Apple Inc. has accepted a fine of more than 2 million Australian dollars ($1.9 million) after agreeing branding for its new iPad may have misled consumers to believe the tablet could connect to the fourth-generation cellular networks operating in Australia.
A federal court in Melbourne heard Friday that Apple had agreed to pay A$2.25 million to settle a case brought against it by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, as well as the commission's costs of A$300,000. The settlement has yet to be approved by Mordecai Bromberg, judge in the hearing.
The case centers on sales of a version of the popular iPad device initially sold as iPad "Wi-Fi + 4G." Colin Golvan, a lawyer for the commission, said the designator misled consumers to believe it was compatible with Telstra Corp.'s (TLS.AU) 4G LTE, or long-term evolution protocol, network in Australia, the first such network to be rolled out in the country.
The device, which also comes in a version that only connects to the internet over Wi-Fi networks, is now sold in Australia and other countries as iPad "Wi-Fi + Cellular" rather than "Wi-Fi + 4G." Mr. Golvan told the court that the term 4G is used exclusively to describe LTE networks in the country. The frequency bands allocated to run next-generation 4G networks differ from country to country and Apple's lawyers have previously argued that some network frequencies considered "3G" in Australia, operate as 4G elsewhere.