TIA, QuEST Forum merge, combine standards, benchmarking focus

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and QuEST Forum, a global association dedicated to quality and sustainability in the information communication and technology (ICT) industry, have reached an agreement to merge to create a larger organization.

According to TIA and QuEST Forum, the goal is to form a single technology association that will be suited to accelerate modern connectivity and address the business, technology and industry transformation needs of its members.

The two organizations will be able to combine their collective knowledge of standards, common performance and quality metrics, supportive public policies and market alignment. These skills are relevant to emerging technology trends, including the Internet of Things, smart cities, network virtualization, NFV/SDN and the transition to the cloud.

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Wesley Johnston, TIA CEO, told FierceTelecom that it sees an opportunity to grow while creating member value by adding more specialized capabilities.

Wesley Johnston

“There are a lot of associations out there, including 30 focused on cybersecurity alone, and we see opportunities for growth,” Johnston said. “We have had an ongoing partnership with QuEST Forum around benchmarking. The more we go to know Fraser [Pajak] and his team and the product suite, the culture and how the solution set fits with ours, it became a really easy conversation to move beyond partnership into merger.”

QuEST Fraser Pajak, CEO of QuEST Forum, agreed.


QuEST Forum
Fraser Pajak

“One of the main thrusts of our strategy was around collaboration,” Pajak said. “As we look at where the industry is going as it is transforming to a digital ecosystem, they need more broad value proposition from associations.”

Each organization brings plenty to the table.

By merging the two organizations, TIA and QuEST Forum expect to create access to a wider market for the combined portfolio and position the organization for long-term growth.

Specifically, QuEST Forum will bring its capabilities related to TL 9000 standard, which is the telecom industry’s extension to ISO 9001. The QuEST Forum community within TIA will continue to develop, implement and enhance the TL 9000 quality management system, along with sustainability standards and performance practices.

“QuEST has done a good job building out the TL 9000 quality management benchmarking program,” Johnston said. “When we took a look at that and the work they are doing, the intellectual property they built and the relationships with their members, we determined it was a perfect fit with not only our strategy, but also our solution set.”

Pajak said that combining TIA’s standards focus with QuEST Forum’s benchmarking will provide more capabilities for the telecom industry to advance new network configurations and services.

“Measurements and standards go together,” Pajak said. “If you took a look at what made the internet explode, it was when there was enough standards and enough measurements for rapid innovation and as the telecom industry transforms itself into this digital ecosystem it needs that support.”

Besides the TL 9000 standard expertise, QuEST Forum will enhance TIA’s global reach. QuEST Forum has significant presence in international countries across the Asia Pacific region and in Europe, complementing TIA’s North American focus.

TIA’s current location in Arlington, Virginia, will become the headquarters for the combined organization. The combined organization will continue to have an office in Plano, Texas, where most of the current QuEST Forum staff are based, as well as a QuEST Forum location in Shenzhen, China.

The board of directors for both TIA and QuEST Forum will be combined into a single board.