updated 11:55 pm EDT, Tue March 27, 2012
Australian iPad owners get refunds for no LTE use
Apple has taken an active if partial step towards addressing complaints of misleading 4G claims in Australia. The American company has volunteered to refund sales to customers who think they were misled by marketing and boxes that advertised 4G when Australian carriers neither use LTE on supported bands nor call their HSPA+ networks 4G. It would also put signage at stores and e-mail customers to tell them they couldn't use Telstra's new LTE, the only version of the standard so far in the country.
The firm wouldn't, however, put labels on the boxes themselves. Implementing that would be "cumbersome," Apple said, referring to the need to single out Australian models for special stickers. Attorney Paul Anastassiou added in a Federal Court hearing that Apple was still technically meeting ITU definitions of 4G. The standards body relaxed rules after American carriers Sprint and T-Mobile USA started referring to WiMAX and HSPA+ as 4G.
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission officials have been pushing for the sticker as well as to require an explanatory ad within three days, both on company pages and in newspapers, and to change the "iPad with Wi-Fi + 4G" name for local sales.
The early nature of LTE modems has left Apple with support for just two LTE frequencies, 700MHz and 2,100MHz, both of which are only in active LTE use in the US and Canada. More advanced support won't come for much of the industry until later 2012 or 2013, when a next wave of LTE chipsets could cover more frequencies on top of better battery life. [via Sydney Morning Herald]