The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) took Apple to the Federal Court in Melbourne on 28 March, saying that the 4G label should not be used because latest iPad is not compatible with Australia’s sole 4G network, which is run by Telstra.
However, The Australian reports that, in a defence filed this week, Apple says it believes the 3G networks run by Telstra, Optus and Vodafone “are 4G networks in accordance with accepted industry and regulatory use of the descriptor ’4G’ “.
Apple went on to say: “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.”
Previously, Apple has agreed to some but not all of the ACCC’s remedies, saying it would refund unhappy third-generation iPad customers and display an advisory in stores and promotional material reading, “This product supports very fast cellular networks. It is not compatible with current Australian 4G LTE networks and WiMAX Networks.”
While Telstra does have an LTE (Long Term Evolution) network in place, and the other telcos are actively working towards one, Australians can’t use the 700MHz and 2100MHz bands that Apple uses in the new iPad. The former is used for analogue TV broadcasts in Australia and the latter is allocated to 3G. The 700MHz band is to be auctioned off towards the end of this year, and telcos will have access to it after analogue TV is switched off at the end of 2014.
ZDNet.com.au reports that “the HSPA+ service that is available on 3G networks in Australia could be classed as 4G, and has been marketed as such by T-Mobile in the US. But just because one company is marketing it that way doesn’t necessarily mean that there is industry consensus on what 4G is.
“3 Mobile in the UK, for example, was much more reserved when it announced an HSPA+ upgrade earlier this year. The company specifically stated that this upgrade wasn’t ’4G’, but more like leading-edge 3G.”
Other countries, including Sweden and Britain, are also investigating misleading advertising claims, as the latest iPad does not work with the 4G networks in those countries.