Apple has agreed to pay settlement costs of $2.25 million to end a legal case that accuses the company of misleading the Australian public over the 4G-compatibility of the new iPad in the country, according to The Australian.
The Cupertino-based firm told a Federal Court hearing today that it has agreed the pay-out, after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) brought charges against it in March. The watchdog claimed that Apple deliberately advertised the 4G compatibility despite knowing that the third-generation tablet did not support LTE networks in the country.
The settlement is yet to get final approval from the judge but, if granted, the payout will bring to a close the long-running issue that has dogged the new iPad’s arrival in Australia.
The figure will be paid to the ACCC, The Australian reports, with Apple also expected to pick up the $300,000 to cover the organisation’s court costs.
In May, Apple announced that it would provide refunds to any customers that felt misled by the advertising and marketing, which was changed in Australia — and other markets across the world — after the concerns were highlighted by the ACCC.
Apple updated the marketing copy on its website to include a clarification over LTE compatibility in North America:
The iPad with Wi-Fi + 4G model can roam worldwide on fast GSM/UMTS networks, including HSPA, HSPA+, and DC-HSDPA. When you travel internationally, you can use a micro-SIM card from a local carrier. You can also connect to the 4G LTE networks of AT&T in the U.S. and Bell, Rogers, and Telus in Canada.
Australian Operators Telstra and Optus moved faster than Apple following the concerns, and began informing their consumers of the lack of support for 4G in Australia. Optus remove all mentions of the term altogether, whilst Telstra said: “We’re making it clear to our customers that new iPad does not run on 4G LTE networks in Australia.
The lack of clarity around the marketing of the 4G compatibility was also closely scrutinized in New Zealand, the UK, Italy and Sweden among other countries.
Apple’s adjusted iPad-LTE explanation went live across all of its global websites in the middle of May.
We’ve reached out to the ACCC and Apple for comment on the matter, and will publish any comment that we receive.
Image: Flickr / David McKelvey