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back to article Apple drops '4G' label from new iPad

Apple has stopped using the term “4G” to describe the new iPad in the UK and Australia, after regulators took it to task for doing so because the device would not work with what carriers call 4G in both nations. In the UK the company now says the fondleslab works with “fast mobile data networks”, as you can see in the screen …

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Happy

Fast network?

I see O2 on there...so "fast networks" might still constitute false advertising.

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Anonymous Coward

confusion my ass

They claimed it did something in a place where it blatently doesn't.

This is the worlds biggest company, they should have got their ass handed to them on a plate for this 'confusion'.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: confusion my ass

Before handing them their arse someone needs to hand the arse on a plate to the GSM association and 3GPP for coining the term in the first place.

The tech is called LTE. Tickbox "Supports LTE "Yes/No/Think Different".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: confusion my ass

GSMA and the ITU didn't go around calling 3G-LTE "4G". That plate of ass should be delivered to Verizon, AT&T and Apple.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: confusion my ass

LTE is not the only '4G' technology - HSPA+ is considered a 4G network and the UK and Australia both have 4G networks.

Realistically it makes no difference to Apple - it's not as if anyone in the UK (apart from a few local trials) can get LTE so HSPA+ is probably our best hope for faster speeds in the short term.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: confusion my ass

Let me correct that for you -

"HSPA+ is incorrectly considered, by marketing departments, a 4G network and the UK and Australia both have 4G HSPA+ networks."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: confusion my ass

I'm guessing it no longer matters. Enough brainwashed punters have already bought one, or think it does 4G, the message is out there, and it doesn't matter.

A few "greasing" facilitation payments should sort the matter out...

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Re: confusion my ass

"the UK and Australia both have 4G HSPA+ networks."

Actually Australia does have 4G (LTE) networks (1 is commercially operating, 1 in testing/rollout). HSPA+ is marketed as 3G in Oz.

Apple got spanked because the new ipad has LTE radios, but they are incompatible with both 4G(LTE) networks in this country, which makes a pretty open and shut case that the device cannot be advertised as 4G.

Apple tried to get away with it over here for the launch I think because the week before the new ipad was released Samsung released a 4G Galaxy Tab (which is compatible with Oz's 4G networks).

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Devil

Of Course, it's that damn confusing 4G terminology

Of course, blame 4G. Apple, being such a tiny mob, don't have anywhere near the resources to test EVERY network, even the one's it touts, to see if it works properly. Surely Apple aren't trying one on? Would they? Could they?

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Devil

Re: PIFFFT

Big Dumb Guy 555 lives down to his name.

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Happy

Re: PIFFFT

I love Big Dumb Guy 555 - he's my fave comentard! And he's also named after my fave integrated circuit!

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Headmaster

Re: PIFFFT

Big dumb guy obviously skipped his english classes too many times...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: PIFFFT

Yeah... if that's what you want to believe. Calling your mum to see what's for tea does not really interest Greeks or terrorists - unless...?

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WTF?

Wired connection with an iPad???????

surely a major obstacle...

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FAIL

Re: PIFFFT

Erm, so your worried about a Greek Terroist attempting to intercept your calls on a GSM network.

You don't happen to be wearing a tin foil hat, do you?

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Re: PIFFFT

B1FF? Is that you?

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Under ITU technical guidelines, 4G is LTE Advanced. Only Japan has properly deployed this.

So the iPad doesn't support 4G. Telstra's "4G" network is not 4G either.

However, the ITU conceded that HSPA+ and LTE can be marketed as "4G Technologies".

Telstra's "4G" network meets these guidelines, so does their NextG HSPA+ network.

The iPad supports HSPA+ in Australia. Therefore, it supports "4G Technology".

It's a confusing mess. All caused by telcos jumping the gun with their 4G labelling. However, one thing is certain. If Telstra can call their LTE network "4G", Apple should be able to call their HSPA+ compatible product "4G".

In the end, the ACCC ruled that Apple was acting deceptively. They should now rule the same about Telstra's "4G" network. If Apple's iPad isn't 4G, there is no way Telstra's "4G" network is.

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@marlor

Since 4G is an acceptable moniker for an LTE network, I'm not sure how Telstra can be faulted. They have an existing DC-HSPA+ network which is marketed as 3G and called NextG. They then launched a new network based on a completely different wireless encoding technology (OFDM instead of CDMA) and, in line with the ITU recommendations at the time, called it 4G. It's more reasonable than all the silly 3.625G nonsense that has gone on elsewhere. The ACCC would have nothing to complain about. Telstra are creating the market in this case.

Once that market is created and terms become accepted within a market and a society, people start to place meaning in them. So, the consumer in Australia knows that Telstra, Voda & Optus have 3G, HSPA (of various flavour) networks which all have something technologically in common. And then they know there's something new and different with a different name.

Then Apple comes along to introduce itself into the ecosystem (in the same way Telstra came along post-ITU relaxation on terminology) and makes a claim that is not correct within the market & ecosystem into which they're introducing their technology. They could have said it supported networks around the world which were called 4G. But they didn't. They said it did 4G. And they put it on shelves next to other devices which said they supported 4G in the context of there being only one network being advertised as 4G. Also, the ITU says that people can call HSPA+ 4G if they want to. It didn't actually extend the official definition of 4G to encompass everything down to HSPA+. So I'd even disagree with the statement that it supports "4G Technology". I'd say it works on networks being marketed as 4G in the USA. Which is different.

That is misleading to consumers. Maybe not to technologists, maybe not to members of the ITU. But to Mom & Pop and Aunty Bessie, they pick up a device and say "Ooh, it's 4G, it'll work on Telstra's 4G network, I'll take one". They then discover they didn't get what they thought they had paid for. And, if the courts determine that the conclusion they reached was reasonable in the circumstances, then Apple have engaged in Misleading and/or deceptive conduct or conduct likely to mislead or deceive.

And that's a specific law that exists in Australia and the ACCC "enforces" that law. At this point, it has very little to do with technical definitions. It has almost everything to do with what a reasonable person would believe when they read the claim.

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Re: @marlor

LTE is not 4G. It is marketed as such (just like HSPA+), but it does not meet the technical definition.

Telstra's LTE network is not 4G. However, based on a considerable amount of pressure by telcos, the ITU decided it can be marketed as such.

Apple's HSPA+ support isn't "4G". However, based on a considerable amount of pressure, the ITU's guidelines now also state it can be marketed as such.

The ITU basically said: "LTE and HSPA+ aren't 4G, but you can call them that if you insist".

I don't see the difference between Telstra's non-4G LTE network called "4G", and Apple's non-4G HSPA+ iPad called "4G". If one can get away with their inaccurate moniker, the other should also be able to do so.

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FAIL

Re: @marlor

IIRC It's not just about whether it's "4G" or not - it's that it doesn't work on those countries "4G" network regardless of what they're called, because they're on different frquencies!

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Meh

@Marlor....

... and technically, not /even/ Japn.

The ITU states "100mpbs high mobility and 1Gbps high..." and "... all IP....".....

As far as I know, Japan, Japan uis topping out around the 75Mbps mark....

As I say, I stand to be corrected.....

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Re: @marlor

LTE *is* 4G, the ITU moved the goalposts to match the marketing machines of Big Telco back at the tail end of 2010:

http://www.itu.int/net/pressoffice/press_releases/2010/48.aspx

"As the most advanced technologies currently defined for global wireless mobile broadband communications, IMT-Advanced is considered as “4G”, although it is recognized that this term, while undefined, may also be applied to the forerunners of these technologies, LTE and WiMax, and to other evolved 3G technologies providing a substantial level of improvement in performance and capabilities with respect to the initial third generation systems now deployed."

i.e. the ITU now regard HSPA+, LTE & WiMax as 4G, rather than limiting it to LTEAdvanced and WirelessMAN-Advanced as previously.

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Anonymous Coward

LTE is 4G

But it still won't work on 4G in UK or Oz cos the frequency bands are different and its not a multi band device.

It's like Apple taking a US NTSC colour TV to the UK PAL (or on digital) and saying 'here - it's a colour TV'. Just that nobody can get it to work.

C'mon - Apple clearly know a thing or two about data rates, frequency bands and the gullability of the target audiance - they were caught trying it on.

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Coat

Re: LTE is 4G

Oh, I completely agree that Apple deserves a bit of a slapping for marketing the new iPad as 4G when the main radio interface it relies on behind that claim is not ever going to be available in the UK (and most other countries). Some form of compatibility chart should've been produced and waved under every punters nose (e.g. LTE: US/Canada (tick), RotW (cross) / HSPA+: YMMV ).

It doesn't help that the operators are also spouting that they're doing 4G when all they're offering is yet another evolution of HSPA (see http://blog.three.co.uk/2012/02/29/leading-edge-3g-service/ and http://t-mobile-coverage.t-mobile.com/ for example).

Oh well, mine's the one with the WiFi-only model in the pocket - not entirely sure why I got marked down for pointing out that ITU caved in...

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"The iPad supports HSPA+ in Australia. Therefore, it supports "4G Technology"."

Fanbois splitting hairs love it...

There is only 1 network in Australia marketed as 4G, that's Telstras LTE network, and the ipad doesn't connect to it. HSPA+ is NOT classified as 4G in this country.

Samsung released a REAL 4G tablet over here, Apple lied in their advertising - if the tables were turned I'm sure you'd be fuming that Samsung was getting away with it.

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Re: @marlor

"LTE *is* 4G, the ITU moved the goalposts to match the marketing machines of Big Telco back at the tail end of 2010:"

The paragraph quotes still appears to say "we defined IMT-Advanced as 4G but to the extent that the term has been butchered, it can now be applied to other things". A distinction between their desired definition and their concession to using the term.

But that's not relevant in Australia. Nobody has taken Apple to task for making a technically inaccurate statement. Apple was taken to task for making a statement misleading or likely to mislead consumers. There's a BIG difference.

If Bugati advertised the Veyron as "drive to work at 400Km/h", I'm sure the ACCC would have a go at them too.

Here's the section of the act (or possibly one of them - and it may have been renumbered about a year ago) that is in question:

TRADE PRACTICES ACT 1974 No. 51, 1974 - SECT 52

Misleading or deceptive conduct.

52. (1) A corporation shall not, in trade or commerce, engage in conduct that is misleading or deceptive.

And, here's a description on the ACCC website of the kinds of things that may be included in that. Note the first one!

Examples of misleading or deceptive conduct

Whether or not conduct is considered misleading or deceptive will depend on the particular circumstances of each case. Conduct that misleads one group of consumers will not necessarily mislead every consumer.

Some examples of conduct that may be misleading or deceptive are:

* a mobile phone provider signing you up to a contract without telling you that there is no coverage in your region

* a real estate agent misrepresenting the characteristics of a property, for example, advertising 'beachfront lots' that are not on the beach

* a jewellery store promoting that a watch 'was' $200 and is 'now' $100 when the store never sold the watch for $200

* a business predicting the health benefits of a therapeutic device or health product but having no proof that such benefits can be attained

* a transport company using picture of aeroplanes to give you the impression that it takes freight by air, when it actually sends it by road

* a company misrepresenting the possible profits of a work-at-home scheme, or other business opportunity

* failing to include in advertisements that sale stock is limited in number or available only for a limited time.

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Re: @marlor

"The ITU basically said: "LTE and HSPA+ aren't 4G, but you can call them that if you insist".

I don't see the difference between Telstra's non-4G LTE network called "4G", and Apple's non-4G HSPA+ iPad called "4G". If one can get away with their inaccurate moniker, the other should also be able to do so."

Since the ITU has said you can call LTE 4G, clearly Telstra is OK in that respect from an ACCC point of view.

And, Apple has the right to say that its iPad supports networks called 4G in some places in the world.

The question, however, is if anybody would be misled or deceived by Telstra calling its network 4G? Is it faster, yes? Is it a significant step-change in technology, yes? Does the world governing body accept the moniker, yes? Is the network significantly different from anything else available in the country, yes?

Then Apple comes along, INTO THAT ENVIRONMENT, alongside the Velocity 4G and other 4G devices with a device labelled 4G which doesn't work on the now-established 4G-named network. Is that likely to mislead or deceive? Yep, it turns out.

Sure, timing has something to do with it. If Apple launched the iPad first in Australia and labelled it as 4G because it did DC-HSPA+ there might have been some arguing by others but Apple may have got away with it. The Telcos didn't considered those networks 4G (nothing much changes between HSPA+ and DC-HSPA+ - you just combine two channels - compared to the fundamental changes in LTE) but if you wanted to advertise your device as such because it did something no other devices (or only one or two) did, Apple could probably have argued that, as it's a globally accepted term, it's a reasonable thing to call it.

Then if Telstra had come along with an LTE network which didn't support the iPad 4G, then maybe they would have lost out.

The market and the terminology had already been established. And, in answer to somebody else's question about having to have different devices in different areas - YES! They may have had to do that to get away with it.

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Re: @marlor

>"LTE *is* 4G, the ITU moved the goalposts to match the marketing machines of Big Telco back at the tail end of 2010:"

The paragraph quotes still appears to say "we defined IMT-Advanced as 4G but to the extent that the term has been butchered, it can now be applied to other things". A distinction between their desired definition and their concession to using the term.

But that's not relevant in Australia. Nobody has taken Apple to task for making a technically inaccurate statement. Apple was taken to task for making a statement misleading or likely to mislead consumers. There's a BIG difference. <

What the ITU states is very relevant in Australia - the "I" in ITU stands for "International", and Australia is a member:

http://www.itu.int/cgi-bin/htsh/mm/scripts/mm.list?_search=1&_map=&_search_countryid=23&_country=Australia

The ITU should've stuck by it's guns, then there'd be a better case for Apple to answer for - but I still maintain that the best solutions would be for Apple to produce a "compatibility chart" for each country it's selling in highlighting whose network can use which features of the iPad and what max-speed you can expect to see. This is going to continue to be an issue until a more versatile 3GPP radio can be produced that can be configured for use in multiple frequency bands - just look how long it took for quad-band GSM to arrive...

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@JetSetJim

But that's not relevant in Australia. Nobody has taken Apple to task for making a

technically inaccurate statement. Apple was taken to task for making a statement

misleading or likely to mislead consumers. There's a BIG difference. <

What the ITU states is very relevant in Australia - the "I" in ITU stands for "International",

and Australia is a member:

Yes, it's certainly relevant to what a Telco does. Not sure to what extent it applies to Apple naming its phones.

BUT, what I meant (and I did not explicitly say, I concede) is that it's not relevant to the question at hand in Australia. It was relevant to Telstra calling the network 4G. But the question in the Apple case is about whether consumers were being mislead or deceived (or were likely to be) or not. Not what a technical organisation defines some term to mean within its own ecosystem.

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Don't blame Apple.

The ITU has decided that anything significantly faster than 3G can be marketed as 4G. This is considered an acceptable compromise in the US but not in other countries with a tradition of enforcing stricter advertising and marketing regulations.

Now we got a situation where its 4G in one country, 3G in the next. If I were in charge I would have created a new and more relaxed standard called 3.5G, leaving the original 4G standard as originally specified.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Don't blame Apple.

What? You think Apple don't know there are different frequency bands in those other parts of the world and their device cannot work on the local system whether you call it 4G or LTE.

They know fine well...

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WTF?

Re: Don't blame Apple.

Fine, define "4G" then. Preferably in a way that makes it possible to sell ANY mobile device with that label in every territory without confusing anybody.

No? Thought not.

Whereas 3G is a well-defined standard, "4G" has been reduced to an unworkable and idiotic umbrella term that can be applied to pretty much anything with a marketing department. Including networks using the latest HSPA+ standards built on GSM, not LTE or WiMax. (Which, incidentally, the new iPad DOES support. So if there's even a single network using such standards to support their "4G" network, Apple will be perfectly entitled to use the term in their own national marketing.)

Apple have been given a slapping for applying the "4G" label to their iPad, but I don't get the problem with it: many people in the UK, France, or Italy happily buy cars that are explicitly advertised—often on TV shows like Top Gear—as being capable of top speeds of well over 120 mph.

Why aren't these people also complaining that their car is sold as being "120 mph-compatible", but can only reach such speeds on Germany's road network, and not (legally) elsewhere in Europe?

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Big Brother

I sense a weakness in the reality distortion field

Well, you did strike me down but it seems I didn't come back more powerful than you can possibly imagine.

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The problem here is that 4G isn't a properly understood standard. When 2G phones came out, no one called them 2G, they just said they supported GPRS.

When 3G phones came out, they were clearly different from everything else, they were big and had lousy battery life. The LTE phones that have come out so far are nothing like this, they look and perform similarly to 3G phones.

For Apple this is just about advertising, it's not possible to look at the 4G label and decide what that means. I don't understand why Apple don't simply advertise the product as "80Mbps mobile data" or what ever speed the ipad can reach when it's sat next to an unused mobile cell.

The whole labelling things as 2G, 3G 20G etc. is stupid. It started off seeming like a good idea, but it very quickly gets out of hand. Much the same as the naming for USB, does anybody buy USB devices looking for ones that are super speed, hi-speed or full speed?

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Meh

@Fuzz

2g is not / was not GPRS.

GPRS is packet switched, sometimes called 2.5G

2g is circuit switched voice.

They are different.

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Sorry, one thing

They do differ, in that they provide lousy battery life

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Re: @Fuzz

I actually got a 2.5G phone. I loved it for being different. I also played 2.5d games on it!

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Anonymous Coward

Cellular

Made by bees is it? do I need a microscope? What does it mean?

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Happy

Oz effect

Hold on! The Ozzies get "very fast mobile networks" and we only have "fast mobile networks"? Ah it's O2 here in the UK, of course now I understand, sorry!

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Anonymous Coward

It's all a mess - HSPA+ is not LTE (clearly) and most LTE is not what the ITU would 'like' 4G to be either - but they have ceded that HSPA+ and other 'much faster than the 3G spec technologies' can be called 4G.

Realistically if we wait around for networks capable of the full 4G spec it will be a long way off - maybe we should call anything capable of 20mbps as 4G (after all it's 100x faster than the base 3G spec) and they can call 5G anything over 200mbps.

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Anonymous Coward

So since there are no 'true' 4G networks as defined by the ITU technical spec - but they seem happy to call fast / evolved HSPA+ / WiMax networks 4G - who is actually right.

The point is either Apple and the networks were right or Apple and the networks should stop calling it 4G. My feeling is Apple's device was 4G compatible based on HSPA+ being a 4G network but they have caved to pressure from the advertising authority who want to make a name for themselves. Hope they now go after all the other devices and networks claiming to be 4G when they are not.

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Pint

"not compatible with Australian..."

Like it's Australia's fault, somehow.

Pint. For all Aussies cos it's not their fault Apple are liars.

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Anonymous Coward

This is also an issue in Norway

This is also an issue in orway, Apple has been asked to change the lable away from "4G" but have not complied, making it look like the consumer wachdog in norway wil have to bring the issue to court.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This is also an issue in Norway

Do you have HSPA+ in Norway - if so stop whinging as the ITU said it can be called a 4G network.

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So in summation....

The organisation responsible for maintaining mobile nomenclature standards bottled this a while ago by allowing use of the 4G name for connections which did not meet the defined spec

ITU - FAIL

Apple marketed a product which could use the '4G' labelled services in the US but nowhere else in the world due to different frequencies

Apple - FAIL

All in all, no-one comes out of this smelling of roses with the slight possible exception of some advertising regulators who managed to dig through the red herrings and rule on the actual circumstances.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So in summation....

Apple - FAIL

Not really - they created a device that supports HSPA+ (in most countries) and LTE (in some countries) - the ITU say HSPA+, WiMax and LTE can be called / marketed as 4G - so what's the issue.

We would all love devices that meet the full 4G technical spec (dream!) of 100mbps when mobile but does anyone actually have that now - Japan may be close but who 'now'?

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Re: So in summation....

Ah but be careful of that frequency 'gotcha'. That was my reason for giving them a FAIL as although the iPad offers connectivity to HSPA+ and LTE (and any other 4G replicant) , they were not localising their advertising so there was the appearance that you could make connections which were not really there.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So in summation....

That would make sense if LTE were the only 4G network. I'm sure there are plenty of phones that support or don't support frequencies required in different countries. You could buy a 3G data dongle to find it would not work on 3G networks in the US.

The only point that matters is the iPad does support HSPA+ and it's been said by the ITU that you can call / market a device or network as 4G if it supports it.

I have bought phones before described as 'world' phones - except they don't work in Japan, Korea etc. You either accept / concede with the ITU that HSPA+ is now defined as a 4G technology (in which case the new iPad supports it) or you declare yourself a better authority than the people writing the rules...

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Re: So in summation....

World phones? is that the US of A your in? calling a phone that in Blighty would mean it would need to work everywhere, i.e. some kind of Satellite Phone I would assume.

As for HSPA+ being 4G? last I looked, UK networks are NOT calling it 4G, and they are making a big deal out of going for new 4G licenses.... So there is no non-trial 4G in the UK, hence the 4G iPad cannot use 4G in the UK...

but do I need faster than 6Mb/s down and 1Mb/s up? No

That is what I get on my phone with Three.

I can stream video, play games & video chat smoothly...

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