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New iPad bashed over 'misleading' 4G billing

Apple's branding of international models as 'iPad with WiFi + 4G' is apparently flummoxing consumers.

The new iPad’s 4G capabilities are available only in North America, but the branding of international models as 'WiFi + 4G' is apparently flummoxing consumers.

According to SlashGear, carriers outside of North America are more than a little miffed by the 4G billing, as some iPad buyers expect access to the blazingly fast speeds promised by LTE but instead are limited to the HSPA, HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA connections their non-LTE local networks provide.

Some European networks are reportedly complaining that Apple's advertising is misleading, while Australian carriers Telstra and Optus are attempting to manage customer expectations by toning down -- or even banishing -- references to 4G.

And it’s not just an issue with the current scarcity of LTE networks outside of the US. European LTE networks of the future will use bands with which the new iPad is not compatible, so users won’t even receive that sweet 4G love in the future (unless they move to the US, which is something of a drastic measure).

There’s also plenty of confusion around what actually constitutes '4G': where the new iPad is concerned, 4G means LTE, but some carriers have been billing their HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA networks -- faster than 3G but slower than LTE -- as 4G. It’s not hard to see that this is all getting to be bit of a mess. There’s even suggestion that the WiFi + 4G iPad’s branding could be deemed as misleading -- essentially false advertising -- by the European Commission.

Head over to the Apple UK website and you’ll see careful wording around the iPad WiFi + 4G. A paragraph entitled 'Connect to fast mobile networks' reads: "The new iPad supports fast mobile networks around the world, including HSPA, HSPA‭+ and DC-HSDPA.* So you can download content, stream video and browse the web at amazing speeds."

Did you spot that asterisk? Scroll to the bottom of the page and in small print Apple clarifies that "4G LTE is supported only on AT&T and Verizon networks in the US, and on Bell, Rogers and Telus networks in Canada."

Do you think Apple is sailing dangerously close to the wind by selling something billed as the 'iPad WiFi + 4G' in countries where it'll never be LTE compatible? Let us know in the comments section.