New iPad May Not Work on 4G LTE Networks Outside U.S. And Canada

One of the major features of Apple’s third generation iPad is support for the faster 4G LTE networks.

But if you’ve pre-ordered or planning the new iPad for the 4G LTE feature then it may be a good idea to check with the local carriers for compatibility first, as though you may get faster speeds it won’t be anything close to the 4G speeds users will enjoy in the U.S and Canada.

On the new iPad’s features page, Apple says the new iPad is “World-ready and well connected”. They go on to explain:

The new iPad supports fast cellular networks the world over. So you can browse the web, stream content or download a movie at blazing-fast speeds. It also works on GSM worldwide network technologies including HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA — the fastest 3G networks out there. You’ll see downlink speeds up to 42 Mbps with DC-HSDPA and up to 21.1 Mbps with HSPA+.

However, in the footnotes of the tech specs page (Apple’s UK website), Apple notes:

  • 4G LTE supported on AT&T and Verizon networks in the US; Bell, Rogers and Telus networks in Canada
  • 4G data plan is sold separately. The iPad with Wi-Fi + 4G model you purchase is configured to work with a particular mobile network technology. Check with your carrier for compatibility and 4G data plan availability.

As AppleInsider points out that according to the tech specs page the new iPad will support 700MHz and 2100MHz LTE bands, which apparently do not match the 800MHz, 1800MHz and 2600MHz LTE bands being rolled out across Europe.

T3 – a UK-based gadget website reiterates this point:

02 told us: “Globally there are six bands for LTE, some of which are specific to the USA (700 MHz and the AWS band.) In its current format [The new iPad] will not work on the European LTE bands 800, 1800 and 2600 MHz.”

However it can use HSPA+, which is kind of advanced form of 3G. Many UK networks have this deployed in various forms, and it has potentially higher top speeds. But of course this will very much depend on where and when you are browsing.

The situation seems to be even more grim in the UK where it looks like the 4G infrastructure is not yet ready:

There is no concrete timescale on when we’ll see 4G in the UK, however. So for now, the bottom line is you will get slightly faster speeds with the new iPad than the iPad 2. Potentially…

Straits Times is reporting a similar situation in Singapore:

Apple’s new iPad will hit Singapore next Friday with razor-sharp text and images, but users will not be able to enjoy a key feature – connectivity to ultra-fast 4G networks.

SingTel and M1 recently rolled out 4G networks, but the new iPad is configured for different radio frequency bands used in the United States.

To be fair to Apple, it does warn you when you are buying the 4G LTE iPad model, there are chances that it is overlooked. We’re assuming that Apple is working with carriers around the world to ensure that the new iPad can connect to the 4G LTE network in other countries outside US and Canada as customers are going to be quite disappointed when they find out that the new iPad still works only over 3G.

There are obviously other reasons such as the Retina Display and faster dual-core A5X chip with quad-core graphics that may it a must buy, but it is important to set your expectations before you hit that “Check Out Now” button.

[via Apple Insider]