Apple's iPad '4G' advertising claims draw European scrutiny

The advertising authorities in the UK, Denmark, Norway and Sweden are set to investigate claims made by Apple that its new iPad tablet is capable of accessing 4G networks.

Click here for Apple's introductory video for the new iPad.

The European industry watchdogs are said to be examining complaints that Apple is misleading consumers with its 4G marketing given that the LTE frequencies supported by the iPad are only available in the United States and Canada. This move follows a media storm in Australia over the iPad's 4G marketing campaign that has resulted in Apple refunding a number of new iPad customers after the company was accused of false advertising.

The problem comes from the latest iPad only supporting LTE on the 700MHz and 2.1GHz frequencies. In Europe, the 700MHz frequency band is used for TV broadcasts, while the 2.1GHz band is used for 3G data traffic. A Wall Street Journal report noted that it remains unlikely that any of these bands will be re-farmed in Europe to support LTE.

Marek Andersson, a lawyer at the Swedish advertising authority, told the Journal that the consumer agency has received several complaints from consumers over marketing which promotes the New iPad as having 4G connectivity. "One may rightfully ask if the marketing of the new iPad is misleading," said Andersson. "The question is whether this information is clear enough in Apple's marketing?"

Lawyers for Apple in Australia have strenuously defended the company's position stating that its promotional material did not say it was compatible with Telstra's LTE network. However, Apple Australia will display a statement at iPad point-of-sale locations make it clear "that there is no claim made in relation to the device that it is capable of connecting with the Telstra 4G LTE network."

For more:
- see this The Verge article
- see thiz ZDNet article
- see this WSJ blog post (sub. req.)
- see this IBT article

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