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Jio tells TRAI it’s losing users due to ‘rumors’ spread by Airtel, Vi that it will gain from Farm Bills

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Reliance Jio has asked the telecom regulator to take strict action against Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel for resorting to “unethical” ways, spreading “frivolous rumors” that Jio will gain from the Farm Bills.

In a stern letter to the telecom regulator, Jio blamed its rivals for this vicious campaign stating that ” large number of port out requests, wherein the customers are citing this as the sole reason for porting out of Jio without having any complaints or other issues related to Jio services”, said the Mulesh Ambani led telco in its letter dated December 11.

“This is further to our aforementioned letter dated 28 September 2020 highlighting the unethical and anti competitive MNP campaign, being run by Airtel and Vi to capitalize on the ongoing farmers protests in the northern parts of the country,” said Jio which had in September also raised the issue of transparency in tariff plans of its competitors.

“They are inciting the public by making preposterous claims that migrating Jio mobile numbers to their network would be an act to support farmers protests”

— Jio to TRAI

Retailers in Faridabad , Bahadurgarh, Chandigarh, Firozpur and other parts of NCR and Punjab have seen an increase in customers porting out of Reliance Jio and joining either Vodafone Idea or Bharti Airtel. Retailers have told ET that these areas are seeing farmers coming in droves and asking for a new SIM or filling up port out requests .

“These companies continue to remain directly indirectly involved in supporting and furthering the ensued notions, and false frivolous rumors of Reliance being an undue beneficiary of the farm bills for unethical pecuniary benefits in the form of induced porting of RJIL customers,” said the telco in its scathing letter.

This comes on the back of 50,000 plus farmers calling for a national boycott of Reliance products, including Jio Sim cards and phones. In a three player telecom market which is battling out intense competition, any opportunity to net customers will be acted upon.

“We submit that Airtel and Vi remain unabated in pursuit, this vicious and divisive campaign through its employees, agents and retailers. They are inciting the public by making preposterous claims that migrating Jio mobile numbers to their network would be an act to support farmers protests,” said Jio in its letter to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) secretary SK Gupta.

The telco which is the largest in India has asked the regulator to take strict action against its rivals.

As of the September-end results Jio has 406 million customers, Airtel has 294 million and Vi has 272 million subscribers The leader in the customer market share has a target of reaching 500 million subscribers.

An analyst ET spoke to did not want to be named but said that even if temporary, Punjab, Haryana and Delhi are high ARPU regions and telcos do not want to lose customers in that segment.

Average revenue per user (ARPU) is a key industry metric. Vi’s ARPU of Rs 119 at the end of the September quarter still lags that of Bharti Airtel (Rs 162) and Jio (Rs 145).

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