A day in the life of a tester

At O2 we pride ourselves on making sure every phone we sell will give our customers a great experience when you use it. But what does that actually mean? We sat down with Chetan, part of the testing team in our Slough HQ, to find out…


Why do we test new products?
Very simply, we want happy customers. When you choose to spend your time and money with O2 and get a new phone, you expect it to work properly. So we work closely with the manufacturers to make sure we are satisfied that their phones work how they are supposed to.

Who does the testing?
We have teams of expert engineers who know mobile phones and our network inside out. Some of them are focussed on working with specific manufacturers to get their products through our approval process in time for launch. Others concentrate on establishing and running test processes to check those phones are good enough to be approved by O2.

How do we test new products?
First, we establish how the specific feature in question should work. Once we know that, our experts investigate the best way of testing it. For example, whether we need specialist equipment and what steps need to be followed. We then put every product that has that feature through those tests. We also try to understand what the impact to a customer would be if that feature did not work properly. For example, if you bought a phone with a camera and that camera didn’t take pictures it would clearly be unacceptable! I’ll be sharing more details about this in future blog entries.

What if a phone fails a test?
If a phone fails any of our tests, we work really closely with the manufacturer to make sure the issue is resolved. Occasionally, we think the issue is bad enough that we make the difficult decision to delay launch. It’s our last resort and we do everything we can to avoid it but, we see it as our responsibility to protect you. You have chosen to spend your money with O2 and it’s only fair we do everything we can to make sure we sell you good products and services.

Well why did I still find a problem with my phone?
We do hundreds of tests before launch, and the manufacturers do even more than that, but sometimes things aren’t spotted before launch. We’re very sorry if you found a problem. Full production of a phone in the factories usually doesn’t start until we’ve given approval. That means the handsets we receive for testing are often hand-built or from a line of prototypes. Sometimes slight errors in the way phones are mass produced can cause problems that didn’t exist before launch. Other defects might be intermittent and may not be found until there are many of them in use.

We are also working with our O2 Gurus to help our customers understand how to use their phones. With all of the features now on phones sometimes they don’t work as you’d first expect. It’s very easy to think “it’s not working” but often a quick demo by a Guru in store or on Guru TV can really help.

We’ll be talking with the testing team more over the next few weeks – if you’ve got any burning testing questions leave them in the comments below and we’ll put them to them!