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Apple defends definition of '4G' for Australian iPad

updated 03:05 pm EDT, Thu April 19, 2012

Claims 3G networks technically fit 4G definition

Apple has filed a defense with Australia's Federal Court, contesting an argument by the country's Competition and Consumer Commission that the third-gen iPad shouldn't be marketed as 4G in the country. While the tablet does support LTE 4G, it is currently only compatible with LTE networks in Canada and the US. Apple suggests that 3G networks run by Australian carriers Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone are "4G networks in accordance with accepted industry and regulatory use of the descriptor '4G.'

"The descriptor '4G'...conveys to consumers in Australia that the iPad with WiFi + 4G will deliver a superior level of service in terms of data transfer speed (consistent with accepted industry and regulatory use of that term), and not that the iPad with WiFi + 4G is compatible with any particular network technology promoted by a particular mobile service provider in Australia," Apple claims. The company nevertheless adds that "There was at all material times information widely published in Australia which informed consumers that the iPad with WiFi + 4G was not compatible with Telstra's 4G LTE network."

Apple has in fact been giving out refunds to people who feel they may have been duped into thinking the new iPad could connect to Telstra's LTE network. At the root of the problem is that Telstra uses 1,800MHz for LTE, but the iPad only supports 700MHz or 2,100MHz. In Australia those frequencies are occupied by TV and 3G traffic.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jan 2007


    On the one hand,

    I agree that the name is confusing for countries that use different frequencies that the iPad was designed for, and in the future, Apple is going to have to name products more generally, than specifically. The result of this naming choice is that it does not increase "customer delight."

    On the other hand, the marketing in Australia was pretty specific about the 4G capability there. I wouldn't change the name of a shipping product because people ignored the information that was readily available to them pre-sales.

  1. moniker

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2011



    Australia, Europe, Asia... most of the world use the same frequencies, except for the USA and Canada. 3G (UMTS) almost always run on 2.1 GHz (the frequency it was originally designed to run on) and LTE usually run on part of the 1.8 GHz frequency band, which has so far been used for GSM. Kind of strange that Apple decided to ignore 75% of the market by not supporting standard frequency bands.

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