After taking on Reliance over the access deficit charge (ADC), State-owned telecom major Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has now trained its gun on Airtel over the private operator's claim that it is the only mobile telecom service provider in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K).
BSNL has moved the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) against an advertisement published by Airtel in which the company claimed that it is the only mobile service provider in J&K. It has urged ASCI to restrain Airtel from publishing such misleading advertisements.
Airtel, in its advertisement in a news magazine dated November 22, 2004, stated that it is the "only one mobile service that takes you to Jammu and Kashmir." But the fact is that the former Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, had launched BSNL's mobile service in the State in August 2003, much before Airtel's service was launched.
BSNL, in its complaint to ASCI, has stated: "This fact is also well known that BSNL was the only mobile service operator in Jammu and Kashmir circle, offering roaming facility to its customers prior to launch of service by Airtel. After launch of service by Airtel, two operators are providing the mobile services in Jammu and Kashmir."
The letter further states that Airtel's claim of it being the only mobile service provider in Jammu and Kashmir was totally false, unfair, deceptive and misleading, in addition to a misrepresentation of facts. "Such an advertisement deserves to be condemned as unfair trade practice, as it not only contains a false statement but also misleading to the public at large," BSNL said.
Emphasising that "such an advertisement is prejudicial to the public interest and the interest of mobile subscribers," BSNL has requested ASCI to issue a proper direction to Airtel "to cease and desist from publishing such advertisement(s) material."