Airtel advertisements promising free viewership of IPL cricket matches pulled up by Delhi High Court

“The leading telco is running an ad campaign promising its subscribers free and live coverage of the T20 cricket matches”

While the eight cricket teams are fighting for the 11th edition of the Indian Premier League trophy on the field, a different contest is going on off the field as well. India’s leading telco providers, Airtel and Reliance Jio, are banking on IPL as a way to increase their subscriber base and increase the data consumption by their existing users as well. That’s why both brands have partnered with exclusive IPL digital streaming partner – Hotstar – to let their subscribers watch the cricketing extravaganza live anytime, anywhere on their smartphones.

Related read: How to watch IPL 2018 live on your smartphone

To watch the T20 matches on Airtel’s network, users need to download both the Airtel TV and the Hotstar apps, and simply tap on the IPL content in Airtel’s app. In comparison, Reliance Jio consumers will need to make a special recharge of Rs 251, which offers 102GB 4G data for 51 days (covering the entire duration of the league) along with free access to Hotstar. Essentially, both operators are offering the ability to watch IPL on Hotstar, without requiring the premium subscription to the app. However, that’s where the contention lies. Airtel is advertising that users can enjoy IPL matches totally free (one such ad is embedded below), but that doesn’t include the data consumed by the subscriber to watch the same. Reliance Jio took the matter to the Delhi High Court for this reason, and the court has ruled in its favour as per the copy of the court order with 91mobiles.

Reliance Jio argues that these ads not only mislead users by stating that IPL matches can be watched for free, but also suggests that only Airtel subscribers can enjoy this benefit. The court has now directed Airtel to highlight the fact that data consumption charges to stream the content would apply to its users, as per their subscription plan. Jio also points out that while it’s charging a fixed amount from its subscribers, Airtel users might also have to pay over and above their monthly tariffs if they exceed the data usage as per their quota, which can’t be advertised as free.

Along with the ability to watch cricket matches on the go, both telecom operators have also deployed pre-5G massive MIMO technology in select IPL venues to give their subscribers fast and seamless data speeds. So it’s clear that both brands will continue to be at loggerheads with each other. 

One of the earliest members of the 91mobiles' editorial team, Nitansh is a walking encyclopaedia of product specs. Name a phone and he’ll tell you the specifics on screen resolution, processor and camera without blinking an eyelid. Ask him if he remembers the launch date of a noteworthy phone, and he'll tell you the dates when the device first leaked, its global unveil, its Indian launch, and when it got a significant update. He’s a lover of all things Android, and loves writing reviews and scouting for new apps. A Wordpress whiz, he’s always ready to help out a fellow writer. While he juggles between many things at 91mobiles, he always manages to find time to write. In his non-tech avatar, Nitansh is a philatelist, which is a fancy word for stamp-collector.
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