4G or not 4G, that is the question

“Outside of the United States Apple has been making headlines that aren’t exactly positive and it’s all surrounding how the company has chosen to advertise the new iPad,” Alex Brooks reports for World of Apple. “Apple took the bold step to include LTE connectivity in its latest iPad model as one of the major features.”

“From here it gets a bit complex with plenty of acronyms to boot, and before we dive right in let’s just clarify exactly what kind of 4G is included in the iPad. Unfortunately Apple offers no insight on its website but as we know that the new iPad packs a Qualcomm MDM9600 we can decipher what kind of connectivity is on offer. The MDM9600 brings to the table support for UE Category 3 LTE, CDMA2000 1x/EVDO Rev. A and B as well as all the 3G connectivity to allow it to roam internationally but notably packs DC-HSDPA+ and HSPA+ for up to 42 Mbps download speeds. All this tells us is that the chip supports LTE with a maximum downlink of 100Mbps and uplink of 50Mbps,” Brooks reports. “Unfortunately it’s more complicated than this, we can however refer to the definitions given by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) as to what is and isn’t 4G. This is more complicated than it should be too as the ITU have moved the goal posts on the definition, a move I would say is to suit the carriers.”

Brooks reports, “The ITU, an organisation closely associated with the UN, has yet to release a more solid definition of 4G so we’re stuck with a specification that none of the currently named 4G technologies adhere to and of course giving free reign to carriers who have begun widespread labelling of 3G services as 4G. That said, the FCC and similar authorities in other countries seem to have no legal jurisdiction over the terms 2G, 3G or 4G.”

“Apple is just as guilty of this as anyone else and is of course just bending to the will of the carriers; probably most notable is the recent iOS 5.1 update which began showing 4G symbols on iPhones that were connected to HSPA+ 3G networks, even when the speed of said network was potentially abysmal,” Brooks reports. “Apple’s iPad is causing another kind of 4G related controversy, a controversy which is firmly outside of the USA. It started with and has been most publicised in Australia where the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) took issue with Apple using the term ‘WiFi + 4G’ to describe the iPads being sold in Australia. There are LTE ‘4G’ services available in Australia but they’re not compatible with the iPad due to the frequency band that Australia’s networks run on.”

Tons more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Apple seeks to redefine Australia’s 3G networks as ’4G’ – April 19, 2012
Apple and Australian watchdog mediation over iPad ’4G’ fails – April 16, 2012
Apple updates Australian store to further clarify 4G abilities of new iPad – March 30, 2012
Sweden looking into complaints over Apple marketing iPad as ’4G’ (incompatible networks in Sweden) – March 29, 2012
Apple offers full refunds, corrective signs over ’4G’ iPads in Australia – March 28, 2012
Australian watchdog to seek orders against Apple for alleged ‘misleading’ iPad 4G claims – March 27, 2012


    1. Simple: All iOS should do is dynamically display 4G when ACTUAL speeds exceed a certain limit, irrespective of carrier. If a 4G of 3G HS*PA+ network doesn’t reach this limit, don’t display 4G, just display 3G+.
      That way, Apple can truly claim that it is using its own, consistent criterion for 4G.

  1. at times I get over 7Mbs on my 4s in Columbus, Ohio…overall the 4s is much better than the 4 when it come to data…I really don’t get below 1Mbs like did I regularly.

  2. One can only imagine the headaches Apple has dealing with the Telstra knuckleheads in Australia.

    According to Apple Insider, Apple defended itself in federal court in Australia and claimed that, “Apple’s argument calls out the semantics surrounding “4G” and claims that Australia’s networks are mislabeled, not the iPad.”

    Seems like there’s another side (Apple’s) to this story that didn’t rate a mention in this article. Shame.

  3. Well, here in the UK, they’re only just releasing the TV frequencies that 4G devices will use, so by the time the iPhone 7 and fifth gen iPad hit the market we might have some sort of 4G network.

  4. Terminology used by Apple is somehow accurate. Though the technology offered by Providers Down Under are not compatible with the 4G, one of the 3rd generation iPad features is having a 4G capability. Meaning, if the Aussies take the “iPad” out to the US, Scandinavian or South Korea per se, that “iPad” which was bought in Australia would surely align with the speed of 4G terminology. In a way, Apple has done nothing wrong if it put a fineprint of “please check with your local service provider for compatibility.” That’s what I look at this.

    1. 1

      It has always been the carriers ripping us off. They’re the ones selling us the 4g service that’s not 4g. Everyone always has some **** to say, I heard t-mobile is offering $200 debit card when you trade in your iPhone for a droid or other smartphone, just shows you how desperate even they are to ride apples bandwagon.

  5. Problem is in the frequencies supported.
    It just happens that EU has standardized on different frequencies than USA.
    How hard is it for Apple to support both? Software update?
    I think that some Android devices support both…

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