27 Mar Apple’s 4G Woes with Australia’s 4G Network
Rave reviews about Apple’s next generation iPad are slowly being drowned out by a sudden flood of complaints of overheating, wi-fi troubles, charging issues and now misleading marketing practices.
The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) released a statement yesterday about misleading marketing practices Apple used for the new ipad, stating that it would “make an application to the Federal Court in Melbourne today at 9:30am for orders against Apple Pty Limited and Apple Inc (Apple) for alleged contraventions of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).” The ACCC will lodge an application to the Federal Court in Melbourne against Apple’s local subsidiary for contravening Australian Consumer Law
“The ACCC alleges that Apple’s recent promotion of the new “iPad with WiFi + 4G” 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.”
To utilise 4G on the new iPad, it requries 700MHz or 2100MHz spectrum. Unfortunately, Telstra’s 4G network (the only carrier in Australia with a 4G network) is 1800MHz. The confusion surrounding the iPad 4G capabilities in Australia is well founded when considering the below press releases from Apple. The first Press Release makes no mention of the incompatibility of the 4G LTE with Australian networks, while the second press release on launch of the new iPad in stores undergoes a subtle change.
First Press Release (8/03/12)
“iPad Wi-Fi + 4G with built-in next generation 4G LTE has the most comprehensive support for fast networks worldwide including HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA, and now both CDMA and GSM iPad users have the ability to easily roam internationally. The world-ready iPad delivers blazing download and upload speeds so web pages load incredibly quickly and email with large attachments can be sent and received easily. Personal Hotspot can be used to share the fast network connection on your iPad with up to 5 other devices using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or USB.”
Launch Press Release (15/03/12)
“iPad Wi-Fi + 4G for ultrafast 4G LTE networks in the US and Canada and fast 3G networks around the world including those based on HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA, will be available for a recommended retail price of AUD$679 inc GST for the 16GB model, AUD$789 inc GST for the 32GB model and AUD$899 inc. GST for the 64GB model. iPad will be sold through the Apple Store, Apple’s retail stores, and select Apple Authorised Resellers.”
The ACCC is seeking “urgent interlocutory relief to ensure consumers are made aware of the correct technical capabilities of this device” and wants the court to impose “injunctions, pecuniary penalties, corrective advertising and refunds to consumers affected.”
There is a silver lining, however, in that the iPad can run on Telstra’s HSPA+ dual channel technology (3.5G or 3G+), which Telstra has said provides typical download speeds that are up to twice as fast as 3G speeds available on other Australian networks. Not all hope is lost for avid Apple fans in Australia.
Apple have offered refunds to consumers who believe they have been misled. Apple’s barrister Paul Anastassiou told the court today that Apple was prepared to offer a refund to any customer who believed they had been misled by references to 4G. Mr Anastassiou also stated that Apple would not place corrective stickers on the packaging of the new iPads as it would be “cumbersome”, but it has offered to put corrective notices at the points of sale for the new tablet computer, saying that the product supports ultra-fast mobile broadband but is not compatible with Telstra’s 4G network. Mr Anastassiou has stated that Apple was also willing to email customers to say the device was not compatible with the Telstra 4G network.