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Apple, Australia can't agree on iPad 4G issue

Talks between Apple and Australia fail to resolve a legal skirmish over the use of the term "4G" as part of the iPad's branding.

Apple's Australian Web site warns that the 4G iPad is incompatible with Australian 4G networks.
Apple's Australian Web site warns that the 4G iPad is incompatible with Australian 4G networks.
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Apple and Australia are still at odds over the branding of a 4G iPad that doesn't support Australia's 4G networks.

Mediation between Apple and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission ended today without an agreement on one sticking point -- the actual name used to sell the iPad. The two parties have been trying to hammer out a compromise since late last month when Australia's consumer commission filed a legal action against Apple over the use of the term 4G.

In its grievance, the ACCC has contended that labeling the tablet "iPad Wi-Fi + 4G" in Australia is misleading since the device's flavor of 4G doesn't work in the country. Australia does offer 4G service through its Telstra carrier. But that service operates under an 1800MHz frequency band, according to ZDNet Australia, while the iPad requires 700MHz or 2100MHz frequencies for 4G. Hence, the two are incompatible, leaving Australian 4G iPad buyers stuck at 3G.

Some progress has been made between Apple and the ACCC, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Apple has already put up notices on its Web site alerting customers that the 4G iPad is not compatible with Australia's 4G networks. The company has also agreed to alert existing buyers of the issue and offer them refunds.

But the ACCC also wants Apple to change the name of the iPad as sold in Australia to remove the term 4G. And that's apparently where the talks broke down earlier today.

The next steps in the case will be determined at a hearing scheduled for later today at the Federal Court in Melbourne, the Sydney Morning Herald added.

Similar 4G compatibility issues have vexed iPad users in Sweden and the U.K., according to The Verge and other sources.

Complaints from unhappy consumers have led both countries to also consider investigating whether Apple's use of the term "iPad Wi-Fi + 4G" is misleading.

Apple did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment.