A recent ruling by the Belgian government that smartphone-makers can’t block 4G service for specific carriers is aimed squarely at Apple, ZDNet reports. Now the iPhone maker could be subject to fines for playing favorites with Belgium’s telecom industry.
Apple’s troubles started when it picked Mobistar as its preferred carrier in Belgium, while blocking iPhones destined for competing networks maintained by Proximus and Base from accessing their 4G networks. Even worse, Mobistar doesn’t actually offer LTE service while its competitors already do. The only way around the block was a complex and expensive certification process with no guarantee of results.
“It was a true obstacle course,” wrote Base corporate affairs manager Coralie Miserque on her corporate blog. “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.” She adds that Apple uses the same practice in other countries as well.
Apple still has a chance to avoid possible fines by simply unblocking 4G LTE service for iPhones sold by Proximus and Base, but there’s no guarantee it will give in that easily. Cupertino has plenty of money saved away to pay off any penalties, giving Mobistar plenty of time to launch a 4G network of its own.