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New iPad under fire in Australia over 'misleading' 4G claims

The new iPad has been criticised by a consumer commission, which claims the tablet's 4G claims are misleading. Could the same happen in the UK?

The new iPad has been criticised by an Australian consumer commission, which reckons the tablet's 4G claims are misleading to buyers, CNET reports.

In a statement, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) says it'll be applying to a Federal Court, asking for fines against Apple, corrective advertising and a possible injunction against selling the tablet. The commission believes Apple is fooling folks with promises of faster 4G speeds.

You see, while the version of the new iPad with a SIM-card slot is marketed as the iPad 'Wi-Fi + 4G', it's not actually possible to connect the new iPad to a 4G network in Australia.

That's because, while Australia does play host to some 4G services, the new iPad connects to the 700MHz or 2100Mhz spectrum bands, neither of which are used down under.

The UK is in the same position. We're also sold a Wi-Fi + 4G tablet, but those 4G LTE connections aren't possible here, as networks haven't rolled them out yet. Even when they do, our European 4G connections won't be on the right bits of spectrum, so the new iPad won't get 4G speeds here.

"Consumers who have purchased or are considering purchasing an 'iPad with Wi-Fi + 4G'", the ACCC says, "should ensure that they have a proper understanding of the mobile data networks which this iPad can directly access by a SIM card."

European networks are also said to be frothing over the new iPad's 4G billing, but with some networks claiming HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA networks (which are faster than bog-standard 3G, but not as speedy as the LTE you'd get in some countries) as being '4G' networks, it's all getting a bit muddled.

On Apple's UK site, the company claims its tablet "supports fast mobile networks around the world, including HSPA, HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA.*" The small print to go with that asterisk states, "4G LTE is supported only on AT&T and Verizon networks in the US, and on Bell, Rogers and Telus networks in Canada."

What do you reckon? Is Apple misleading buyers with its tablet naming, or not? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, or over on our Facebook wall. I leave you with CNET's global iPad speed test, so you can see how the UK ranks against other nations in terms of network speeds.

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