It seems that the confusion over the new iPads LTE compatibility that I discussed on its release day has peeved some Australians so much, that Apple is offering refunds to anyone who felt they were misled into buying a ‘4g iPad.
In fact, the Australian competition watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), will actually be filing an application with the country’s Federal Court to seek, ““injunctions, pecuniary penalties, corrective advertising and refunds to consumers affected”.
Wow, those are some seriously peeved consumers.
So who is at fault? Apple is perfectly entitled to call the iPad with LTE the 4G iPad, but it’s clear that it needed to do a better job in communicating the small print that not all 4G is created equal. As it says on the iPad features page, “4G LTE is supported only on AT&T and Verizon networks in the US, and on Bell, Rogers and Telus networks in Canada.” The problem is that it’s in tiny writing down at the bottom that I imagine would be hard to spot even on the ‘resolutionary’ new iPad display.
It’s clearly even more of an issue in Australia at down under they have an actual commercial LTE network deployment from Telstra. However, this uses 1800MHz for its LTE, which is not supported by the iPad 4G, which operates on 700MHz and 2100MHZ LTE network only. It’s not hard then to imagine that many punters would have bought one specifically for its 4G compatibility, only to be disappointed when they realised they’d been ‘had’.
Apple would have done well to have made that clearer and to talk up its actually quite impressive 3G capabilities more. After all, the chipset inside supports HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA, which can reach some pretty impressive theoretical top speeds. HSPA+ is currently being rolled out across the UK by all the networks and though is somewhat patchwork at the moment by the end of the year is should be much more widespread so if you’ve bought an iPad 4g and are feeling glum about the lack of LTE, the don’t – you’ll still, to some extent, ‘get the benefit’ as my Grandma used to say.
As we in the industry know, these technologies are technically evolutions of 3G, but that hasn’t stopped them being marketed by AT&T and T-Mobile in the US at 4G. Then again everything is 4G in the US, LTE, DS-HSPA, HSPA+, WiMAX, and two cans and on some rural networks, two cans and a piece of string. (That is an actual FACT).
That said, if anyone does feel strongly about it in the UK, they can direct their ire at the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). Not that I’m stirring or anything.
Tilak Tejaswini, the global head of carrier services for Telstra International Singapore will be speaking at the LTE Asia summit in September, though if you can’t wait till then, the iPad 4G topic is sure to crop up at the LTE World Summit, taking place in May in sunny Barcelona.