TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Cincinnati Bell and SNET (was Cingular & at&t)

Re: Cincinnati Bell and SNET (was Cingular & at&t)
Thu, 17 May 2007 09:11:07 EDT

In a message dated 14 May 2007 07:15:38 -0700, writes:

> On May 13, 3:54 am, Mike Z <> wrote:

>> While it is true that pre-divestiture AT&T owned less than 50% of
>> Cincinnati Bell and Connecticut's SNET (Southern New England Tel), and
>> that Judge Greene treated each one "separately" for the 1984
>> divestiture, AT&T did consider both to be "Bell" telcos prior to
>> 1984. Both of them were fully able to participate in Western Electric
>> and Bell Labs licensing, patents, trademarks, products, technology,
>> etc. Both of these "partially AT&T held" telcos also used the "Bell"
>> logo all throughout the pre-1984 "Bell System" history.

> I believe that the AT&T's ownership and influence was strong enough
> that those companies appeared to be just like other Bell companies.

> Despite the Bell Systems very extensive standardization* there were
> differences between the individual companies and even within a
> company. Part of this came from state PUC mandates. In terms of
> business office computerization, some companies used Univac, some used
> IBM and obviously not a standard set of commercial (billing, payroll)
> software.

I can assure you that Cincinnati Bell and SNET were well aware that
they were "associated" companies, not subsidiaries. SWBT had a
program, at least in certain departments, to send managers to AT&T in
New York for a month for a sort of familiarization and to understand
what AT&T headquarters did.

Of course, some of the AT&T groups didn't know exactly what to do with
these visitors, but several times I was given the assignment of
calling the different companies to give them instructions or

The responses from Cincinnati Bell and SNET were significantly
different than those of the other Bell companies, which were owned all
or almost all by AT&T. Cincinnati Bell and SNET would simply thank
you for the information and might or might not do what AT&T wanted.

What defined a "Bell company" was the "license agreement," in which
AT&T granted the associated company the right to use the "Bell" name
and patents and various other rights and obligations. (I was the
keeper of a good deal of historical information and documentation
about Bell in Oklahoma, and I came across the original "license
agreement" dating from 1904 or 1905 making the Pioneer Telephone
Company, formerly an independent company, a Bell company under the
name of Pioneer Telephone and Telegraph Company. This was concurrent
with the acquisition of Pioneer by AT&T.)

Cincinnati Bell, SNET and Bell of Canada were the three companies that
had the "license agreement" with AT&T but were not owned and
controlled by AT&T. Eventually AT&T's ownership of Bell Canada fell
to 4 per cent or less; for Cincinnati Bell and SNET I believe it was a
little higher but both companies were public companies with stock
listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Wes Leatherock

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