Apple fails to reach agreement with Australian competition regulator

Apple and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission are scheduled for more hearings

Apple failed in a mediation session on Monday to reach agreement with Australia's competition regulator on remedies for allegedly misleading consumers about the 4G capabilities of its latest iPad.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) took Apple to the Federal Court in Melbourne on March 28 for allegedly violating sections of the Australian Consumer Law.

The ACCC claims that Apple's iPad advertisements mislead the public over the device's 4G capabilities, as the latest iPad is not compatible with Australia's sole 4G network, which is run by Telstra.

Apple has agreed to some but not all of the ACCC's remedies. Last month, Apple agreed to refund unhappy customers and to display an advisory in stores and promotional material reading "This product supports very fast cellular networks. It is not compatible with current Australian 4G LTE networks and WiMAX Networks."

Telstra operates its 4G service within the 1800MHz band, while the latest iPad can use LTE only on the 700MHz and 2100MHz bands. The new iPad is compatible with 4G LTE networks in the U.S. and Canada using data speed specifications including HSPA, HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA.

Mediation sessions are common in Federal Court cases, an ACCC spokesman said. The two sides were in court later in the day for a scheduling meeting, as the court case will now continue, he said.

Other countries, including Sweden and U.K., are also investigating misleading advertising claims, as the latest iPad does not work with the 4G networks in either of those countries.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com

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