RJio slams COAI for ‘defamatory’ remarks

S Ronendra Singh New Delhi | Updated on February 23, 2018 Published on February 23, 2018

Call to arms RJio said it is ‘regrettable and appalling’ to see the COAI becoming an ‘instrument and mouthpiece of Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea’. This file photo show an RJio ad in a bus stop   -  REUTERS

Accuses mobile operators’ body of siding with its rivals

Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm has accused the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) of defaming the company, and sent it a notice seeking an immediate public apology and clarification.

The company has also accused COAI of acting as a mouthpiece to older operators such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea..

“COAI and Rajan Mathews (Director General of COAI) are hereby called upon to issue a public apology and issue appropriate clarification expressly regretting their callous and defamatory statements through a separate press release issued no later than 48 hours from receipt of this notice,” Reliance Jio said in the notice letter.

The letter, accessed by BusinessLine, said that “the press release (issued by COAI on February 20) was motivated with an aim to devalue the esteem, regard, and confidence enjoyed by Relinace Jio, thus causing injury to its repute among the public and in the market.”

COAI had said in the press release that the “TRAI’s (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) New Tariff Order deals a near fatal body blow to the industry”. The order appeared to be strengthening the “ambitions of one particular operator with deep pockets and monopolistic designs at the expense of other operators”, it had said.

Referring to the press release, Reliance Jio said the company is a core member of the COAI and has constantly displayed, acted and promoted in a manner second to none, through its services and policies.

“However, it is highly regrettable and appalling to see that a body which had once emerged as the official voice of the Indian telecom industry is now reduced to becoming an instrument and mouthpiece of Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea (including Telenor, now controlled by Airtel), the incumbent dominant players,” Reliance Jio said in the letter.

Cease and desist

COAI and Mathews are called upon to immediately cease and desist from publishing false and ‘defamatory imputations’ against Reliance Jio, added the letter.

The company further said the statement released by COAI was malicious and false. COAI has defamed the TRAI order only on the grounds that it addresses consumers’ concerns, it added.

It is pertinent to note that consumer organisations have been crying hoarse for years for more transparency in tariff plans. COAI, as it’s accustomed, has equated yet another telecom reform benefiting the consumer as only benefiting Reliance Jio, it said.

COAI sources when contacted said that its legal team is examining the notice and will respond to it in due course.

Published on February 23, 2018
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