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Australian iPad and 4G: What's the deal?

The new iPad won't work with any 4G network in Australia

Apple's new iPad looks the same as the iPad 2

Apple's new iPad looks the same as the iPad 2

Apple is advertising 4G as a key feature of its new iPad, despite the fact it won't work with Telstra's 4G network in Australia.

We preview the "new iPad"
Read our Apple iPad 2 review
New iPad vs. iPad 2: We compare Apple's two tablets

The new iPad looks identical to the iPad 2, but boasts a high resolution "retina" display, has an upgraded 5-megapixel camera and is powered by a quad-core A5X processor. It also boasts 4G connectivity that, for now, simply is not compatible with any Australian networks.

The new iPad is 4G (LTE) capable in the US and Canada, with separate models that will work on the Verizon and AT&T networks. However, Wi-Fi + 4G models of the new iPad use the 700MHz and 2100MHz LTE bands while Telstra, the only carrier in Australia to have a 4G network, uses the unsupported 1800MHz band. Aussies will still benefit from dual-channel HSPA+ technology which provides a theoretical maximum download speed of 42Mbps, but this is not 4G. Think of it more as 3G+.

Given that the iPad's 4G capabilities won't be of any use in Australia, it seems a little odd that Apple is still advertising 4G connectivity as a feature on the Australian Apple Web site. 4G is listed as one of the major new features on the dedicated, Australian iPad page, while the wireless broadband model of the new iPad is now called Wi-Fi + 4G rather than Wi-Fi +3G.

Under the catchline "Ultra fast wireless. Full speed ahead", Apple says the new iPad is "built with the latest in wireless technology." While the new iPad certainly does have this technology available, the fact that it isn't compatible in Australia is enough to potentially confuse consumers.

We contacted an Apple Australia representative to ask why the new iPad will be marketed with 4G in Australia when the feature isn't compatible Down Under, but we are yet to receive an official response. We'll update this article with any new information if and when it comes to hand.

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12 Comments

Ivan Rostas

1

In the same way that a motor car manufacturer is able to claim a top speed for a new car (even though that speed will never be attained on Australian roads) Apple would seem to be within its rights to quote the potential speed of the new iPad, if our current 4G network is upgraded to 2400 MHz.

bruce

2

I may not drive my car at full speed, however I expect to drive my ipad as fast as it can possibly go. Dam you Apple Australia for misleading me.

gnome

3

@1 Ivan - your lame defence of Apple's 4G claim does not reflect reality.

The 'new car' anology that you cite fails because that car could now be driven here at its claimed top speed, and there are places in Australia where that is possible. The claimed 4G capability of the new iPad cannot be used here because there is no service in those spectrum bands, so who are you kidding?

You might as well say that you are capable now of flying to the moon, on the basis that someone, sometime, might set up lunar access from here.

Chris

4

Ivan - you realise 2400 MHz (whilst more compatible with overseas models) would certainly NOT be an upgrade - the higher the frequency the poorer a mobile network performs, in building penetration, etc.

margarete

5

Can you still use wi fi in australia on the new ipad

dan

6

You guys (except for ivan) are morons. do your research, decide whether you want an ipad 3rd gen that can access telstra's network at a pretty good speed, and move on! it's not the ipad's fault that australia hasn't built the same networks as america... boo hoo, connect it to your home wifi, or 3g, move on!!!

AB

7

Does it mean that even though it says 4g it will still work on the 3G network or is the only option to use the wifii when 4g is not available?

Scott

8

The iPad is 4G compatible!!! Australian network providers are not!!! (apart from one provider on one frequency). I see an opportunity for other providers if one of them provide 4G on a compatible frequency they will get the bulk of the market including the new iPhone which I am sure will support the same frequency.

Mel

9

The new iPad's 4G does work with Telstra in Australia.

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) defines 4G to include dual-carrier HSPA+ which both Telstra and the new iPad support at the full 42mbps.

This speed is in fact the same maximum that Telstra's LTE Network runs at as well.

As such, Apple is absolutely within their right to say the iPad is 4G in Australia.

Neil

10

@Margarete. Yes wifi will work fine with the new gen iPad.

EKKY

11

Thanks for that, Mel.

42 mbps is still 3-4 times faster than my home land line.

Think I could put up with that. :-)

Isa

12

So with all these comments for a new and rather naive purchaser which iPad is the best to buy and what model for light work use and personal ESP for an over 50

Comments are now closed

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