TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Hanging up on the New Ma Bell

Re: Hanging up on the New Ma Bell
9 Dec 2005 10:04:31 -0800

> "the new Ma Bell"

Too many journalists writing about AT&T these days still use the term
"Ma Bell". That's inaccurate. Ma Bell isn't going away, it's been
long gone.

"Ma Bell" referred to the old AT&T Bell System pre-divesture. It
referred to the old system, somewhat negatively, of when Bell owned
all equipment and long distance, and supplied 100% of customers needs.
Once AT&T divested the local companies, it ceased being the old Ma
Bell. It quickly evolved into other types of business. It even lost
the "Bell" name. The old AT&T died at divesture.

If anything, the term "Ma Bell" is more accurately applied to the
divested companies since they still have monopoly control in some
areas and operate more of the traditional services. They use the Bell
name and logo. (Verizon still prints the "Bell Telephone Company of
Pennsylvania" on its literature and puts the Bell logo on its

People, knowing my interest in telephones, ask me how I feel about
"AT&T going away". I answer it went away long ago at divesture.

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