UK regulator investigating '4G' advertising of Apple's new iPad

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The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority is said to have taken issue with Apple's advertising of the new iPad as a "4G" device, even though it is not compatible with long-term evolution networks in the country.

As a result, the authority has widened an inquiry into advertising of the third-generation iPad, even after Apple amended claims about the device's 4G capabilities, according to the BBC. The regulator has reportedly received dozens of complaints from customers related to the lack of 4G service on the latest iPad.

The authority began looking into the matter in the U.K. earlier this month after some users complained that Apple's advertising of the new iPad was misleading. Apple was accused of touting the device as being 4G-capable despite its inability to interface with LTE networks in countries outside of North America.

After the ASA previously approached Apple, the company removed references to 4G from its website, and also edited a video that talked about 4G LTE connectivity. But the U.K. Apple Store still advertises the cellular-capable model as "Wi-Fi + 4G."

"Connects to the Internet over Wi-Fi and fast mobile data networks. For service from a wireless carrier, sign up for a simple, month-by-month plan on your iPad and cancel anytime without penalty," the product description reads. A footnote under the 4G LTE iPad models reads: "This model can roam worldwide on fast mobile data networks, including HSPA, HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA."

That's considerably different from Australia, where Apple updated its online store to further clarify that the new iPad is not compatible with 4G LTE networks in that country. That change was made after the Australian government accused Apple of "misleading" customers with the advertising of the new iPad.

"This product supports very fast cellular networks. It is not compatible with current Australian 4G LTE networks and WiMAX networks," the Australian Apple store reads. "For service from a wireless carrier, sign up for a simple, month-by-month plan on your iPad and cancel anytime without penalty."

Such changes have not been made in the U.K., where the ASA said it continues to receive "potentially problematic" complaints from consumers who feel they were misled by Apple's advertising of the new iPad as "Wi-Fi + 4G."

"It appears that the problem claims we asked Apple to remove are still appearing," the regulator said. "We will investigate these new complaints."


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