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Delhi HC directs Airtel to modify IPL ads

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MUMBAI: Telecom operator Bharti Airtel, under instruction from the Delhi high court, has agreed to modify its ongoing ad campaign of promising "live and free access" to the coverage of the Indian Premier league (IPL).

The change reflect the fact that the "free access" to the IPL would actually cost consumers the price of the data consumed while streaming the matches. In other words, the "free access" is not free after all.

Airtel's assurance was given in the court of Justice Yogesh Khanna after its newest competitor, Reliance Jio, moved court to ensure that a "large number of unsuspecting" consumers are not lured by the "misleading" campaign.

Airtel committed to the court to make it abundantly clear that the service would cost them. It said it would include a bold disclaimer that only subscription to video-streaming platform Hotstar would be free and that data charges, according to the subscriber's plan, would apply.

Jio claimed that the advertisements "falsely proclaim" that Airtel was offering "live and free" access to T20 cricket coverage and "falsely represent that a subscriber need only to obtain a 4G sim from the defendant company and download the Airtel TV app to obtain a virtual season pass i.e live and free access to T20 coverage."

This would disadvantage other service providers such as Jio who have also come up special packages for the IPL season but by openly declaring the tariffs.

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