Reliance Jio has started unfair competiton: Airtel’s Sunil Mittal | business-news | Hindustan Times
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Reliance Jio has started unfair competiton: Airtel’s Sunil Mittal

Sunil Mittal has lashed out at Reliance Jio as it continues to offer free internet services, and blames Jio’s free services for ill-health of telecom industry.

business Updated: Jan 16, 2017 12:27 IST
Sunny Sen
Founder and Chairman of Bharti Enterprises, Sunil Bharti Mittal,(L), Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley (C) and vice chairman and managing director of Kotak Mahindra Bank, Uday Kotak look on during the launch of Airtel payment banks.
Founder and Chairman of Bharti Enterprises, Sunil Bharti Mittal,(L), Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley (C) and vice chairman and managing director of Kotak Mahindra Bank, Uday Kotak look on during the launch of Airtel payment banks.(AFP)

Sunil Mittal, whose telecom company Bharti Airtel bears his middle name, has lashed out at Reliance Jio as it continues to offer free internet services.

Jio is promoted by industrialist Mukesh Ambani, the country’s richest man, known to make big bets. Undoubtedly his telecom venture is one of them, and he wants to capture a large chunk of the digital India population.

Free services is what he is betting on to steal the show. That has added a third dimension to India’s telecom war.

Mittal is unhappy, and he is not willing to hide his emotions.

“It is unfair competition… It is a problem if anything is given for free,” he said.

Unlike Reliance Industries, which has many more businesses, Bharti Enterprises and Mittal thrives on Airtel, India’s largest telecom company.

Ambani’s decision to offer free services, Mittal said is a big reason why the industry is bleeding. “The revenue and the margins of the industry are impacted,” he said.

Throw in the debt of telecom companies – the accumulated debt burden is Rs 3,85,000 crore.

Airtel has also approached the telecom tribunal, TDSAT to put an end to Jio’s free services regime. The tribunal has directed the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India to come to a conclusion on the matter within “reasonable time”.

Jio has extended the company’s free services beyond the stipulated 90 days period. “We have gone to TDSAT, TRAI is already examining the matter,” Mittal said.

Free services by Jio has forced all telecom operators to dole out freebies and special schemes, but none compares with Jio’s

Airtel is giving Rs 9,000 of data to a new 4G internet customer free of cost. This is unusual, but a source said that this is the only way to retain and attract customers. Idea Cellular, too, is offering a similar scheme.

Jio, according to TRAI’s data, has cornered 16.45% of broadband market share in October, after Airtel, which had 22.05%, and Vodafone had 18.4%. Jio also offered highest 4G speeds, TRAI data shows.

For Mittal, the battle with Jio has just begun, and he will not give up. “Of all the companies in the market the impact the least on us,” said Mittal.