State-owned telecom major Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) has challenged private telecom operator Airtel's claim that it is the only mobile telecom service provider in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), in a news magazine dated November 22, 2004.
BSNL says that the former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, launched BSNL's mobile service in the state in August 2003, much before Airtel's service was launched.
In a complaint to the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), BSNL, has stated: "This fact is also well known that BSNL was the only mobile service operator in Jammu and Kashmir circle, offering roaming facility to its customers prior to launch of service by Airtel. After launch of service by Airtel, two operators are providing the mobile services in Jammu and Kashmir."
BSNL has dubbed Airtel's claim of it being the only mobile service provider in Jammu and Kashmir as "totally false, unfair, deceptive and misleading, in addition to a misrepresentation of facts. Such an advertisement deserves to be condemned as unfair trade practice, as it not only contains a false statement misleading the public at large."
Accordingly BSNL has requested ASCI to issue a proper direction to Airtel to "cease and desist from publishing such advertisement(s) material."