News by Dan Seifert on Tuesday May 01, 2012.
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Apple is already on the radar of advertising watchdogs in Australia and is facing a lawsuit in Sweden concerning its claims of 4G service on the new iPad. Now, it looks like it will see the same scrutiny from regulators in the UK. The BBC reports that the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in the UK has expanded its investigation into whether or not Apple has the right to claim that the iPad has 4G support.
The new iPad does indeed feature 4G LTE support - in North America, that is. In other markets, it is limited to HSPA+ service, as its LTE chipsets are not compatible with the LTE networks available outside of North America. Or, as in the case of the UK, there aren't even any LTE networks to use at the moment.
That hasn't stopped Apple from slapping 4G stickers all over its iPad packaging and advertising materials. Consequently, the ASA has received numerous complaints from customers on the matter. Apple has already adjusted its advertising of the new iPad to address some of the complaints, but it doesn't seem that all customers are satisfied. On Apple's website, UK customers are invited to purchase a "Wi-Fi + 4G" version of the iPad, despite a small disclaimer that says that 4G LTE service isn't available in the UK. The ASA says that it plans to investigate the new complaints.
The UK is due to have 4G LTE service by next year, but, even then, the iPad's current configuration will not work with its new networks. It is only compatible with the LTE networks currently found in the U.S. and Canada.
In Australia, where Telstra has a functioning 4G LTE network, consumers are already dealing with this issue since Telstra's flavor of LTE is not compatible with the new iPad. Apple's response so far has been to say that the HSPA+ network speeds that the new iPad does support in Australia are fast enough to count as 4G service, even though they have been considered 3G until now. This position is reflective of the less-than-clear definition of 4G in the U.S., where carriers have arbitrarily tagged their services as 4G just because they are now faster than they were before. Apple is not immune to this muddying of the waters, as it updated the AT&T version of the iPhone 4S to display a 4G indicator where it used to say 3G, even though the network technology had not changed.
Despite its argument over the definition of 4G, Apple has offered refunds to Australians that aren't satisfied with the performance of the new iPad. It has not said whether or not it will do the same in other markets, such as the UK.via: PC Mag
Dan is MobileBurn.com's Editor-in-Chief. Based in Poughkeepsie in New York, Dan can be found on Twitter as @DCSeifert.