TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Cingular, AT&T ?

Re: Cingular, AT&T ?

Mike Z (
Wed, 09 May 2007 23:15:07 +0000

Pat, do NOT display my email address in this posting!

Patrick Townson wrote:

> Southwestern Bell (SBC) bought AT&T.

True. SBC bought out what remained of AT&T, which is mostly the old
AT&T Long Lines, in late 2005, and then changed the name of everything
to "lowercase" at&t.

> _Prior_to SBC's acquistion of AT&T, AT&T had independently on
> its own purchased BellSouth.


BellSouth as a new entity, was spun-out of AT&T effective 1-Jan-1984
atq divestiture, as the new holding company of the two southeastern US
BOCs: The South Central Bell Telephone Company (no Telegraph here),
and Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Company.

The recent change of BellSouth into the at&t name is VERY recent,
only as of late Dec.2006 / early Jan.2007, when SBC's at&t finally
gets the regulatory go-ahead to buy out BellSouth. More on that later.

> Southwestern Bell (SBC) and BellSouth were the joint owners of
> Cingular Wireless.

True. This joint venture took effect sometime in Spring or Summer 2000
if I have my dates correct. And as stated by others and myself in
earlier posts, SBC owned 60% of Cingular, and BellSouth owned 40%.
The HQ were placed in BellSouth's HQ city of Atlanta GA, probably as a
concession to BellSouth being the minority holder of Cingular. This
joint-venture "merged" the old SBC Mobility (or Southwestern Bell
Mobility), and BellSouth Mobility.

> So now, Southwestern Bell (SBC) and the (AT&T/BellSouth combo) were
> the joint owners of Cingular Wireless.

This is true, but only as far as SBC and (separate) BellSouth being
the joint-owners of Cingular.

HOWEVER, pre-SBC AT&T was NOT part of this "mix" at that time, with
the exception of the old Macaw Wireless which was purchased by AT&T
and thus named AT&T Wireless ... which only a few short years ago
being sold off MOSTLY to Cingular, but also to Alltel Wireless for a
few markets. But pre-SBC AT&T did NOT have ANY ownership over
BellSouth whatsoever in the post-divestiture period.

> Then, Southwestern Bell (SBC) bought out the AT&T/BellSouth combo,
> and changed its corporate name to at&t. So now, the 'new' at&t
> becomes the sole owner of Cingular Wireless. Is that all as clear
> as mud?

Well, it is muddied somewhat, since pre-SBC AT&T did NOT own any of
BellSouth at all, especially since BellSouth was created with the
1984 breakup of AT&T's "Bell System".

SBC bought out AT&T and changed the name of the entire operation to
lowercase at&t in late 2005. They then made an offer to buy out
BellSouth, this offer took about a year of regulatory investigation
before the final regulatory and government go-ahead nod was given for
SBC's at&t to buy out BellSouth at the end of 2006/ beginning of 2007.
It's only now, Spring 2007, where BellSouth is finally being
re-branded as lowercase at&t. And now that SBC's at&t owns BellSouth,
it puts Cingular under complete "at&t" control, so even Cingular is
now slowly starting to be re-branded "at&t mobility". It hasn't yet
been that widely announced, but to keep the former Cingular, wireless,
side of at&t with a sort of "separate, wireless" identity, it will
most likely be known as at&t mobility, although right now, the
promotion is simply that "Cingular is now (the new) at&t", presently
without any reference to the added word "mobility".

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