Apple will argue high-speed 3G networks should be officially rebranded as 4G in its Australian battle over iPad WiFi + 4G nomenclature, insisting it’s the local carriers at fault rather than it misleading buyers. As reported earlier, Apple filed a defense with the Australian courts over the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) allegations that it had behaved deceptively in calling the new iPad “4G-enabled” when it cannot actually connect to any of the 4G networks in the country. According to Apple, it’s time carriers woke up to what 3G networks are capable of.
While the new iPad 4G might not have LTE support in Australia – it lacks support for the Telstra LTE service bands – it does support the DC-HSDPA also on offer in the country. That’s good for up to 42Mbps downloads, at least theoretically; in contrast, when we reviewed the new iPad on Verizon’s LTE network, we saw downloads averaging 14Mbps.
According to the International Telecommunications Union, the organization which decides exactly what constitutes 4G and what doesn’t, Apple could be onto something. Back in 2010, the ITU said of next-gen 3G networks:
“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” International Telecommunications Union
Apple’s argument that it comes down to speed not semantics could hold some weight, then, although whether carriers will be any more keen to entirely rebrand just to suit the third-generation tablet remains to be seen. The ACCC is yet to respond to Apple’s defense.