Earlier this week, pressure from Australian consumer watchdog ACCC (the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) forced Apple to offer refunds to customers that felt mislead by the '4G' label on the iPad 3. The problem was that the iPad wasn't actually capable of running on Australia's 4G LTE bands. This meant that though Apple was advertising the iPad as 'iPad with WiFi + 4G,' customers who purchased the device for use in Australia wouldn't be able to get 4G speeds.
The same problem is occurring elsewhere in the world. Following Apple's decision to offer refunds to unhappy customers it seems people in the United Kingdom are complaining, too. The UK doesn't currently have any 4G networks. However, even when carriers do launch their 4G LTE solutions, iPad users won't be able to make use of the 4G speeds. This is because the the 4G LTE networks in the United States run on the 700 - 2100MHz spectrum, while the UK's 4G LTE will, once it's launched, operate on the 800 - 2600MHz spectrum. Pocket-Lint reports that the UK's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has confirmed that it is assessing complaints similar to those made by Australian customers. The ASA gave the site the following statement:
"We are aware of the news from Australia regarding the iPad 4G marketing claim," an ASA spokeswoman told us. "Without going through due process we can't say whether the [UK] ad is likely to be problematic. If anyone has concerns about the iPad ad then they can lodge a complaint with us and we will establish whether or not there is a problem under the Code."
Apple on Wednesday agreed to offer refunds to Australian customers who felt mislead by the iPad's '4G' label and has said it will publish a clarification on its website that accurately communicates the iPad's wireless network capabilities. Will Cupertino be forced to do the same in the UK? We'll keep you posted.