Australia Fines Apple $2 Million Over ‘Misleading’ 4G iPad
Apple’s efforts to brand its new iPad as 4G in regions where the device cannot actually access 4G speeds will cost Cupertino about $2 million.
As reported by The Australian, Apple was ordered by an Australian Federal Court to pay approximately $2 million for misleading the public about the new iPad’s capabilities.
The fine was handed down thanks to a complaint filed by the Australian Competition Consumer Commission (ACCC).
The new iPad is not compatible with existing Australian 4G LTE and WiMax networks and therefore defaults to 3G speeds. The 4G LTE networks available in Australia operate on the 1800MHz frequency, while the iPad’s 4G LTE feature operates on the 700MHz and 2100MHz frequencies. That 700-MHz band is still in use by analog TV stations in Australia.
In late March, the ACCC and Apple reached an agreement whereby Apple would provide refunds to those new iPad buyers who were not satisfied with their tablet’s speed. The ACCC also wanted Apple to remove the “4G” designation on the new iPad, a move that Apple initially resisted.
In defending itself, Apple argued that 3G service in Australia is basically on par with 4G. Australian providers like Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone “are 4G networks in accordance with accepted industry and regulatory use of the descriptor ’4G,’” according to Apple.
The debate over what constitutes 4G has been a point of contention among those in the telecom space for some time. U.S. providers like T-Mobile have been marketing their service as 4G when they in fact have a souped-up version of 3G known as HSPA+. It’s faster than 3G, but does not quite get the same performance as a full-blown 4G LTE network, like the ones currently being rolled out by Verizon and ATT in the states.
Apple said access to HSPA+ networks in Australia was enough to warrant the 4G designation on its new iPad there.
By mid-May, however, Apple dropped the “4G” moniker from its new iPad in countries where the tablet does not actually run on 4G networks. The U.S. iPad website also switched to “Wi-Fi + Cellular,” likely because Verizon and ATT are still in the process of rolling out their 4G LTE networks.
The U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is also investigating the issue.
For more, see PCMag’s full review of the new iPad and the slideshow below.
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Article source: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2405511,00.asp