Apple defends its 4G branding in Australia

Wed, Apr 25, 2012


Along with the Regina Display, the other key feature/selling point of  Apple’s latest iPad is its support for 4G. But if you’re trying to get on a 4G network outside of North America, you’re in for a big disappointment. You see, Apple’s latest iPad can only hop on 4G networks in the United States and Canada.

But because Apple is touting the device’s 4G capabilities abroad, some consumer watchdog groups abroad are crying foul.

A few weeks ago, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) accused Apple of false advertising and misrepresentation stemming from its 4G claims in iPad advertising. The ACCC complaint read in part, “The ACCC alleges that Apple’s recent promotion of the new ‘iPad with WiFi + 4G’ is misleading because it represents to Australian consumers that the product ‘iPad with WiFi + 4G’ can, with a SIM card, connect to a 4G mobile data network in Australia, when this is not the case.”

So what does Apple make of the ACCC’s allegations that it’s violating Australian consumer law?

Well not much, apparently.

Apple has recently taken to defending its use of the 4G tag in its advertising materials, claiming that Australia’s 4G networks is mislabeled, not Apple’s.

Mac Observer writes:

At issue is what can and can’t be called “4G,” a technicality decided by the International Telecommunications Union, which sets the marketing standards for wireless networks. That group expanded its definition of 4G service in December 2010 to include current network protocols with an upgrade path that could eventually allow them to reach speeds that would qualify as 4G.

This is the same reason that some iPhones now report their connection as “4G” in the U.S. on carriers like AT&T. The devices didn’t magically start supporting 4G LTE networks, but older networks were instead allowed to call themselves 4G.

Such is the case with the iPad, too. In the U.S., the new iPad W-Fi + 4G supports the LTE standard. It also supports the UMTS standard on the 2100MHz band (among others)—this is the wireless technology the new iPad uses in Australia for the three major carriers in the country. While this band can be called “4G” according to the relaxed standards, in Australia it is still marketed as a “3G” network.

Apple is essentially arguing that it’s not the company’s fault that Australia hasn’t kept up with evolving standards, and that its marketing of the wireless-capable new iPads as 4G devices is appropriate and correct.

Apple meanwhile also stressed that all of its advertising materials made it clear that the latest iPad was not compatible with Australian-based Telstra’s 4G LTE network.



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