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Apple could get fined for keeping LTE off of the iPhone in Belgium

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Apple could get fined for keeping LTE off of the iPhone in Belgium
In Belgium, the Council of Ministers has decided that smartphone manufacturers can not legally block specific carriers from offering 4G LTE connectivity on their handsets. The main target of this ruling is Apple, which has blocked the iPhone from connecting to the LTE pipelines of Belgian carriers Proximus and Base. Apple could be fined a non-specified amount of money if it continues to block the iPhone from running over those operators' 4G signals.

Apple says it has a good reason for blocking the two mobile operators. The Cupertino based tech titan has a preferred partner in Belgium, and that is Mobistar. While that would be all fine and dandy, Mobistar does not offer 4G service. Apple has been known to allow 4G connectivity to operators that are not on its preferred list, but that requires the company to put those carriers through a certification process.

"It was a true obstacle course; after months and months of (fruitless) attempts to approach Apple, Base finally received a typical Apple answer that the certification process was pending and would require some time. But how much time, the company refused to specify."-Coralie Miserque, corporate affairs manager, Base

Belgian carrier Base says getting certification from Apple is not easy, calling it an "obstacle course" and accusing Apple of protecting Mobistar in the country. The theory is that Apple is waiting for its preferred partner in the country to start offering 4G service so that Mobistar doesn't lose iPhone business to the other two carriers that do have 4G pipelines.

"It seems very unlikely that Apple will actually comply with the requirement of the Belgian government. After all, the company has plenty of money and can easily ride this thing out until Mobistar has deployed its 4G network."-Be Morgan, Belgium newspaper

Belgian economy minister Johan Vande Lanotte offered a proposal that would force smartphone manufacturers to allow their devices to be used on any compatible network, which was passed by the Council of Ministers. And while the threat of getting fined is supposed to motivate Apple into providing equal access to the iPhone in Belgium, it is doubtful that the penalty could be high enough to make much of a dent in Apple's cash reserves.

source: BaseFacts (translated) via ZDNet 

26 Comments
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posted on 29 Jan 2014, 12:47 9

1. darkkjedii (Posts: 11088; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


Yep fine em, if they offer LTE why block it. No favoritism apple, make Mobistar get off their a$$ and pump out LTE.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 13:03 1

4. Mxyzptlk (limited) (Posts: 3510; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)


I have to agree. No fair in denying others LTE when it's available. Course the fine would really be pocket change for Apple.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 13:08 1

5. darkkjedii (Posts: 11088; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


True, I just don't like the possibility of denying one for the sake of another, they'll pay the money and life goes on.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 20:14 1

25. lyndon420 (Posts: 1733; Member since: 11 Jul 2012)


I think a fine of...let's say...2-3 Billion dollars would be fair. No...5-6 Billion. Wait a minute...I like how 10 Billion dollars just rolls off my tongue. Yeah..10 Billion dollars.

posted on 30 Jan 2014, 06:50

26. darkkjedii (Posts: 11088; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


Lol that would hurt

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 13:31

9. Credo (Posts: 693; Member since: 19 Apr 2012)


You from Belfium? :P

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 14:14 3

11. darkkjedii (Posts: 11088; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


I'm from the one and only Las Vegas Nevada USA sonnn!

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 14:35 1

13. WHoyton1 (Posts: 1619; Member since: 21 Feb 2013)


wooooo vegas!!

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 15:26

19. darkkjedii (Posts: 11088; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


One cool city WH

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 14:57

15. gallitoking (Posts: 4684; Member since: 17 May 2011)


dark I am going to Vegas (April) for my Anniversary ... show me where to go...

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 15:24 1

18. darkkjedii (Posts: 11088; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


Dude when you get here let me know. I'll give you all the cool safe hot spots bro. Perfect weather then too.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 15:48 1

20. gallitoking (Posts: 4684; Member since: 17 May 2011)


you got it

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 17:11

22. darkkjedii (Posts: 11088; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


Vegas rocks, you'll love it man

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 12:59 9

2. Finalflash (Posts: 1706; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)


Hmmmm, Apple holding back features and performance for the sake of bullying and possibly money...nothing new here I guess.

They should face a ban until the issue has been fixed so its fair competition. They'll just laugh off the fine and the situation will likely not change. You either sell equally with all or don't sell at all.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 14:20

12. ardent1 (Posts: 1991; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)


Apple is not for everyone.

What the Belgium gov't wants is socialism, and that is why the leading smartphone OEMs are based in Belgium.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 14:39 4

14. Commentator (Posts: 2391; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)


I can only assume you meant "aren't" because for the life of me I can't think of a single Belgian OEM.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 17:43 1

24. PBXtech (Posts: 976; Member since: 21 Oct 2013)


Please enlighten us on those Belgium smartphone OEMs.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 12:59 4

3. sipha (Posts: 262; Member since: 12 May 2012)


OMG, thats 2nd most stupid thing i've heard today.. So they just gona sabotage the other networks for that :/

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 13:16

6. elitewolverine (Posts: 1544; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)


sabotage? Did apple go to the towers and blow it up?

No they are not allowing their phones to use LTE, they can stil use it just not LTE.

Without much knowledge, for all we know Apple is locked into a contract with the other carrier for signal.

While i do see this as a dck move by apple and dont support apple at all, i think there is more to the story than just apple saying 'no thanks we dont want our phones on lte, maybe 5g but not lte.."

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 13:24 1

7. Kishin (Posts: 598; Member since: 30 May 2013)


Apple come on Apple come on, give them LTE or else.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 17:37

23. tedkord (Posts: 4702; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


But any contact that breaks the law is invalid. If you want to do business in a country, you've got to follow its laws.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 13:30

8. Credo (Posts: 693; Member since: 19 Apr 2012)


The amount of 4G users here in Belgium is not that high, altrough the best carrier here in Belgium, Base has a very good 4G plan for only €32 per month if u switch online, otherwise €35... They need better marketing...

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 15:09

17. hulk_14 (Posts: 46; Member since: 14 Dec 2013)


For what amount of data?

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 13:32

10. Augustine (Posts: 708; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)


If Apple cared about its customers, it'd certify the iPhone for LTE in Belgium. It'd cost peanuts to Apple and, likely, less than the fine. Besides, Belgium is a very small country, it's the see of the EU, so whomever buys an iPhone in Belgium will likely go abroad and would appreciate using LTE then. It's really fishy that Apple did this, quite possibly to favor one carrier over others, at the expense of the consumers, who might be tempted at ditching a carrier that doesn't support LTE while all of its competitors do. If this is the case, then Apple is just being an accomplice in an anti-competitive racket.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 15:02

16. corporateJP (Posts: 1555; Member since: 28 Nov 2009)


I'm lost. Why can't these people buy an unlocked model from somewhere else with the correct basebands? I'd be pissed too if somebody was buying a phone from my establishment then ditching out on their contract or service to take the phone somewhere else, especially if the phone is subsidized in any way (considering it's an iPhone, I am sure it is). There is some legitimacy to this, rest assured.

If Mobistar signed an exclusive contract to carry the iPhone and it runs their frequencies, then tough.

However, if an unlocked model runs the correct basebands for service with one of these other carriers and the LTE band is blocked, that would be a different story altogether.

Peace.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 15:59 1

21. Augustine (Posts: 708; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)


Outside of the UK, all phones sold in the EU are unlocked and unsubsidized.

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