International 4G iPad Models Will Work on AT&T, Not on LTE in Home Countries
As highlighted by SlashGear yesterday, the Wi-Fi + 4G iPad announced by Apple on Wednesday and launching in ten countries next Friday will not be compatible with LTE networks under development in most of the launch countries. Apple's LTE discussion during the media event focused on five carriers in the United States (AT&T and Verizon) and Canada (Bell, Rogers, and Telus), noting that international markets would have other options available for cellular connectivity.
The issue with international LTE availability stems from the fact that the AT&T version of the new 4G iPad released in the United States supports LTE on the 700 Mhz and 2100 MHz frequency bands. Apple is distributing that same model to its international markets, but LTE implementations in most of those countries are utilizing 800 Mhz, 1800 Mhz, and 2600 MHz bands that are not supported by the device.
The new iPad WiFi + 4G put up for pre-order in Europe yesterday supports the same 700MHz and 2100MHz LTE bands as the AT&T version in the US; however, actual LTE roll-out in Europe is expected to use the 800MHz, 1800MHz and 2600MHz bands.
That means, even if commercial LTE networks become more commonplace in Europe – which has for the most part remained using the faster variants of 3G technology, such as DC-HSDPA, which the new iPad also supports – the Apple tablet is unlikely to be compatible with them.
Apple has confirmed to The Verge that those international 4G iPad models can be used on AT&T's LTE network in the United States by travelers, even though they will not have LTE support at home. According to Apple:
iPads sold internationally will be able to connect to AT&Ts LTE network when in the US with the appropriate SIM and plan.
The iPad 4G LTE model sold for Verizon in the United States is an exclusive to that carrier for at least the time being, with its LTE compatibility limited to only the 700 MHz band in line with the carrier's implementation of the technology.