Apple’s 4G LTE Legal Woes

Posted on March 28, 2012

Built with the latest in wireless technology, the new iPad lets you connect to fast data networks around the world — up to 4G LTE. (28th March 2012)


According to Apple’s website, and without looking at the small print (only lawyers do that) you would think that your new iPad 3 would be able to connect to LTE networks in Australia and Sweden.

Well, you’d be wrong, it can only connect to US and Canadian networks. And moreover, if you buy a Verizon LTE iPad, you cannot connect it to the AT&T network.

LTE networks all run on different frequencies, and the specific chipsets used in the iPad must be included to work on the desired frequencies. Hence the frequencies in Sweden and Australia are different from those in the US and Canada.

Customers who bought an LTE iPad in Australia were sorely disappointed to find out that it would not connect to the 4G LTE network there; and complaints to their trading standards body has forced Apple to offer refunds.

So how did one of the most marketing savvy companies in the world make such a mistake? They were uniquely focussed on the US. Apple made a decision not to support LTE networks elsewhere because they are much less mature than those of the US and most haven’t launched yet.

Hence Apple marketing US forgot about the outlying situations in Australia and Sweden.

The moral of this story is that local marketing is important. In the same way that local mobile application development is important, especially in a place like Québec with its unique sensitivities and bilingual nature, marketing, product placement and messaging is all more valuable when determined within its target market.