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Australian Consumer Watchdog Alleges Apple Of Misleading 4G Claims

The ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission), Australia’s competition watchdog has just announced it will tomorrow seek orders against Apple for allegedly making misleading iPad “4G” claims in its marketing of the new iPad in Australia. It alleges that Apple’s 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.”

The ACCC is seeking urgent interlocutory relief to ensure consumers are made aware of the correct technical capabilities of this device. Additionally the ACCC is seeking final orders including injunctions, pecuniary penalties, corrective advertising and refunds to consumers affected.

It will tomorrow make an application to the Federal Court in Melbourne for orders against Apple for allegedly contravening Australian Consumer Law (ACL). It advises consumers who have purchased or are considering to purchase the new iPad to ensure “they have a proper understanding of the mobile data networks which this iPad can directly access by a SIM card”. There are 4G networks operating in Australia but none are currently compatible with the 4G bands that are supported in the new iPad. Unlike in the US, carriers in Australia have not blurred the line between 3G and 4G networks by calling HSDPA a “4G” network, so when 4G is used in marketing in Australia, it truly refers to the next generation of mobile networks such as LTE.

Australian mobile carriers  Telstra and Optus have already ceased using any 4G references in their promotion of the new iPad, whilst Apple continues to use the 4G terminology with only a small fine print below stating;

The iPad with Wi-Fi + 4G model can roam worldwide on fast GSM/UMTS networks, including HSPA, HSPA+, and DC-HSDPA. When you travel internationally, you can use a micro-SIM card from a local carrier. You can also connect to the 4G LTE networks of AT&T in the U.S. and Bell, Rogers, and Telus in Canada.

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