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

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.

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.

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 



16. corporateJP

Posts: 2458; Member since: Nov 28, 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.

21. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

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

10. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 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.

8. Credo

Posts: 749; Member since: Apr 19, 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...

17. hulk_14

Posts: 72; Member since: Dec 14, 2013

For what amount of data?

7. Kishin

Posts: 706; Member since: May 30, 2013

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

23. tedkord

Posts: 17519; Member since: Jun 17, 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.

3. sipha

Posts: 440; Member since: May 12, 2012

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

6. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 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.."

2. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 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.

12. ardent1

Posts: 2000; Member since: Apr 16, 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.

14. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

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

24. PBXtech

Posts: 1032; Member since: Oct 21, 2013

Please enlighten us on those Belgium smartphone OEMs.

1. darkkjedii

Posts: 31798; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

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

4. Mxyzptlk unregistered

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

5. darkkjedii

Posts: 31798; Member since: Feb 05, 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.

9. Credo

Posts: 749; Member since: Apr 19, 2012

You from Belfium? :P

11. darkkjedii

Posts: 31798; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

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

13. WHoyton1

Posts: 1635; Member since: Feb 21, 2013

wooooo vegas!!

19. darkkjedii

Posts: 31798; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

One cool city WH

15. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

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

18. darkkjedii

Posts: 31798; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

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

20. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

you got it

22. darkkjedii

Posts: 31798; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Vegas rocks, you'll love it man

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