Helpdesk: Dismay as customer finds her new iPhone is not compatible

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Q: I upgraded to the latest iPhone in February, but was angered to find my new phone is not compatible whatsoever with the new super fast 4G networks.

O2 is not able to offer 4G for the iPhone due to a complicated difference in mobile frequencies which each company owns.

“At no point did the customer advisor mention that the iPhone 5 was pretty much the only smartphone which her firm sells which is not compatible – or that the only way to swap was to buy out of my contract at a later date.

“It is completely beyond me why myself and no doubt thousands of other customers in my situation would have to pay such a fee for 4G service.”

RW, Leith

A: At the time of the iPhone 5 launch, the only operator that could offer a 4G service was EE. This was because they successfully lobbied Ofcom to allow them to use some of their existing surplus 3G spectrum for 4G use. We never marketed the iPhone 5 as a device that would be supported by 4G on our network. This was because we didn’t know what 4G frequency we would be awarded. Any customer who buys an iPhone 5 from us can receive a 25 per cent reduction on the cost of ending their contract early, and upgrading to a compatible phone once we launch our 4G network. The mobile phone manufacturers decide which frequency bands will be supported on the phones they manufacture. While the iPhone 5 won’t be compatible for 4G use on O2, it is fully supported by our high-speed 3G network. If customers specifically want to take advantage of our 4G service when it’s launched from the summer, we have a number of compatible handsets available.

“We would encourage any customer to check the features and specifications of a mobile they are interested in buying to ensure it fully meets their expectations.”

• If you have a consumer issue that you would like tackling, contact Jane Bradley on 0131 620 8432 or e-mail