Feeds

back to article Oz regulator to Apple: Don’t call it 4G if you can’t connect

As with most jurisdictions that aren’t America, Apple’s new iPad, which is only associated with the number “4” as in “4G”, can’t connect to 4G networks in Australia. That’s disturbed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which is taking Apple to court over the issue. The ACCC, appointed enforcer of Australia …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Silver badge

::heh::

Consumers v.s. regulators. Fun times all 'round :-)

(Idiots, the lot of 'em, but who am I to quibble?)

0
0
g e
Silver badge
Facepalm

Quibbling with semantics

If indeed, there's no such thing as a real 4G network then WTF is it doing in the description anyway?

Come, come, Mr. Bond, surely you don't expect me to believe you have a functioning 4G network...

5
1
Boffin

Re: Quibbling with semantics

Marketing weenies trying to sell phones aside, 4G is:

100Mbs - mobile

1Gbs - fixed

So the best that could be done is calling it 3.5 through 3.9G networks as they improve on 3G speeds until they FINALLY make it to 4G.

I think we're about to see regulators in multiple countries start coming down on the telecom industry for false advertising.

1
0
Silver badge
IT Angle

Re: Quibbling with semantics

Its the ITU who define what is or isn't 4G. Their original spec was 100Mbit/1Gbit, but they relaxed that to include both LTE and HSPA+ (previously only LTE Advanced qualified, and no-one has that yet)

http://www.intomobile.com/2010/12/18/itu-reverses-its-decision-lte-wimax-and-hspa-are-now-4g

The Australians have a 41Mbit HSPA+ network, and that qualifies under the new definition.

2
1
FAIL

Re: Quibbling with semantics

The obvious problem is what handset manufacturers and operators will call 4G when it really arrives in the shops and how they will differentiate it from what, by that time, they will have been selling for a few years...

4G+

Genuine-4G

4G-for-real-this-time

4G-better-than-those-other-guy's-4G

5G?

It will all end in tears. Perhaps it was a mistake to make the jump between 3G and 4G quite so large in the first place, but for sure the relaxation of the definition by ITU is just postponing the problem to later.

2
0
Silver badge

Re: Quibbling with semantics

@Steve Todd, I agree. What's more, this clearly shows that regulators should stick to what they understand as Apple's lawyers will have the case laughed out of court on that basis. Perhaps the ACCC should stick to what it does best i.e. investigating and finding that there is nothing untoward with a supermarket duopoly controlling over 70% of the food market and a similar amount of the booze market. Toothless twats thought they had a slam dunk.

1
0

And more than that...

> The Australians have a 41Mbit HSPA+ network, and that qualifies under the new definition.

Except that it's not marketed that way. 4G quite unequivocally means LTE in the Australian market. No carrier calls HSPA+ 4G. It's an evolution of 3G. LTE is a different technology (which is why I'm surprised the ITU didn't just go with that - it's a new generation of technology, hence a new G - DC-HSPA is just HSPA twice at the same time).

But, regardless, in Oz, 4G = LTE. There's only one such network, Telstra's and it's on 1800MHz and so the iPad can't do it. And even when the 700MHz spectrum is released in 2013, it won't be the same frequencies AT&T and Verizon (and hence the iPad) use.

Many retailers (eg JB HiFi) have taken to putting disclaimer cards up around the iPads in their store to highlight to customers that it's not a 4G device in that sense.

The Trade Practices Act talks about "false or misleading". It's not about what 4G technically is. It's about whether a reasonable person would be misled into believing that a New iPad can connect to the 4G network. Personal opinio - I'm surprised the ACCC took so long.

0
0
Bronze badge
Flame

Re: And more than that...

> And even when the 700MHz spectrum is released in 2013, it won't be the same frequencies

> AT&T and Verizon (and hence the iPad) use.

Theoretically tho, it will be compatible if the 700MHz frequency is used for LTE. If they chose to use it for other technologies however...

Better than Asia I guess. 1.8GHz and 2.6GHz (900MHz repurposed for 3G, woe be upon those who bought cheapo 2G-only China phones). No 700MHz LTE in sight, no possibility of using a LTE 4G network with an iPad.

The world should for once just freaking standardize itself and assign one single band that is used in every single country. Less headaches that way.

0
0

Re: And more than that...

> Theoretically tho, it will be compatible if the 700MHz frequency is used for LTE. If they chose to use it for other technologies however...

NO. There are multiple UMTS bands in the 700MHz range. AT&T uses one. Verizon uses a different one (classes 12 & 17 I think). The 700MHz frequencies that will be released by the so called "Digital Dividend" after TV stations are "restacked" (if 2013 I believe) will not be in those classes. They're in another one. So even after the Oz Govt releases 700MHz and the carriers deploy networks in those bands, this iPad will still NOT work on those LTE networks.

0
0
IT Angle

Re: Quibbling with semantics

@Steve Todd

Unless I'm mistaken (and lets face it, its possible) - the standard is still 100Mbit/1Gbit to be considered "proper" 4G. The ITU decided to allow the 4G moniker to be allowed to be used for marketing purposes though for technologies that were on their way to "getting there", but does the ITU's marketing decision have legal standing in individual countries when it violates the actual ITU 4G standard? Sounds like shaky legal ground. Trade Regulators in individual countries could still claim false advertising *if* the ITU didn't actually LOWER the standard to 42Mbs downloads which is what Tmobile and Verizon in the US have currently.

Sprint was the first in the US to pull this bone head as a marketing scam. Who knew it would get so out of hand? What I do have to question is why regulators are just now seizing on this regarding Apple? I'm not exactly an Apple lover, in fact the opposite, but why pick on them now? Why didn't they go after the EVO4G, iPhone4 (coming after the 3G without proper disclaimers) and all the other "4G" stuff ages ago?

0
0
Mushroom

Apple lost all sense of product naming when they named their second-generation iPhone 3G.

OK, it indicated an available connection type, but the obviously didn't try having to explain that to anyone non-technical.

The same trick again of mixing up generations of models and radios does suck. And the ACC are right to hit them for it.

1
0
FAIL

Apple shouldn't be allowed to advertise the phone as 4G in the UK when there is no 4G network.

That's akin to car manufacturers advertising that their cars can reach speeds over 150mph, when there's no-where you can drive at that speed.

5
11
Silver badge

Totally agree with you here!

I am fuming that Apple are selling a 4G iPad which can't actually use 4G!

2
0
Gold badge
FAIL

"Apple shouldn't be allowed to advertise the phone as 4G in the UK when there is no 4G network."

Agreed on that point.

"That's akin to car manufacturers advertising that their cars can reach speeds over 150mph, when there's no-where you can drive at that speed.

Now you've gone and lost me. There are plenty of places where you can go at the weekend (or week) to drive at those speeds. It would be like me saying that there are no places to buy bras in England 'cause I've never gone and brought one.

The other issue is that if a car is only capable of 70mph, then it will probably take 10 minutes to reach that speed, and won't be able to hold it going up hills. It's breaking systems could also be on the limit at that speed and so may not be the safest thing to be in. Plus it means that it will be ragging it's guts out if you drive at the motorway speed limit meaning it's life will be severly limited.

Advertising that the car can safely travel at 150mph means that there is sufficient margin for it to be able to accelerate to 70mph on the sliproad, can still drive up hills and will cruise at that speed without causing your ears to bleed, and be able to stop quickly enough from 70mph to stop you becoming a statistic.

15
0
Headmaster

Of course you can drive at 150mph

The fact that it is not legal does not prevent the car from physically reaching that speed.

It's more along the lines of stating pi=3 - only barely approximate in the loosest sense of the word.

1
0
Silver badge
FAIL

"There's nowhere you can drive at that speed"

Of course there is. Speed limits only apply to public thoroughfares.

Also, to be fair to Apple - since they actually aren't in the wrong this time - their in-store advertising for the 4G iPad states clearly and visibly that its 4G functionality will only work on certain US networks. They are not trying to missell it.

0
8

This post has been deleted by its author

WTF?

why? just why?

Why are you fuming about it? Why not just buy an iPad 2, which only has 3G advertised and save yourself a brain aneurysm. Or even better, give your money to someone like Asus for their frankly much better Transformer Prime and stop raging over some shitty rehashed product.

5
2
Boffin

Re: Car manufacturer advertising

No, it's more like a car manufacturer advertising that their latest model is fitted with warp drive or a flux capacitor.

The technology literally doesn't exist yet.

3
0
Bronze badge
Windows

Re: "There's nowhere you can drive at that speed"

Silverstone would prove your point.

Unless, natch, there's a cop in the pit lane eating do'nuts....

0
1
Coat

That's akin to car manufacturers advertising that their cars can reach speeds over 150mph...

No it's more akin to telcos advertising unlimited data plans... oh wait.

0
0
Silver badge

"Apple shouldn't be allowed to advertise the phone as 4G in the UK when there is no 4G network."

So, they make a device which is capable of working on the ITU 4G definition as it currently stands and just because no telco in your country can provide a 4G network because your Government hasn't got its finger out of its arse and sold the spectrum they shouldn't be able to advertise that it is 4G capable? What planet do you live on?

0
2
Megaphone

But, you can ...

... in a country that has a 4G network.

Apple has already included a notice to customers who bought a new iPad in Australia that it is not compatible with any 4G networks that exist.

See: http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/iPad-3-4G-Teardown/8277/1?revisionid=HED

And just the same, you can take your car to Germany and drive on parts of the autobahn and reach well in excess of 230km/h.

I dont want to sound like a fanboi, but Apple are just advertising the devices capabilities, just like a car manufacturer asvertises that a car is capable of Xkm/h. It can do what it says, you just have to use it in the right environment - whether you happen to live in that environment is beside the point, you have to make sure you understand what you can do with any given device in your area. Otherwise, car manufacturers would have to advertise that a car is only capable of the maximum speed limit, which is just plain silly when it can do much more, just because you happen to live in an area which has enforced speed limits. How often do your hear of consumer outrage towards car manufacturers because their local roads are sign posted below the top speed of a car!?

So you buy an iPad that has 4G capabilities, but there are no 4G networks in your area? Thats not Apples fault. Blame your network operators. If you bought the device assuming you would get 4G speeds, thats your problem for not researching it properly. But lucky for these people, the Gov is there to protect them ... from their own stupidity.

Granted, these companies do use certain details as selling points for their wares, but unfortunately there is that percentage of the market that cant, wont, or dont educate themselves appropriately before making a purchase that inevitably leads to these kind of regulatory interventions, which really arent necessary and only serve to make it look like a company has done something dodgy when really they havent.

And they say the consumer is always right. I really loathe that saying...

0
2
bep

Re: But, you can ...

For someone who doesn't want to sound like a fanboi, you sure sound like a fanboi. Apple is selling this product in Australia to Australian consumers to use in Australia. It is advertising it as a 4G device, which in Australia, it isn't. If someone builds a 4G network that is compatible with the iPad then they can change the advertising at that time to reflect that change. In the meantime, they should be selling what it can do in Australia, not in California or Kazakhstan. All the car analogies are completely broken.

0
0
Silver badge

Doesn't bother me any.

But then, I live in the USA, where everybody sells 4G and nobody delivers it, so I'm use to not believing it.

0
1
Silver badge

Re: But, you can ...

Frankly, if there aren't any real 4G networks, you can't test the device to ensure it does communicate at 4G, so they shouldn't be advertising it that way anyhow.

Everything else is arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

@ Tom

* USED to

0
0
Silver badge
Paris Hilton

How things change

Funny how back in October Schiller was keen to avoid the 4G label for the iPhone 4S as there was no consensus on what 4G was and Apple didn't want to get bogged down in that debate.

Skip forward 6 months and it's suddenly sure of what 4G is, made it a key feature of the iPad and wants to sell it in countries where it matters not a jot.

One could almost begin to be cynical about this stuff..

5
0
Silver badge
FAIL

I'd be satisfied

If I could see a functioning 3G network. My phone was sold to me as a 3G phone, but I've never been able to actually get a 3G connection on it. What's up with that?

2
0
Silver badge
Boffin

Re: I'd be satisfied

Well, assuming you're in a 3G network I'd be suspicious you're carrying a very old SIM. Not many people realise that you do need a specific 3G SIM as the older ones didn't permit the functionality. Though if you got the SIM card in the last 4-5 years you're probably just in a not-spot, but worth checking with your provider.

3
0
Silver badge
FAIL

Re: I'd be satisfied

The phone is only a year old, on contract. I probably suffer from the problem of not ever going anywhere near a 3G mast.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: I'd be satisfied

I didn't mention the age of the phone :-) If it was the same provider you would have just swapped in the SIM from the old phone - it's that which usually inhibits 3G - it usually has "3G" written on the card itself, so worth checking out.

1
0
Silver badge

@Annihilator: If he's a 'Merkin like me

it has nothing to do with the phone or SIM and everything to do with our spotty network. The phone I have is an Android advertised for 4G. On my daily train commute there are multiple places where I lose all phone signal and I've never seen a working 4G on that ride*. And I live in a major metropolitan area, not out in the boonies. In fact you might have heard of it:: the Washington DC beltway area.

*I have seen one once at a hotel where I was attending a conference, so presumably it works. Or at least I thought it indicated I was connected to one.

0
0
Headmaster

Heh

Like the random Godley and Creme reference, although of course that was New York and not Australia...

0
0

Re: Heh

...and about an Englishman. But I agree - made me smile

0
0

Hardly Apple's fault

Perhaps 4G* compatible would be a better description? After all, it's not Apple's fault that wireless providers lack the infrastructure to provide that service.

*Not that we know what this is.

0
2
WTF?

The Powers That Be have allowed LTE to be called 4G even though it isn't really.

Apple are selling 4G units in territories where they know the chip cannot connect to existing or proposed networks. They market it as having Ultra Fast internet access, it is reasonable for the lay person to assume that this is in reference to the 4g element. It is also reasonable for that person to assume that it will connect to 4G networks in their territory.

Apple decided to use two different 4G chips, supporting frequencies only used in N America. Fair enough that's their choice. However outside the USA, rather than saying 4G is not supported by all carriers they should be honest and warn customers that to enjoy 4G they will have to fly across the Atlantic and purchase a suitable sim.

They knew that calling it the new iPad wifi + 4G would result in confusion, sadly they also realised that it would lead to more sales.

To the best of my knowledge no other maker has had the front to marketed devices as 4G in areas where frequencies are incompatible.

3
0
Silver badge

>The Powers That Be have allowed LTE to be called 4G even though it isn't

Some powers. In some places. Perhaps.

1
1

@Robert E A Harvey

2nd gen "almost 4g" LTE hasn't even deployed yet. It will take a while to actually get to 4G.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Weasel Words

Cue some weasel words in the advertising. 4G ready or some other meaningless text.

Do the Australians not go to the USA ? There seem to be millions of them in London. You can buy a device and travel with it - it is therefore a 4G device, just not in some parts of the world. The iPad is a portable device, not like a TV, so this is a reasonable scenario.

0
8
Silver badge

Re: Weasel Words

http://mee.bo/maxj4X

'Guess what doesn't mean "Goodness"'

3
0

This post has been deleted by its author

Flame

However, that doesn't stop Telstra from promoting its so-called 4G with impunity, does it?

"Would it be quibbling for El Reg to note that since there’s no such thing as a genuine “4G” network, in the absence of any genuine “4G” standard? Or would that sound like we’re letting Apple off the hook?"

However, that doesn't stop Telstra from promoting its so-called 4G, moreover it continues to do so in the absence of any real service--pinpoint pockets on a map DO NOT constitute a service, 4G-beta or otherwise!

Funny that, whilst the ACCC has the temerity to take on the Cult of Cupertino, it doesn't have the guts to take on Telstra.

(When you're Telstra you can scare the shit out of politicians, be a monopolistic brat, treat customers with utter contempt, and be a general all-round lack-off-service carpetbagger because you know that many of your shareholders are the little mums and dads of Australia--those who were conned by governments of both persuasions to buy Telstra shares during their nasty, grubby grab for money by their sell-off of public assets that took more than 130 years to build up.)

4
0
Anonymous Coward

The ASA are investigating already!

I was about to send them a complaint, BUT I found others already had, and since another complaint is pointless (number of complaints mean nothing, just if they broke the code) I won't...

I look forward to apple being sued and iPads needing to be re-named/withdrawn from sale...

Oh and a certain large store actually told me the ipad is ready for uk 4g networks!!!!

0
0
Anonymous Coward

"That's akin to car manufacturers advertising that their cars can reach speeds over 150mph, when there's no-where you can drive at that speed."

Ok so I demand a refund on every car I have ever bought that claimed a top speed in excess of 70mph on the grounds that it is not legal to drive on the public roads at that speed?

Loads of people already sell '3G' phones that will not connect to all 3G frequencies used worldwide - 4G is no different.

1
0
Silver badge

It is different, my car can do around 140mph, and I can take it to a track in the UK and do it...

IF I buy a 3G phone, it will work in the country I buy it, I don't expect it to work over all different countries unless specifically brought for that, BUT if I buy a 4G device and a contract for it, I expect it to have 4G available..

The fact is the 4G device isn't even 4G really... Its a bit of a fraud.. its 3.5G at most...

0
0
Facepalm

How?

How can we be so sure that LTE *isn't* 4G? What are the criteria for deciding if something is the next generation of comms? And if no standard has been agreed, how can we definitively say that LTE isn't it?

0
1
Silver badge

Re: How?

Well, originally there WAS a minimum standard: sustained transfer rates of over 100Mbit/sec to a mobile device (and 1Gbit/sec to a stationary one). LTE Advanced is the closest thing there is to it, but it's still a few years out and also starved for spectrum (there's only so much data you can send wirelessly, no matter which technique you use--it's physics that's limiting you). The good news is that you can convert LTE towers to LTE Advanced towers with only relatively-minor refitting (this is one reason for the LTE push now--looking ahead). The bad news is that the phones also need to be redone, which makes carriers reluctant to move too quickly. But people are already butting up against the limits of HSPA and are creating a demand for something better. LTE isn't much better than HSPA, but with pent-up demand and no alternatives, the ITU (THIS is the body that originally set the generational definitions) realized they set the 4G bar too high (no one would be able to make the goal anytime soon) so moved the goal posts. What was once 4G will likely become 5G, once LTE becomes more entrenched and the transition from there to LTE Advanced can then begin.

3
0
Thumb Down

Re: How?

Thumbs down for asking a question?! HARSH.

0
0
FAIL

Connection is a big issue but so is the fact that the agreed speeds for 4G have been totally ignored by the whole industry and seemingly now anything "a bit faster than 3G" can call itself 4G.

0
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.