The UK faces a long wait for 4G connectivity as Ofcom's sale of spectrum that will carry the fourth generation licenses has been delayed until the second quarter of 2012.

The auction was originally intended to take place in the first three months of next year, but Ofcom has been unable to publish the terms of the auction due to disagreements with a number of networks.

Even if the auction takes place in the first half of 2012, we won't see networks rolling the faster speeds out until 2013 at the earliest, putting the UK years behind some areas of the US and Japan.

Aim game

"We are still aiming for the first half of next year. However, we have always maintained it is an ambitious timescale," said an Ofcom spokesperson.

"This is a complex area, involving a large number of technical and competition issues that we need to consider and resolve before finalising proposals.

"For example, a very high proportion of households in the UK rely on Digital Terrestrial TV – Freeview – which needs to be relocated before 4G can be rolled out.

"We note that because these technical issues need to be satisfactorily resolved before new networks can be built, it will not be possible for mobile operators to start rolling out 4G networks until 2013 at the earliest regardless of when the auction itself actually takes place."

Being years behind tech hotspots like the US and Japan isn't just an annoyance when you're twiddling your thumbs waiting for Twitter to update on your smartphone, though.

The UK is already being left behind on the hardware side of things, with LTE- and 4G-toting tablets and smartphones like the HTC Jetstream failing to leap the pond to our pockets.

Via The Guardian