Apple’s upcoming iPhone 5 includes support for LTE networks, as had been expected, however, like the most recently released iPad, coverage will vary globally – initially at least. While that fact is bound to frustrate customers in markets where the 4G technology is unsupported or soon too launch, Apple has at least learned from the issues around LTE support for the iPad by making things a whole lot clearer with the iPhone 5.
Gone is the vague marketing copy and approach that brought a $2.25 million fine in Australia, now Apple’s website includes a page that details exactly what countries and carriers that will be supported.
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Three models of the device will be developed — GSM and CDMA variants for North America, and a global GMS version — the sum of which will see LTE supported in the US, Canada, Germany, the UK, Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, Korea and Singapore.
That’s quite a difference from the iPad LTE page which, many argued, failed to clearly specific that the device was only able to support 4G networks in the US and Canada.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) took issue with the product’s ‘iPad with WiFi + 4G’ marketing, claiming that it “represent[ed] to Australian consumers that the product, with a SIM card, [could] connect to a 4G mobile data network in Australia, when this [was] not the case.”
The legal case in Australia, brought by the consumer watchdog, saw Apple begin offering customers refunds before it agreed to pay the $2.25 million fine. While the money is relative pocket change for Apple, the possibility of a chain reaction and negative publicity loomed, as a number of countries investigated the issue, including New Zealand, the UK, Italy and Sweden.
Any chances of litigation in response to misleading messages around the iPhone’s LTE support look scotched. However, if pre-iPhone 5 launch speculation is to be believed, rival Samsung is closely monitoring Apple’s use of LTE — with an eye on its patent stock — while HTC has also been linked with a possible patent infringement case.