Apple is offering Australian customers a refund on their new iPads, having been slapped down by the country's consumer watchdog for misleading consumers about the 4G capabilities of the device.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission took Apple to court over the sale of new iPads which were advertised as “with Wi-Fi + 4G”, because the devices cannot connect to Australian 4G networks.
The Federal Court subsequently accepted Apple's undertaking that it will email any Australians that bought a new iPad explaining that the device cannot connect via 4G, and offer any disgruntled customers a refund.
While the new iPad supports 4G connections in the US, these operate on the 700MHz or 2.1GHz frequencies.
In Australia, Telstra operates a 4G network which uses the 1800MHz frequency and rival operator Vividwireless runs a WiMax-based system at the 2.3GHz frequency.
Apple has agreed to adjust its promotional material, to include the statement: “This product supports very fast cellular networks. It is not compatible with current Australian 4G LTE networks and WiMax networks.”
According to the BBC, Apple's lawyers denied misleading consumers, arguing in court that the new iPad works with what is recognised as a 4G network, but had never claimed to work will all 4G networks.
Consumers in the UK will face similar issues when 4G services eventually roll out here.
Ofcom is currently embroiled in a cat fight over whether to allow Everything Everywhere to use its 1800MHz spectrum for 4G services. Meanwhile, it plans to auction off licences for spectrum in the 800Mhz and 2.6Ghz frequencies at some point in the near future.
But the new iPad would not be compatible with any of services. Nevertheless, by the time the UK has caught up in 4G deployment, there could be another new model of iPad on sale.
Apple had not responded to requests for comment at the time of publishing.
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