Australians were the first people to get the new iPad. Daylight hit the outback on March 17 before reaching other parts of the world time zones later. Most Apple stores opened 8am local time but a Sydney-based Telstra store hosted a midnight launch. Indeed, Australians were among the happiest Apple fans on earth. But the party didn’t last long. Apparently, LTE-enabled versions of the new iPad are incompatible with Telstra’s 4G networks. The mix-up warranted Apple to offer refunds to disappointed customers and on top of that, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is suing them for false advertising.
Make no mistake – Telstra has 4G technology and the new iPad does have WiFi + 4G models. Unfortunately, the LTE radios found in them are unable to detect the frequencies of Telstra’s 4G network. As a result, subscribers are unable to connect to 4G networks despite having LTE-enabled iPads – which are more expensive than Wi-Fi only models, by the way. ACCC noticed this and immediately took action by filing a complaint. According to them, Apple broke an Australian consumer law for falsely advertising their product. The commission wants the Cupertino company to retract the 4G association to the new iPad and do corrective advertising.
To make amends, Apple says they’re offering full refunds to Australians who purchased 4G iPads. They will be notified about the refund policy via email, promising to clear out the issue concerning the new iPad along the way. Apple also says they’ll warn future customers that 4G doesn’t work on the new iPad, at least, in Australia. It is worth noting that if you opt for WiFi + 4G models, you can still connect to 3G networks. It doesn’t match 4G but still performs better compared to 3G speeds on iPad 2.
Before launching 4G iPads in Australia, Apple should’ve said upfront that it’s incompatible with the country’s current 4G networks. In fact, the only solution would be to create iPads tailored specifically for the Australian market, which, we doubt would happen. It’s good to know however that Apple is offering refunds for disappointed customers. Many of them opted for 4G models, thinking it would let them take advantage of Telstra’s technology. The new iPhone will probably have the same built-in LTE radio so we can’t expect it to be compatible to Australian 4G networks either.