Apple may be an American company, but at times it forgets that it also deals in markets that are outside the United States. Australia, the whole of Europe and plenty of other countries and continents are represented in Apple’s list of release territories for new devices, and the new iPad was no different.

Apple is now very much branding its new iPad as a 4G device, something which makes plenty of sense in the United States thanks to LTE being available on both AT&T and Verizon. The problem is, 4G isn’t exactly prevalent elsewhere, and branding the device as 4G has apparently upset carriers in both Australia and Europe, leaving Apple with something of a problem.

Just how does a 3G carrier explain that a 4G iPad isn’t quite 4G…

Australian carriers like Telstra and Optus have gone so far as to say that they will simply ignore the 4G branding and treat the new iPad as a 3G tablet, just as they did with the iPad 2. The problem here is that the new iPad will come in a box that says 4G on it. Not exactly ideal for the poor people working in Apple Stores and at carriers across the globe.

Apple would have been better calling the 4G iPad just that in the United States and territories with 4G carriers, and then offering a 3G-branded version elsewhere. Yes, it may have meant producing two sets of livery for the cellular version of the iPad, but the confusion we currently see is most un-Apple in its muddiness. Surely things could have been handled better?

We’re all for a good ol’ reality distortion field as much as anyone, but the fact remains: 3G ain’t 4G, and that’s a fact.

  • David Sévigny

    They should have called it LTE instead for 4G.

  • Kok Hean

    Same for Singapore. Three telcos, non with iPad compatible LTE service.

    • Yeah bro. SingTel says wanna imply it but no news. And the price is absurd! ;(

  • Eric Morgan

    4G capable is what the box should say.

    • Anonymous

      Exactly! Or 4G ready. Just like they describe HD ready TVs, an HD TV isn’t really HD without an HD signal.

  • Buyes shoould be upset. The technology is available for the carriers to upgrade to If the Carriers are not upgrading, then they are not offering their customers the latest technology. This is not Apples fault. The carriers are pissed off at Apple for their own short commings. Why should they be responsible? Upgrade your networks.

    • jan notland

      We have Real 4g here in Norway Not LTE(4g Lite). So no need to upgrade. Apple Have made a mess out of this. They should have made a European version with real(4g). Uses slightly different Frequencys.

    • Anonymous

      Do you own a supercar? Go buy one. You have a lesser car but a faster one is available so you should be using that. You are not allowed time to cost it up based on whether your current salary can support the purchase, test drive beforehand to make sure it works, but if any part of it breaks you have to fix it yourself or lose your job. Because your girlfriend/wife/boyfriend/husband isn’t content that you don’t have the fastest car.

      Also, hate to break it to you, but LTE isn’t real 4G so are you pissed at your American carrier for not being the first to dive in and implement real 4G and all the hassles that causes when they are just finishing LTE rollout at what is probably currently a considerable loss?

      • next, you should define what “real 4G” is.

      • Anonymous

        Why would I do that when the ITU (who are considerably more knowledgeable about it than I am, despite my BSc in Mobile Communications) have already done it?

        Here’s a paper that lists the requirements to be classed as 4G: Note the peak downlink data rate needs to be 1Gbps, something LTE cannot achieve (but LTE-Advanced potentially could).

        LTE can only be classed as a 4G technology on the basis its successors support the requirements, and they don’t yet.

    • Exactly. It makes a hell of a lot more sense to upgrade network frequencies on 2 or 3 continents instead of making the device compatible. Your logic is fucking brilliant.

      • There are 30 DIFFERENT VERSIONS OF 4G in Europe. It makes A LOT OF SENSE for Europe’s carriers to UPGRADE their systems so that they use the same version of 4G.

        Otherwise, it makes NO SENSE for Apple to come up with 30 DIFFERENT versions of the iPad just for Europe.

      • Are you kidding? how do you count that up. Can you also explain why other companies manage support pretty much everything in one or maybe two devices?

      • Bands used in North America are 700/ 800 and 1700/ 1900 MHz, in Europe 800, 1800 and 2600 MHz bands are used, in Asia 1800 and 2600 Mhz and 1800 MHz in Australia. The iPad uses 700, 2100 MHz bands. See why its incompatible?
        But of course, as always, the whole fucking world has to comply to USA’s standards. Well fuck that! And no, there are no “30 DIFFERENT VERSIONS OF 4G” in Europe!
        Self righteous moron!

      • Anonymous

        To add to Tr1pTr0p’s point, GSM standardisation came from Europe. America’s approach was to let it be a free for all and whichever market won was the one that everyone was going to use. How well did that work out? Try using your AT&T phone on VZW.

        GSM can be used in hundreds of different countries because we were the ones that favoured internationally-agreed standardisation over haphazard market forces.

    • You’re missing the point here. 4G is available here in Europe, it’s just that Apple’s tablet can’t handle the frequency of our 4G networks. So Apple have made an even bigger mistake! Customers who purchase one and then pop in their 4G SIM will be enen more let down by Apple.

      • Amen to that, f*ck Apple and their american standards. LTE is not 4G!

    • This is shit… We have real 4G all over Europe… Its just that the USA don’t use the frequencies all the rest of the world uses, and that apple just ignores that fact.

    • Anonymous

      You have this backwards. Europe has the more advanced technology available and Apple has limited its hardware to support only US standards (which aren’t really standards at all). So, people can have 4G on their phones and on Android tablets, but they cant have it on their iPad 4G. This is annoying and entirely avoidable.

  • i believe opus is actually Optus*

  • Anonymous

    Just give us LTE in Europe 😀

    • Why give us old technology when we already have newer?

  • Anonymous

    “We do not provide 4G service at this time, only 3G. Yes, it will work with 3G.”

    The End.

    Where’s the problem?

    • couldn’t agree more. I mean, I know people are dumb, but is it really THAT big of a deal? If your carrier doesn’t support it, then it’s 3G. Period.

    • Anonymous

      “We do provide 4G service but the new iPad is not compatible. Yes, it will work with 3G.”

      Would you be happy as a customer?

      • Most people in Europe only buy the WiFi iPad ANYWAY.

      • That’s not the point here

      • Anonymous

        Yikes. My bad. Dug a bit further than the author, I had no idea 4G was available in Europe. As another commenter mentioned I always buy the WIFI only model and tether, also I’m in Indonesia so I tend to breeze past stories of the latest tech. :/

        This is quite an un-Apple like faux pax indeed.

  • Even though it doesn’t support 4g in Australia, we are experiencing at times faster speeds than LTE in America (according to reviews).

  • Moze

    I see a problem that they support only LTE and no Wimax. Because here in Lithuania we have both, but only one carrier got LTE.

  • I think the author might be a little confused. We have 4G in Australia and in parts of Europe. But 4G doesn’t have any official or legal meaning. That is to say, our 4G high speed mobile networks here in Australia work on different bandwidths than that of the 4G networks in U.S.
    So it actually adds even more confusion to the mix, as we can buy 4G android tablets that work on our 4G networks, but they have the correct internal hardware to operate on the appropriate bandwidths.

  • there is LTE in Portugal, and in most european countries so i don’t se what the issues is. everybody know LTE isn’t 4G. just branded that way.

  • Bruno Grilo

    you got it all wrong. we have 4G in Portugal (TMN) but there is quite a difference between frequencies used in 4G LTE in Europe and frequencies used in US, Canada…

  • Is LTE really that necessary? I have been living with 3G for so many years already…..

    • It’s faster than a lot of US citizens WiFi. So yes, it can be a big deal.

      • Anonymous

        But WHY is it a big deal? Pages load pretty darn fast. So they will load one second faster? Not a big deal to me, but I guess it is to some.

        The page loads in 1 second vs. 2-3 seconds. Then I spend 5 minutes reading the page.

      • So would you rather have 1.5 mbps DSL or 20 mbps cable connection?

      • Anonymous


        On a tab I do not see a big difference, unless you like to BT on your tab. Again WHY is it a big deal? I am not trying to be a jerk, I just don’t see the need. Tell what I can do so much better with that added speed. Convince me.

    • Anonymous

      It’s really REALLY fast man!

  • Yeah its lame and same stupid stuff that happened with 3G and 3GS not supporting all the common 3G frequency bands. There are plenty of LTE operators in Europe and its not about them not upgrading but Apple rushing the release or trying save a buck again by narrowing the band support. Almost the whole other world uses same frequencies together than North America.

    We will probably again see some TV/magazine ads (Samsung) of making fun of the new iPads LTE support or “Most bands ever” line 🙂

  • Anonymous

    The problem is not that LTE is 3.9G and not 4G, it is the different frequencies (as we have seen it previously with GSM, until Triband and Quadband phones were available). The iPad supports the 700 and 2100 MHz bands (for LTE) while in most European countries and also in Australia they use the 800, 1800 or 2600 MHz bands.

    • Branding the iPad as 4G just put a lot of pressure on Europe’s carriers who don’t have a compatible 4G.

      But again, most people just buy the WiFi version of the iPad and bypass the carriers.

      • Anonymous


  • Apple can’t help that other countries are so screwed up when it comes to 4G service or that they have no 4G service at all.

    Perhaps they can explain that 4G means 4th generation. Then smile at the customer.

    • It’s not the other countries that screwed up, it’s Apple. They released a product with a chip that had limited capabilities. Other countries have networks that operate of different frequencies to what the iPad 3 can cope with.
      Hell, Apple even had had to make two models of iPad just to cover the market in the US.

  • We have LTE over 100 cities in Finland and 4G DC coverage is even larger.

  • This is simply not correct at a hundred percent.
    Europe and many other areas do have 4G ‘LTE’ connectivity.
    The problem is that the frequencies allocated to those standards are not the same then in the states, and were simply ignored by Apple.


  • This is nonsense. Should 4K TV manufacturers remove the 4K designation from their products because there are not yet any terrestrial 4K broadcasts? Should the label on my iPhone box have said 2G because I have only Edge reception in my area?

    Do you have a link to ANY article indicating the carriers dislike the 4G branding of Apple’s products? Why hasn’t this been an issue with competitors 4G products?

    If there is a reality distortion field here, you are attempting to create it.

    • Anonymous

      > Do you have a link to ANY article indicating the carriers dislike the 4G branding of Apple’s products?
      In Australia they have to put a disclaimer sticker on the box.

      > “Why hasn’t this been an issue with competitors 4G products?”
      Usually they have different models for different regions, e.g. in Europe chips that support 800/2600 MHz bands.

  • A

    Give me a break! It’s a 4G capable device. That would be like selling a Porsche in the U.S. but changing its advertised top speed of X mph down to 70 mph because most freeways in the States don’t allow you to go that fast as opposed to the autobahn in Germany where you can take full advantage of the top speed.

    People who know what 4G means, will also know that it is not available all over. Those who don’t know what it means, would likely not even care that they are “only” getting 3G.

    • The thing is our carriers support 4G but stupid Apples iPad can’t communicate with them.

      • Anonymous

        Somehow I do not think this will negatively impact sales. But I could be wrong and Apple could go belly up in a few months from their “huge” mistake.

  • You’re missing the point here. 4G is available here in Europe, it’s just that Apple’s tablet can’t handle the frequency of our 4G networks. So Apple have made an even bigger mistake! Customers who purchase one and then pop in their 4G SIM will be enen more let down by Apple.

  • Thruth is that both Europe and Australia have more modern LTE networks than the US has, They use other frequencies and since Apple prefers pleasing the home market the new iPad is not compatible with our frequencies. That’s it. Europe actually has LTE longer than it exists in the US…

  • But …Apple did allow the foreign companies to be able to integrate to the higher speed while still having a tablet that can keep up with the improved technology. For instance if a country is only on HSPA they can slowly add in HSPA+, and then finally jump on 4G or LTE. So basically Apple’s giving companies a very versatile piece of equipment.

  • This is simply not correct at a hundred percent.
    Europe and many other areas do have 4G connectivity.
    The problem is that the frequencies allocated to those standards are not the same then in the states, and were simply ignored by Apple.
    And by the way, 4G is lot faster then this US LTE boosted 3G thing. And its the US who is not capable of using worldwide standards not the other way around (except ATT who are going in the right direction)


  • Just ask Sprint. They marketed and CHARGE EXTRA for 4G service on their HTC Evo that was sold in some US cities without 4G coverage.

    My friend has one in Indianapolis and he’s paid $10 extra per month for the last 2 years for 4G when it isn’t even available.

    The Europeans will be unhappy, but they will survive.

  • Anonymous

    So, It seems this author did about 5 minutes of research and wrote an article on a subject about which he knew nothing, and got everything wrong. And to make matters worse he didn’t even bother to answer the commenters who pointed this out to him, or make any correction to the article. Quality work, Mr Haslam, should be pleased with yourself.