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Airtel and Jio in fresh spat over IPL campaign

The face-off between Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio Infocomm over the former’s IPL multimedia campaign continues despite Supreme Court’s verdict in the case. 

The dispute relates to Airtel’s ad, wherein it had stated that its subscribers could access live and free coverage of IPL matches on the Airtel network through the Hotstar app. Jio approached the High Court with the claim that Airtel’s ad was misleading as there were hidden costs of data usage, which the Airtel’s ad didn’t mention. 

Airtel, on its part, refuted this, saying that its ads did mention about subscribers being charged for the data that they consumed as per the subscriber’s plan. 

On May 18, 2018, Airtel issued a statement saying that the Supreme Court had dismissed Jio’s petition, wherein Jio had challenged a May 10 order of the Delhi High Court that granted Airtel a partial reprieve in the IPL ad case. 

Jio refuted this, saying that Airtel had in a “blatant falsity” stated that the apex court had dismissed Jio’s statement. It added that, in fact, the Supre Court had directed Airtel to comply with the Delhi High Court order of April 13 that it must run a bold disclaimer in its IPL “live and free” advertisements across all forms of media, including electronic media, clarifying that data download charges apply. 

Airtel insisted that the only the part regarding the font size of the disclaimer in print ads – which should be 12 instead of 10 – of the High Court order was retained. 

Refuting this, Jio affirmed that the order stated that Airtel needed to run the disclaimer across all media and not just in print ads.

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