It has certainly taken its time, however it appears as though we could be seeing 4G in major cities from as soon as the summertime next year. Ofcom has confirmed that it intends to auction off spectrum towards the very end of this year, with bids likely heading into the New Year.
All this should hopefully mean a roll-out will take place around the summer of 2013, with Ofcom promising that eventually, 4G coverage will reach 98 per cent of the population. The deal for auctioning off the spectrum is expected to be 80 per cent larger than the previous £22 billion that exchanged hands for 3G, suggesting that in total, we should expect sale of the UK's 4G bands to reach almost £40 billion.
These time-frames do rely on interest from at least four carriers, which we have no doubt Ofcom will receive and, presumably rely on networks, such as O2 and Vodafone, not suing the regulator before proceedings even begin.
Now all that's left is for handset manufacturers to supply 4G enabled devices and no, not like Apple's 'iPad 4G'. It may be wishful thinking to assume we'll be seeing 4G in the Samsung GALAXY S IV or the iPhone 5/5S, however, here's hoping.