ASCI orders Airtel to remove misleading 4G ads

Airtel has landed in trouble with the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) for its 4G ads, which the body feels are misleading consumers with exaggerated claims. The telecom operator has confirmed it received the notice and is in the process of taking up the issue with the authority.

The ASCI verdict was prompted by a complaint filed by an unknown consumer. According to the decision, Airtel will have to withdraw or modify ads which claim it has the fastest 4G network ever or that they will pay a user’s mobile bills for life if their network is speedier.

Airtel 4G

Such promotions are ambiguous as they leave out the appropriate disclaimers in the TV and print advertisements. Specifically, they violate Chapter 1.4 of the code, which states that ads should neither distort facts nor misinform the customer through omissions or implications. They should not contain sentences or visuals which are ambiguous or exaggerated.

Airtel has until October 7 to remove all the offending advertisements, after which people can complain if they continue to see them. Live Mint reports the company is currently appealing the declaration by supplying the ASCI with the technical data to support its claims. It is following the due process to clear its name and is confident of getting a clean chit from the authority.

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A statement by the network operator asserts that 4G speeds are widely accepted as the fastest way of accessing the internet. Since Airtel is currently the only commercial provider of LTE bandwidth in India, its campaigns are focused on emphasizing this fact. It further said the claims in the ads are based on rigorous test conditions.