Here in the States, we’re usually fine with faux-G being called 4G. T-Mobile does it with its HSPA+ service, and AT&T called its HSPA+ 4G for a long time too before it rolled out LTE. But I guess people are more picky down under, where the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission had accused Apple of misleading the public with its iPad ads touting 4G service.
According to The Australian, the company has now agreed to pay approximately $2.21 million to make amends, despite the fact that Apple had already agreed to refund customers who thought they would get 4G LTE service with the new iPad.
See, the iPad’s LTE chip is only compatible with the 2100Mhz and 700Mhz bands. Though the 700Mhz band will be freed up for wireless devices around 2013, it’s currently tied up with television broadcasts. The only other option for 4G LTE service in Australia is Telstra, which runs on the 1800Mhz band, which the iPad can not access.
To be fair, Apple makes no mention of 4G LTE on its Australian site at this time, instead referencing “ultrafast wireless.” Though, it’s unclear if that’s been changed since meeting with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
Apple’s also facing a similar situation in Sweden, where a nearly identical story is playing out. The new iPad is being sold and advertised as a WiFi + 4G device despite the fact that it isn’t compatible with any of Sweden’s 4G LTE bands. Again, the 700Mhz band is used for television while the 2100Mhz band only serves up 3G wireless connectivity.
Of course, $2.2 million is pocket change for Apple, but it may force the company to rethink its international advertisements.