A Full Guide To Telecom Testing (With Tools, Test Cases, and Best Practices)

A Comprehensive Guide to Telecom Testing


We live in a highly interconnected world, and that interconnectedness couldn’t have existed without the tremendous contributions from the telecommunications industry. With 5G technology finally becoming mainstream, IoT growing at a rapid rate, and AI tech gaining prominence, the telecom industry is surely up for an exciting future. This faster-than-ever growth comes with the need for robust, continuous telecom testing to always maintain a high standard of service quality.

In this article, we will explore in-depth the need for telecom testing, common challenges, pitfalls, as well as best practices in this domain. 

What is Telecom Testing?

Telecom testing is the process of testing telecommunications systems, services, and networks to ensure their functionality, performance, and reliability. The purpose of telecom testing is to maintain and enhance the user experience at a high level while still ensuring adherence to industry standards. 

Telecom testing is uniquely complex due to the wide variety of technologies employed, such as voice, data, or multimedia services, each governed by their own protocols that can all affect each other. As digital transformation accelerates and expectations from users rise, QA teams must also deliver quality at higher velocity, making robust telecom testing a true feat to achieve.

Benefits of Telecom Testing

  • Enhanced User Experience: there has been a gradual rise in customer expectations in the telecom industry, demanding telecom providers to deliver personalized experiences, seamless omnichannel services, and quick issue resolution. At such a level of complexity, conducting comprehensive testing strategically is key to identifying opportunities for optimization and improvements, bringing superior UX.
  • Reliable Services: Telecom services must be consistently accessible and accurate, especially in critical situations and emergencies, where reliable telecom services can provide essential assistance and save so many lives.
  • Optimization Of Network Resources: providing services for millions of users on a daily basis, telecom companies must make informed decisions on how to allocate their resources efficiently to achieve high-speed data services. Performance testing provides insights to not only help them achieve that but also plan for unexpected rise in user loads.
  • Data Security and Privacy: as a field that relies heavily on data transmission, data security and privacy is among the top concerns. Concerns regarding cyber-attacks and data breaches are not new, and industry leaders must always be prepared. Their encryption protocols, authentication, and protection measures are always under check.
  • Adoption of Emerging Technologies: emerging technologies such as 5G, IoT, and AI-driven services will surely open up a new wave of digital applications and services. While exciting, new technologies may also bring in new issues that we have never encountered before. Moving forward fast should never mean making compromises on quality, and proper testing will be the guiding light for industry leaders.
  • Regulatory Compliance: given the vast amounts of sensitive information stored on complex telco networks, it is easy to see why companies in this field must always demonstrate a strong commitment to industry standards. Testing is a way to check if system design adheres with those standards.

Understanding the Telecom Domain in Testing

When performing telecom testing, testers must be equipped with both “telecom” knowledge and “testing” knowledge. Having telecom domain knowledge enables them to design more relevant test scenarios to the specific systems under test.

Generally before each test session, stakeholders and subject matter experts will sit with the testing team to provide them with the information that they will need, but a solid understanding of how telecom systems definitely benefits them in the long run. Several advantages of having a strong domain knowledge include:

  • Easier time of designing and executing test strategy specifically for telecommunication services and technologies, covering all critical aspects
  • More accurately replicate real-life scenarios in the telecom industry
  • Better identify potential issues and risks at an early stage
  • Easier exploratory testing, where testers have to proactively explore the telecom system without predefined test cases to catch bugs
  • More effective communication among testing teams, developers, and other stakeholders thanks to accurate use of telecom terminology
  • Higher productivity in general
  • Understanding of telecom business processes reduces the need for training

Here is a basic list of concepts to read up on:

  • Cellular Networks (3G, 4G, 5G)
  • Voice over IP (VoIP)
  • Fiber Optics
  • Roaming and Handover
  • Signal Propagation
  • Network Topologies
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Network Security
  • Spectrum Allocation
  • Broadband Technologies
  • Call Routing
  • Data Compression
  • Telecommunications Standards
  • Mobile Apps and Services
  • Network Virtualization
  • Satellite Communication
  • Billing and Charging Systems

Telecom domain knowledge includes more than just the mechanisms of telecom technologies. It’s also about understanding the specific requirements and expectations of different telecom services. For more information, you can have a look at Accenture benchmarking reports for the global telecom industry. These reports set the standard for a wide variety of telecom metrics across more than 200 networks and 120+ countries, providing you with valuable insights to base your testing against.

Business Processes in Telecom Industry

Simply put, telecommunications enable individuals and businesses to communicate and exchange information on a global scale. It is the backbone of the digital economy, ensuring a seamless connection between us. Key activities and processes in this industry include:

  • Network Infrastructure Development:
    • Enables reliable communication by building the physical foundation of networks.
    • Supports seamless data transmission, connecting individuals and devices globally.
    • Sets the stage for deploying advanced technologies and services.
  • Telecom Services Provisioning:
    • Facilitates communication, collaboration, and access to information.
    • Meets diverse communication needs, from voice calls to multimedia content.
    • Drives economic growth by connecting businesses and individuals.
  • Network Management:
    • Ensures optimal network performance, minimizing service disruptions.
    • Maintains quality of service for a positive user experience.
    • Enhances network efficiency and reliability through monitoring and optimization.
  • Network Operations:
    • Monitors network health and addresses issues promptly.
    • Keeps communication channels open and functioning seamlessly.
    • Prevents downtime and ensures consistent service availability.
  • CRM (Customer Relationship Management):
    • Builds trust by addressing customer inquiries and issues.
    • Fosters customer loyalty through positive interactions.
    • Improves customer satisfaction and brand reputation.
  • Regulatory Compliance:
    • Ensures legal adherence, avoiding penalties and business interruptions.
    • Protects customer data privacy and maintains industry credibility.
    • Provides a framework for fair competition and industry growth.
  • Service Differentiation and Innovation:
    • Sets businesses apart with unique offerings and features.
    • Meets changing customer needs, enhancing customer loyalty.
    • Drives revenue growth by attracting new customers and retaining existing ones.
  • Billing Management:
    • Ensures accurate billing, preventing disputes and customer dissatisfaction.
    • Enables efficient revenue collection, sustaining business operations.
    • Supports transparent financial interactions between customers and providers.
  • Emergency Services:
    • Saves lives by enabling timely access to emergency assistance.
    • Ensures accurate location information for effective emergency response.
    • Enhances public safety and societal well-being.
  • Network Expansion:
    • Provides coverage to underserved areas, bridging digital divides.
    • Supports growing communication needs in a connected world.
    • Accommodates increasing demand for data and services.
  • R&D (Research and Development):
    • Drives innovation and keeps the industry competitive.
    • Spurs technological advancements that benefit users and businesses.
    • Fuels the development of new services and solutions.

All of these core processes require robust testing to maintain their quality. For example, in network infrastructure development, testing ensures that the physical components of the network are properly installed and optimized. For telecom service provisioning, QA teams want to approach testing from the perspective of the user, ensuring that they can access and enjoy the services without disruptions.



See How You Can Better Test Telecom Software



OSS and BSS in Telecommunications

These key activities can be broadly divided into 2 major categories: 

  • OSS (Operations Support System): softwares, devices, and apps designed to manage the more technical aspects of a telecommunications network
  • BSS (Business Support System): any systems designed to support the business side of the telecom services (billing, CRM, service delivery, etc.)

While Operations Support Systems (OSS) and Business Support Systems (BSS) serve distinct aspects within a telecom business, they often join forces to enhance the full spectrum of telecommunications services.

Operations support systems and business support systems leverage the capabilities of cloud computing, automation tools, and data analytics. This collaborative approach streamlines functions across the entire telecommunications organization, spanning both internal operations and customer interactions. The strategic integration of OSS and BSS empowers telecom providers to effortlessly link customers with dependable technology solutions.

Furthermore, given the intrinsic connection between customer concerns and network issues, it's logical for these two systems to synchronize their efforts. The cooperative utilization of OSS and BSS equips telecom enterprises to surmount industry hurdles, provide steadfast network services, and enhance the overall customer experience. This unified approach drives innovation, resilience, and customer satisfaction within the telecom ecosystem.

A typical workflow in the telecom industry should look like this:

  1. Perform market research to understand customer needs
  2. Design the network architecture based on the insights gained from research
  3. Perform capacity planning to ensure the network can handle expected traffic.
  4. Install and configure the physical network architecture (switches, routers, base stations, etc.)
  5. Set up communication links among those touchpoints
  6. Perform functional testing to ensure that the system delivers features as expected
  7. Activate services based on customer requests
  8. Capture customer information and set up their profiles in CRM system
  9. Monitor performance metrics to ensure service quality for users
  10. Rate usage based on service plans, tariff structures, and pricing policies.
  11. Generate invoices and bills for customers, including itemized usage details.
  12. Handle customer inquiries, complaints, and technical issues through customer support channels.
  13. Identify potential issues and bottlenecks to address and improve
  14. Research and develop new telecom services and features to stay competitive.

Testing Life Cycle in Telecom Industry

Similar to any other industry, the testing life cycle in the Telecom industry also follows the standard stages of the Software Testing Life Cycle (STLC), including 6 stages:

  1. Requirement Analysis
  2. Test Planning
  3. Test Case Development
  4. Environment Setup
  5. Test Execution
  6. Test Cycle Closure

Software Testing Life Cycle by Katalon

In the Requirement Analysis phase, testers and relevant stakeholders sit together to discuss what they want to achieve in the project. There are 3 sides: the Product Owner, the Developer, and the Tester, each with their own distinct approach. It is the difference in the “language” they use to communicate their ideas that creates the need for BDD testing, which is a way to craft user stories and scenarios in business-readable language instead of technical language so that anyone involved can all understand what’s going on.

After that, with the Requirements ready, testers develop a detailed test plan to outline which test cases to prepare and the specific environment configurations needed to execute those test cases effectively. Test execution is scheduled, and results collected will be deep-dived to uncover insights for informed decision-making and future references.

Examples of Telecom Test Cases


Test Case


Call Connectivity Test

Verify successful call establishment and satisfactory call quality between two numbers.

SMS Functionality Test

Test sending and receiving SMS messages with accurate content and order.

Data Connection Test

Access various websites and verify consistent data speeds for different network types.

Roaming Functionality Test

Test seamless switching between home and roaming networks with uninterrupted services.

Voicemail Functionality Test

Test leaving, saving, and retrieving voicemail messages accurately.

Call Waiting Test

Test call waiting by holding one call and answering another, ensuring seamless switching.

Conference Call Test

Test creating and participating in multi-participant conference calls with clear communication.

Call Forwarding Test

Test forwarding settings, enabling, disabling, and modifying call forwarding as needed.

Network Coverage Test

Test signal strength in different areas (urban, rural, indoor, outdoor) for reliability.

Emergency Call Test

Test making emergency calls even with limited coverage, ensuring successful connections.

Balance and Usage Test

Test checking account balance and usage details for accurate information.

International Roaming Test

Test using services while roaming abroad, verifying charges and service functionality.

Call Drops and Handover Test

Test seamless call handovers between cell towers, ensuring no call drops.

Network Switch Test

Test device's ability to switch between different network technologies based on availability.

Network Compatibility Test

Test device's compatibility with various network bands and frequencies.

SIM Card Functionality Test

Test inserting, removing, and replacing SIM cards, ensuring proper recognition.

Caller ID Test

Test accurate display of caller information during incoming calls.

Network Congestion Test

Test device's performance and call quality during peak usage hours.

App-based Services Test

Test functionality and usability of telecom-related apps.

Phone Compatibility Test

Test device's support for telecom services and features provided by the provider.

Popular Telecom Testing Tools

Tool Name


What it does


Network protocol analyzer for packet-level inspection

Wireshark captures and analyzes network traffic, making it essential for diagnosing and troubleshooting network issues. It can decode a wide range of protocols and offers real-time monitoring.

Spirent TestCenter

Network testing and analysis solution

Spirent TestCenter performs comprehensive testing of network equipment and services, including traffic generation, network emulation, and performance testing.


Network and application testing platform

Ixia provides testing solutions for network performance, security, and application testing. It simulates real-world traffic conditions to identify issues and vulnerabilities.

Hammer Call Analyzer

Voice quality and call performance analysis tool

Hammer Call Analyzer assesses voice quality, call setup, and performance for VoIP and telecom networks. It helps identify voice-related issues and improve call quality.


SIP protocol testing tool for VoIP applications

SIPp tests the functionality and performance of SIP-based VoIP systems. It generates SIP traffic, simulates calls, and measures call quality.


Cloud-based active network testing and monitoring

Netrounds offers active testing of network services by generating synthetic traffic and measuring performance. It's ideal for ensuring quality of service (QoS) for telecom services.


Network security and performance testing platform

BreakingPoint simulates realistic network traffic to test security infrastructure, identify vulnerabilities, and evaluate network performance under stress.


Testing automation platform for telecom systems

QualiTest provides end-to-end testing automation solutions for telecom systems, ensuring efficient and reliable testing processes.


Modular test solution for telecom and fiber optics

JDSU MTS offers a range of modules for testing telecom networks, including fiber optics, transport networks, and wireless technologies.


Challenges in Telecom Testing

Telecom testing is a complex and critical process due to the intricate nature of telecommunications systems and networks. 

  • Diverse Technologies: telecom networks comprise a wide mix of techs, making it challenging to test on all of them. For companies looking to establish an omnichannel presence (on web, desktop, mobile, etc.), testing becomes even more complex due to the additional AUTs
  • Fragmented Techstack: because of the diverse nature in the industry, companies don’t have a unified techstack to test telecom applications and software. Each system is tested individually using a different tool. This creates a silo in the team, where testing activities are fragmented, leading to a lack of centralized analytics for high-level view.
  • Interoperability: another issue that arises due to the complexity of telco networks is the need to ensure compatibility and seamless communication between different vendor products and technologies. Well-planned integration testing that covers all touchpoints between internal and external systems is key to ensure that.
  • Security Concerns: telecom networks handle sensitive user data, so we need security testing to address vulnerabilities and potential breaches to protect user information.

Testing Telecom Domain with Katalon

Katalon logo

Katalon is a comprehensive, AI-augmented quality management platform empowering testers to create, manage, and execute tests on a wide variety of environments. The struggles of testing across multiple networks for telecommunications system can be easily addressed:

  • UI, visual, API, and functional, and end-to-end testing on plenty of browser-device-OS combinations, all unified in one place
  • AI-powered features such as autonomous test case generation, self-healing, test failure analysis, and many more
  • Seamless Integrations into your existing CI/CD pipeline
  • Complete test data and test artifact management
  • Enterprise-grade security to protect your sensitive data and confidential information
  • Data-driven analytics and reporting for high-level decision-making and real-time visibility


Start Telecom Testing With Katalon Now