The 4G auctions are not expected to happen until a lot later in 2012, with national deployment of networks towards the end of 2013. Everything Everywhere who already have a 4G trial running in Cornwall wants to jump the queue and start offering a service before the end of 2012.
The mobile provider is looking at re-purposing the 1800 MHz spectrum that they use for 3G services to carry 4G. Any national roll-out requires Ofcom approval but it looks like a trial in Bristol will take place in April 2012. The approval process will require a consultation period, and assuming no massive objections arise will take around eight to twelve weeks.
4G while late to market in the UK, is still not fully mature abroad, though if the UK does not roll-out 4G until late in 2013 it will be well behind other countries who started their roll-outs in 2009. 4G with connection speeds of 8 Mbps to 20 Mbps does have the ability to offer a major speed boost compared to 3G and may give landline based services a serious competitor.
The biggest stumbling block for people adopting 3G after the ability to get the service at all is the usage allowance bundles, and the cost of excess usage. For 4G to become a true broadband service competing with ADSL2+, cable and fibre the level of usage allowance will need addressing.