Apple Watch Row: Bharti Airtel Threatens to Drag Reliance Jio to Court

The country’s largest telecom operator, Bharti Airtel, has threatened to take legal action against Reliance Jio for blaming it for violating unified licence (UL) conditions relating to setting up of network infrastructure for pairing Apple’s Watch Series 3 with iPhone in the country.

“We assure the government that all information relating to customers, network nodes etc along with provisions for lawful interception are hosted in a fully secure manner by Airtel in its network in India,” the operator’s statement to the DoT said.

These assurances come after Jio alleged last week that Bharti has not set-up the referred eSIM provisioning node within India and the node being used to provide Apple Watch service is currently located outside India in violation of license terms. Bharti said that Jio’s complaint has been made with the intention of ‘defaming and maligning’ the company.

“The bald allegations made by Jio are false, misconceived, without basis and have not been substantiated in any manner,” it said. The operator also threatened to initiate legal action against Jio.

“Our submissions are without prejudice to our rights under law against Jio for appropriate remedy, both civil and criminal, for making such false and baseless allegations with malafide intent to defame and malign the brand of Airtel,” Bharti said in a letter to telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan, which was seen by FE.

Refuting Jio’s claim that Apple’s Watch provisioning node used for eSIM is located outside of India, Bharti said it appears that Jio is referring to SMDP (Simple Multimedia service Description Protocol) server, which is actually not a network node, but a SIM/eSIM inventory server and as per UL conditions is not part of the network element.

“We assure DoT that all user/KYC or usage specific information is residing in the network nodes installed in Airtel’s network in India,” Bharti assured.

On Jio’s claim that eSIM provisioning node contains sensitive user information, Bharti responded saying that the said information is user specific. “The said information is non-critical, non-confidential and is made available to all SIM vendors supplying SIMs or eSIMs. In any case, a large part of this information is also available with the handset manufacturers,” it explained.- Financial Express

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