Ofcom will soon be looking for a partner to carry out research into the performance of 3G and 4G networks at the end of year.
A spokesman for the communications regulator told TRPro that it is looking to appoint an external company through a competitive tender in the coming months.
This follows the indication, included in Ofcom's annual report, that it wants to measure the performance of 3G and 4G operators to help businesses and consumers when buying services.
It is planning to look at who deploys the services in which areas and what speeds they achieve. The research is due to be carried out in December and Ofcom is aiming to deliver its report by the spring of 2014.
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The spokesman said the performance metrics are yet to be determined.
"When we go through the tender process we will look at what different companies can offer," he said. "We will also have a set of base requirements."
The research could provide an early marker on the roll out of 4G services around the UK. So far EE has taken the lead in rolling out a network, but licences have also been granted to Telefonica, Vodafone, Hutchinson 3G and Niche Spectrum Ventures, which is a subsidiary of BT.