4G or not 4G

“Outside of the United States Apple has been making headlines that aren’t exactly positive and it’s all surrounding how the company has chosen to advertise the new iPad,” Alex Brooks reports for World of Apple. “Apple took the bold step to include LTE connectivity in its latest iPad model as one of the major features.”
“From here it gets a bit complex with plenty of acronyms to boot, and before we dive right in let’s just clarify exactly what kind of 4G is included in the iPad. Unfortunately Apple offers no insight on its website but as we know that the new iPad packs a Qualcomm MDM9600 we can decipher what kind of connectivity is on offer. The MDM9600 brings to the table support for UE Category 3 LTE, CDMA2000 1x/EVDO Rev. A and B as well as all the 3G connectivity to allow it to roam internationally but notably packs DC-HSDPA+ and HSPA+ for up to 42 Mbps download speeds. All this tells us is that the chip supports LTE with a maximum downlink of 100Mbps and uplink of 50Mbps,” Brooks reports. “Unfortunately it’s more complicated than this, we can however refer to the definitions given by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) as to what is and isn’t 4G. This is more complicated than it should be too as the ITU have moved the goal posts on the definition, a move I would say is to suit the carriers.”

Brooks reports, “The ITU, an organisation closely associated with the UN, has yet to release a more solid definition of 4G so we’re stuck with a specification that none of the currently named 4G technologies adhere to and of course giving free reign to carriers who have begun widespread labelling of 3G services as 4G. That said, the FCC and similar authorities in other countries seem to have no legal jurisdiction over the terms 2G, 3G or 4G.”

“Apple is just as guilty of this as anyone else and is of course just bending to the will of the carriers; probably most notable is the recent iOS 5.1 update which began showing 4G symbols on iPhones that were connected to HSPA+ 3G networks, even when the speed of said network was potentially abysmal,” Brooks reports. “Apple’s iPad is causing another kind of 4G related controversy, a controversy which is firmly outside of the USA. It started with and has been most publicised in Australia where the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) took issue with Apple using the term ‘WiFi + 4G’ to describe the iPads being sold in Australia. There are LTE ’4G’ services available in Australia but they’re not compatible with the iPad due to the frequency band that Australia’s networks run on.”

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