updated 11:57 am EST, Fri January 24, 2014
Should push Apple into allowing 4G on all Belgian iPhones
The Belgian government has approved a bill stopping electronics makers from blocking 4G on otherwise compatible hardware, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has announced. The bill was first proposed by Economy Minister Johan Vande Lanotte in response to public complaints about Apple's treatment of iPhones. Currently, only people who buy iPhones from Apple's local commercial partner, Mobistar, can access 4G.
Other carriers like Base and Proximus have 4G networks, but haven't won 4G approval from Apple. That means that despite the fact the carriers are selling 4G-capable iPhones, subscribers can only get slower 3G data. People using Android phones on the same networks have been completely unrestricted.
Apple could be hit with significant penalties if it doesn't comply. This isn't the first time Apple has been forced to open up hardware for European networks; early into the iPhone's history, for instance, the French government required Apple to unlock the device for all local carriers, in keeping with existing laws.