A customer tries on an Apple Inc. watch series 3 device during the sales launch of the Apple Inc. iPhone 8 smartphone, Apple watch series 3 device, and Apple TV 4K inside a store in San Francisco.

Reliance Jio Files Complaint Against Airtel Over Apple Watch Service; Airtel Refutes Charge

Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. has alleged that Bharti Airtel Ltd. is offering eSim service on Apple Watch in violation of licence norms, prompting the Sunil Mittal-led telecom major call it a “frivolous complaint”.

Reliance Jio has filed a complaint with the Department of Telecom, alleging its rival Bharti Airtel, is offering eSim service on the Apple Watch Series 3 in violation of licence norms. Jio has demanded immediate closure of the service.

“Apple Watch Series 3 service is being offered by Airtel in deliberate and gross violation to the terms and conditions of Unified License,” Reliance Jio, the telecom arm of Reliance Industries Ltd., said in a letter to the Department of Telecom.

When contacted, Bharti Airtel denied the allegations terming it a frivolous complaint.

“This is yet another frivolous complaint by a desperate operator, whose sole aim appears to have a monopoly over everything that they do. Bharti Airtel is a law abiding and responsible operator. The DoT was duly notified prior to the launch of Apple watch, including product features, network architecture and lawful interception and we have also requested them to carry out a demonstration of the same,” Airtel spokespeson said.

Both, Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel have been selling the Apple Watch Series 3 since May 11 through their sales channels.

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A subscriber’s iPhone and Apple Watch share the same number and both can be used with an eSIM to make or receive calls independent of the call status of the other devices.

The eSIM is paired with the iPhone SIM wirelessly through a dedicated network node. The node used for eSIM profile allocation contains network and user information such as operator identifier, SIM details, PIN, remote file management for managing SIM files remotely, etc.

Reliance Jio alleged that Airtel has not set-up the eSIM provisioning node within India and the node being used to provide the Apple Watch Series 3 service is currently located out of India in "gross violation to the license terms".

The Mukesh Ambani-led firm also alleged that the Sunil Bharti Mittal-led telecom company should have carried out lawful interception and monitoring, but it is not aware of any demonstration carried out by Airtel prior to service launch “so that important national security interests are not compromised”.

Jio also alleged that Airtel deliberately chose to install a critical network element outside India.

“...we request your good office to take severe action against M/s Bharti Airtel Ltd. and impose the strictest of penalties under the License. Furthermore, we request you to direct Airtel to immediately stop this service and start this service only upon complying with the requirements of national security and addressing the violations of the license terms and conditions,” Jio said in the letter.

The Airtel spokesperson said that all information relating to customers, network nodes, etc., is hosted in a fully secure manner by Airtel India along with provision for lawful interception.

“We will be happy to share more details with the DoT as and when required,” the Airtel spokeserson said.

Also read: Bharti Airtel Tops Reliance Jio When It Comes To 4G Speed