In 1999, the Quality Excellence for Suppliers of Telecommunications (QuEST) Leadership Forum, a group of leading telecommunications service providers, released TL 9000. This international quality management standard, which consolidates ISO 9000, the industry’s Bellcore quality standards and other quality requirements, is designed for continual improvement in the quality and reliability of telecommunications service. TL 9000 was revised in 2001 to align with ISO 9001.
The goals of TL 9000 are to foster quality systems that effectively and efficiently protect the integrity and use of telecommunications products, including hardware, software and services; establish and maintain a common set of quality system requirements; reduce the number of telecommunications quality system standards; define effective cost and performance-based metrics to guide progress and evaluate results of quality system implementation; drive continual improvement; enhance customer-supplier relationships; and leverage industry conformity assessment processes.
Much of the telecommunications industry is already registered to ISO 9000. An upgrade to TL 9000 registration would incorporate the additional requirements into existing quality programs. A company, organizational unit, facility or product line can be TL 9000 registered in the areas of hardware, software, services or any combination thereof. Registration may be contractually required by regional Bell operating companies.