Apple to shell out millions for Australian 4G iPad controversy

Apple had gotten itself involved in a major legal tangle thanks to it referring to the new third generation iPad as being WiFi + 4G in all its marketing material. The fact is that the iPad is compatible only with 4G (LTE) networks based in North America. Apple’s overlooking of this crucial point in its promotional efforts was deemed to be a deliberate attempt at misleading Australian customers by Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Apple has agreed to pay settlement fees amounting to $2.25 million in order to close the ACCC’s case against in an Australian Federal Court. Although the Federal judge is yet to pronounce any verdict on the amount of the settlement itself, it will probably bring Apple’s lengthy false marketing saga Down Under to an end.

Apple will have to pay the entire $2.25 million to the Australian consumer watchdog, but it will also have to shell out an additional $300,000 to the Federal Court in order to cover the ACCC’s legal expenses.

4G/LTE network coverage has been spreading quite rapidly in North America, but in the rest of the world, it is a wholly different story. Few countries have the requisite infrastructure to implement the high speed network that is LTE, and though Australia is one of them, 4G has been phased in very slowly there. Moreover, its required baseband spectrum is different from the one used in North America. This means that even if 4G becomes widespread in Australia, the erstwhile ‘4G’ iPad will continue to be incompatible with the networks there, and will run at 3G speeds at best.


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