U.S. carriers not named Sprint were delighted to be able to suddenly claim they all had 4G networks (who needs to invest in advanced infrastructure when you can just change the name?), but the move was largely panned by mobile industry pundits, and outside of the U.S. the term 4G has frequently been reserved for LTE and WiMax, including Australia and much of Europe. For those of you wondering, the ITU is not a regulatory body - they rely on external industry groups like the IEEE to set and regulate standards. Thus, their recommendation, while a boon to gimmicky carrier marketing in the United States, carries no real weight with other government bodies. An analogy would be UNICEF, which has set minimum guidelines for safe drinking water in developing countries, but has no say over how the FDA sets their own standards on drinking water safety.
Trying to shove the U.S./ITU definition down the throat of another country’s regulatory commission seems like a losing strategy, and frankly it’s just odd that Apple would even bother; the new iPad is the bestselling tablet in the world – complaints about how well it’s selling seem to center around whether its record-breaking pace is record-breaking-enough, so why get into a legal battle over it?
When this issue first arose we speculated that Apple might be loathe to give up the marketing power of the term “4G”, and at this point we feel that must be the driving force, since the 4G designation in this case has no real importance beyond marketing. Perhaps Apple is concerned about the impact of upcoming Android tablets that would be compatible with Australia's LTE networks? Given that Apple also let AT&T change the HSPA+ iPhone 4S’s network labels to include “4G”, it seems that Apple has become a bit overly sensitive on the subject of late.
source: The Australian via AppleInsider