Myth Buster: Will your iPad 4G work in India?

Ever since Apple announced its plans to launch the new iPad in India on April 27, I have been flooded with questions regarding the 4G variant and whether it will work in India or not. Judging by the questions, it seems a lot of people are confused about 4G and its backward compatibility with 3G networks, among other things. Read on to bust some myths about the iPad 4G.

The iPad 4G’s India launch comes barely days after Airtel launched the country’s first 4G LTE network. It is only logical for users to believe that the iPad would play nice with Airtel’s 4G network, considering it too is the first 4G-enabled tablet to be available here. Unfortunately, Apple’s iPad is tuned to work only with LTE networks in the US and Canada. Blame it on different LTE technology as well as the spectrum band on which they work. The iPad 4G supports only 700MHz and 2100MHz bands for LTE while Indian 4G LTE networks will run on the 2300 MHz band. However, the iPad 4G is backwards compatible, which means it will run on our current 3G networks just like the iPad 2.

Personally, I am not convinced why Apple should market it as a 4G device when it is not going to be compatible with any 4G network that will be launched soon in the country. Yes, Apple gives a disclaimer – 4G LTE is supported only on AT&T and Verizon networks in the U.S. and on Bell, Rogers and Telus networks in Canada – but calling it a 4G product will create unnecessary confusion and even mislead buyers, when it does not work with 4G network(s) in the country.

Apple is already chalking it out with Australia’s consumer watchdog, which wants Apple to rename the iPad 4G and a similar body in the UK is evaluating whether it should initiate a probe. Technically, Apple might be correct to call it a 4G product as it supports that network in two countries but there is just no need for Apple to claim something its product cannot do in the market where it is being sold. The iPad already is dominating the tablet market by a huge margin and it can do without this unnecessary controversy.

On a personal front, I would be saddened to see a company I love and respect for its products, to be embroiled in a controversy just over the name of the product. I understand Apple would like its products to be called the same thing all over the world but when a product is named after the network it supports, things get murky. It is also not unheard of for companies to launch a specific variant for a few countries and one “rest of the world” model. This is being done when it comes to selling 4G LTE smartphones.

Having said that, I believe this is going to be a problem for Apple only for the first few weeks post which no one is going to care about what it is called. Like one of my friends on Twitter said, “It will be my iPad. That is all!”