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The most recent information Tata Play accuses Airtel and Jio of combining live TV channels with internet service.

Tata Play opposes Jio’s inclusion of live TV channels and OTT apps in broadband packages.

Tata Play’s criticism of Airtel and Jio has heightened the tension. The inclusion of OTT applications and live TV channels in internet contracts is seen by Tata Play as predatory pricing that may push out smaller operators.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The tension has been increased by Tata Play’s criticism of both Airtel and Jio.
  • The addition of OTT applications and live TV channels in internet plans is viewed by Tata Play as predatory pricing.
  • Tata Play has joined the opposition against Jio’s most recent offering but has also charged Airtel of doing the same.

Two of India’s top telecom companies, and Reliance Jio InfoComm, are at odds over the latter’s Jio Fiber home broadband service. In response to Jio’s recent decision to bundle live TV channels with its internet service, Airtel has asked the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to restrict Jio’s Backup plans. Airtel claims Jio is engaging in predatory pricing that hurts consumers’ interests and distorts the market.

Tata Play, the largest DTH provider in India, has criticized Jio and Airtel for integrating OTT apps and live TV channels in their respective Internet and Airtel Black offerings. The DTH provider referred to these behaviours as blatant instances of exploitative pricing.

Jio accused Airtel of making baseless complaints in a letter to the TRAI, pleading with the watchdog to caution Airtel against doing the same in the future. Jio provides home broadband services that enable Set-Top Box (STB)-based access to content through OTT (over-the-top) apps.

Jio’s offer of 400–550 live TV channels as part of a broadband bundle offered at a significant discount from market price, according to Airtel, is an attempt to lessen competition in violation of the TTO–1999 and demands the TRAI’s prompt attention.

These charges have been refuted by Jio, who called Airtel’s lawsuit a “deliberate, malicious attempt to defame Reliance Jio’s consumer-friendly tariffs in order to protect its narrow interests.”

Tata Play joins the fray.

An ET story claims that the tension has increased as a result of Tata Play’s criticism of both Jio and Airtel. Tata Play views the introduction of OTT applications and live TV channels in internet plans as predatory pricing that might drive out smaller carriers.

Whether the TRAI would act in response to Airtel’s complaint is an open question. However, the discussion demonstrates how fiercely competitive India’s telecoms industry is, with carriers striving for market share by providing packages of services at alluring pricing.

Tata Play, which has previously accused Airtel of doing the same, has joined the resistance to Jio’s most recent proposal. In a letter dated in late March, Harit Nagpal, managing director of Tata Play, begged the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to intervene and stop Jio and Airtel’s “predatory, capital-destructive practices”. Additionally, Nagpal argued in favour of providing DTH providers the ability to negotiate rates with broadcasters and establish channel prices in accordance with market forces.

Tata Play mentioned the recently released Jio Fiber and Airtel Black plans, which include OTT applications and live TV channels. The DTH industry, which is already burdened with several regulatory constraints, is unable to negotiate with broadcasters and provides comparable savings to customers, according to Nagpal, who said that these deals are destructive and detrimental to the industry. Copy of the letters that Jio, Airtel, and Tata Play submitted to the regulator has been viewed by ET.

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Written by Shallu Srivastav

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