Apple issuing refunds over 4G LTE iPads sold in Australia

Mar 29, 2012
Tech

Apple’s latest generation iPad doesn’t pack a whole lot that’s new compared to its predecessors, but the features that Apple did introduce with the third-generation device are a pretty big deal. The most interesting might be the inclusion of 4G LTE, which gives the tablet some pretty intense data speeds, except if your country doesn’t […]

Apple’s latest generation iPad doesn’t pack a whole lot that’s new compared to its predecessors, but the features that Apple did introduce with the third-generation device are a pretty big deal. The most interesting might be the inclusion of 4G LTE, which gives the tablet some pretty intense data speeds, except if your country doesn’t support 4G.

That’s the case in Australia, where iPad buyers are up in arms. Like in other countries, Apple advertised the new iPad as being capable of attaining 4G speeds, which are significantly faster than the existing capabilities of 3G cellular networks: a difference of 10 megabits per second compared to 1-2 Mbps.

Trouble is, despite advertising to buyers that they could get 4G LTE speeds on their new iPads, the tablet isn’t actually compatible with Australian 4G networks, according to a report from Australian tech site Delimiter. The iPad is configured to access 4G networks at specific frequencies: the 700 Megahertz and 2100Mhz spectrum bands. That’s where 4G networks in the U.S. and Canada, for example, are located. But in Australia, cellular carriers Telstra and Optus are working on 4G networks based on the 1800Mhz spectrum.

Delimiter says that the new iPad is faster than the last two, but the increase in speed isn’t because of a 4G LTE network, but rather the device’s support for HDSPA, which Telstra also offers. The lack of 4G has also resulted in one consumer action group to file a lawsuit against Apple. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission filed a suit alleging that Apple misrepresented the capabilities of the iPad to customers.

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In response, Apple has begun issuing refunds to buyers who felt they were misled, according to a story from The Verge. And the company has clarified its description of the iPad in its online store in Australia, making it more clear which networks the iPad can actually connect to – namely, those outside of the country – and making it easier for Australian buyers to understand they won’t be getting 4G speeds with the device.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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