Friday, March 30, 2012

Apple offers refunds to Australians misled by "4G" iPad

This is good news. I've always been critical of using the term "4G" to describe tech that is certainly not 4G, even when it's done by carriers that I otherwise like. In this case, I have no issues with an LTE device being called 4G, even though it should technically be "3.9G", but since LTE bands are scattered all over the place, it is indeed misleading to call it 4G outside of the US.

However, I'd like to see Apple go a step further and clarify what frequencies it supports. As is, this will cause confusion in Japan because the term "LTE 2100 MHz" could result in people thinking the international unlocked version would be compatible with Docomo Xi LTE 2100 MHz (Band I) network.

It would appear that Apple is using "2100" to refer to LTE Band IV. The more correct term would be AWS (though Apple certainly isn't the only entity to call AWS "2100"). The below image is referring to 3G, but the bands are the same. For LTE, replace T-Mobile with AT&T. There is overlap on the downlink only.

Here is what the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is reporting is going to happen by April 5th (!)

Apple Pty Ltd provides undertaking in response to ACCC “iPad with WiFi + 4G” urgent application

The Federal Court has accepted an undertaking from Apple Pty Limited in response to an urgent application filed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) earlier today.

The ACCC has alleged that the promotion of the "iPad with WiFi + 4G" by Apple Pty Limited and Apple Inc is misleading because it represents to Australian consumers that the product "iPad with WiFi + 4G" can, with a SIM card, connect to a 4G mobile data network in Australia, when this is not the case.

Today Apple Pty Ltd provided an undertaking to the Federal Court that until further order or hearing, Apple Pty Limited would as soon as is reasonably practicable and by no later than 5 April 2012:
  • display a statement that the “This product supports very fast cellular networks. It is not compatible with current Australian 4G LTE networks and WiMAX Networks” in its promotional materials, on its website and online store
  • distribute signage with the same wording to resellers to be displayed at points of sale
  • contact by email any persons for whom Apple Pty Limited has an email address and who have purchased the “iPad with WiFI + 4G” between 16 March and 28 March 2012 (including pre-orders prior to 16 March 2012) including statements to the effect that “This product supports very fast cellular networks. It is not compatible with current Australian 4G LTE networks and WiMAX Networks” and that such persons are entitled to return the product and request a refund within a timeframe specified in the email.
A directions hearing has been scheduled for 16 April 2012 at 9:30am. A mediation has been ordered for 18 April 2012. A hearing on liability has been set down commencing 2 May 2012.

Release # NR 059/12
Issued: 28th March 2012

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