Infocomm had earlier moved CCI accusing the three incumbents – Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular - alleging that they are abusing their dominant market power and formed a cartel to deny it points of interconnect.

Bharti Airtel's complaint has sought an investigation into the matter to see if there's any merit in the case.

This move signals the raging battle between the telecomm operators of India since the entry of Reliance Jio in 2016 disrupted the system with its deep discounts on data use.

Bharti and Idea Cellular are already in the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal alleging that sector regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has been a mute spectator to violations of norms by Jio.

The next date for hearing on the matter is 6 February.