UPDATE: Will new iPad be compatible with 4G in the UK?

New iPad

There's growing confusion over whether the new iPad, due to go on sale on March 16th, will be compatible with forthcoming 4G networks in the UK and other parts of Europe.

In the US, the new iPad will have 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) capability built in which will give speeds of around 73Mbps when you're on the move, as opposed to the 100Mbps of the 'full fat' 4G spec.

Current 3G has to offer a minimum of 0.2Mbps, though often will be much faster than that.

However, The Guardian is reporting that although "the new iPad includes superfast LTE connectivity for mobile broadband, the wide range of frequencies used throughout the world, and Apple's focus on the US, means that the first models will apparently not be compatible with LTE frequencies allocated for the UK".

This is because there are six different 4G variations around the world and those bands work on different frequencies. So the US bands are different from the UK and European bands.

The new iPad is designed to work across the LTE standard of 700 to 2100MHz in America, while the UK's trials are 800 to 2600MHz.

That means to enjoy 4G connectivity when the UK eventually does get the new high-speed mobile standard, Apple would have to produce a new iPad 4G specific to the UK LTE networks.

The auction for 4G spectrum in the UK is expected to take place later this year after some delays, with the service becoming available sometime in 2013.

Apple is currently advertising the new iPad on its UK online store as "wi-fi + 4G" capable with Vodafone, Orange, O2 and 3 logos alongside and saying "connects to the internet over wi-fi and 4G mobile data networks".

In a statement to whathifi.com, Apple says: "During the launch last Wednesday, we confirmed support for five LTE networks, three in Canada and two in the USA.

"The new iPad also works on GSM/UMTS worldwide network technologies, including HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA, the fastest 3G networks out there. You'll see download speeds of 42Mbps with DC-HSDPA and up to 21.1Mbps with HSPA+."

Meanwhile anyone ordering the new iPad online has been told that due to overwhelming demand delivery has been delayed, and they won't get their new device until Monday, March 19th.

To get one before that, you'll have to queue at an Apple Store this Friday and stocks are likely to be limited.

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Andy Clough

Andy is Global Brand Director of What Hi-Fi? and has been a technology journalist for 30 years. During that time he has covered everything from VHS and Betamax, MiniDisc and DCC to CDi, Laserdisc and 3D TV, and any number of other formats that have come and gone. He loves nothing better than a good old format war. Andy edited several hi-fi and home cinema magazines before relaunching whathifi.com in 2008 and helping turn it into the global success it is today. When not listening to music or watching TV, he spends far too much of his time reading about cars he can't afford to buy.