May 27, 2018

Airtel terms Jio complaint over Apple Watch eSim as frivolous

14 May 2018, 06:36 | Brandon Parsons

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As an offset, Airtel on Sunday reportedly tosses aside these allegations by Jio.

Reliance Jio has alleged that Bharti Airtel is offering eSim service on Apple Watch in violation of licence norms, prompting the Sunil Mittal-led firm call it a "frivolous complaint".

For those unaware, Apple Watch Series 3 Cellular comes with an eSIM (embedded SIM). The eSIM profile allocations contain user information that includes operator identifier, SIM details, PIN etc and uses the dedicated node for the same objective. The reason being, the network related infrastructure for pairing the Watch with iPhone isn't set inside India. Bharti Airtel is a law-abiding and responsible operator.

Reliance Jio alleged that Airtel has not set-up the eSIM provisioning node within India and the node being used to provide Apple Watch Series 3 service is now located out of India in "gross violation to the license terms". Unified License directs all telecom players that all equipment for network services must be incorporated within the country.

In an iPhone and Apple Watch, the subscriber shares the same number and uses an eSIM to make or receive calls.

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We request your good office to take severe action against Bharti and impose the strictest of penalties under the licence. Similar to Reliance Jio's disruption in the prepaid arena, the postpaid plan will definitely cause Vodafone and Airtel subscribers to have second thoughts about their current network. To counter that Reliance Jio will be offering its own host of services which includes Jio apps and services at no additional costs.

"...running a sensitivity analysis on whether Airtel were to match the Rs 199 tariff, for every 10% of the postpaid subscriber base that downgrades its tariff plan, the impact on Airtel's Indian wireless revenue would be 1 per cent", Morgan Stanley report said.

Airtel reports that it had notified the DoT prior to the launch of the latest Apple Watch, of the product features and network architecture. Reliance, furthermore, claims that this is a breach of national security and is a "deliberate, gross violation" of Unified License norms. The maximum for penalty for a breach of such license conditions is Rs50 crore per circle.

Airtel has revamped its Rs. 149 recharge pack for prepaid users as it continues its fight against Jio for market share.

Airtel has denied Jio's accusations, saying it is "another frivolous complaint by a desperate operator, whose sole aim appears to have a monopoly over everything that they do". "There is no CDR (call detail record) or KYC (know your customer), or any private information, outside the country and lawful interception is within India", one of the company representatives said.

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