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"It's complicated" between Jio and rivals - Airtel, Vodafone, and Idea

15-February-2017
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"It's complicated" between Jio and rivals - Airtel, Vodafone, and Idea

Reliance Jio’s Twitter handle sent out a message of love to its competitors Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular on the occasion of Valentine’s Day with the hashtag #WithLoveFromJio in the midst of a turf war. The cheeky tweet from the newly launched telecom brand to other leading telecom brands in the country was met with equal humour from Tweeple.

Rival company Idea Cellular returned Reliance Jio’s V-day wishes with “Same to you! Nice to know that love is in the air today.” Idea Cellular’s recent Q3 results in fact showed that the company was heavily impacted by the entry of telecom disruptor Reliance Jio. Idea Cellular posted a net loss of Rs 384 in the quarter that ended December 31, 2016. In contrast, the company had reported a net gain of Rs 660 crore for the same period last year.

Idea Cellular and Vodafone India are in the process of finalising a merger that will result in the creation of the largest telecom firm in India with 43 per cent share of the market. This merger was prompted by the entry of Reliance Jio. At a time when the telecom industry is witnessing a churning of epic proportions, the reply from Idea Cellular was a show of good faith, even if it was only on social media.

In October 2016, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had made a suggestion that Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone India pay a fine of Rs 3,050 for violating licence norms by denying adequate interconnection points to Reliance Jio. Soon a war of words ensued between the three leading operators and Reliance Jio. 

Idea Cellular had recently poked fun at Reliance Jio with its latest ad campaign that suggested to users that if something is free, there is always some fine text. The campaign “Free ki aadat mat dalo, isiliye No Free G, only 3G” took pot shots at Reliance Jio for offering services for free and roping in customers with deals that seem too good to be true. The wars had reached a fever pitch and moved from the TRAI arena to the advertising arena in 2017.

Later in the day, cab aggregator Ola Cabs took noticed of the mushy tweet from Reliance Jio and dropped a quick witty tweet - “Get a room already!! ‘Such Mush Much Wow’ songs in order!!” The cab aggregator did not miss the chance to promote its V-day playlist with the hashtags #OlaPlaylist and #LoveOnLoop.

Airtel shot back at Reliance Jio with more wit and slipped in its own catchy tagline saying: “Same feels! After all #HarEkFriendZarooratHotaHai”. The two are in what can only be described as a love-hate relationship today. Airtel has been upping its game every turn by making competitive offers to retain and gain customers. From free data to free voice calls, Jio is keeping Airtel on its toes.

Vodafone India was the only telecom operator that had not replied to Reliance Jio’s message of love this V-Day. Maybe Vodafone was feeling blue? That, or Idea Cellular’s tweet was also on behalf of its new found Valentine - Vodafone India. 

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