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AT&T Inc. ( ) is the largest provider of local, long distance telephone services in the United States, and also serves digital subscriber line Internet access and digital television. AT&T is the second largest provider of wireless service in the United States, with over 81.6 million wireless customers, and more than 150 million total customers. AT&T, Inc. was formed in 2005, when "Baby Bell" SBC Communications Inc. purchased former "Ma Bell" AT&T Corporation. The newly merged company took on the iconic AT&T moniker and T stock-trading symbol (for "telephone").

The current AT&T includes eleven of the original Bell Operating Companies, and the original long distance division. While it reconstitutes much of the former Bell System, AT&T Inc. lacks the vertical integration of the historic AT&T Corp., which prompted United States v. AT&T, the antitrust suit that led to the breakup in 1984 (which was ultimately settled by the Modification of Final Judgment in 1982.) The company is headquartered in downtown Dallasmarker, Texasmarker.

The company was honored at the 2008 Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards for development of coaxial cable technology.

History

AT&T Corporation acquisition

SBC-AT&T legacy transition logo, used 2005–2006


On January 31, 2005, SBC announced that it would purchase AT&T Corp. for more than $16 billion. The announcement came almost 8 years after SBC and AT&T called off their first merger talks and nearly a year after initial merger talks between AT&T Corp. and BellSouth fell apart. AT&T stockholders, meeting in Denver, approved the merger on June 30, 2005. The U.S.marker Department of Justicemarker cleared the merger on October 27, 2005, and the Federal Communications Commission approved it on October 31, 2005.

The merger was finalized on November 18, 2005. Upon the completion of the merger, SBC Communications adopted the AT&T branding, and changed its corporate name to AT&T Inc. to differentiate the company from the former AT&T Corporation. On December 1, 2005, the merged company's New York Stock Exchangemarker ticker symbol changed from "SBC" to the traditional "T" used by AT&T.

The new AT&T updated the former AT&T's graphic logo; however the existing AT&T sound trademark (voiced by Pat Fleet) continues to be used.

BellSouth acquisition

On Friday December 29, 2006, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the new AT&T's acquisition of regional Bell operating company BellSouth, valued at approximately $86 billion (or 1.325 shares of AT&T for each share of BellSouth at the close of trading December 29, 2006). The new combined company retained the name AT&T. The deal consolidated ownership of both Cingular Wireless and Yellowpages.com, once joint ventures between BellSouth and AT&T. All services, including wireless, became offered under the AT&T name.

2007–2008 restructuring

Transition to new media



In June 2007, AT&T's new chairman and CEO, Randall Stephenson, discussed how wireless services are the core of "The New AT&T". With declining sales of traditional home phone lines, AT&T plans to roll out various new media such as VideoShare, U-verse, and to extend its reach in high speed Internet into rural areas across the country. AT&T announced on June 29, 2007, however, that it was acquiring Dobson Communications. It was then reported on October 2, 2007 that AT&T would purchase Interwise for $121 million, which it completed on November 2, 2007. On October 9, 2007, AT&T purchased 12 MHz of spectrum in the prime 700 MHz spectrum band from privately-held Aloha Partners for nearly $2.5 billion; the deal was approved by the FCC on February 4, 2008. On December 4, 2007 AT&T announced plans to acquire Edge Wireless, a regional GSM carrier in the Pacific Northwest. The Edge Wireless acquisition was completed in April 2008.

Payphone removal



On December 3, 2007, AT&T announced it would remove all of its 65,000 remaining payphones by the end of 2008. BellSouth already had removed its payphones years before being acquired by AT&T, and Qwest sold its pay telephone services in 2004. Verizon Communications will be the only Baby Bell that will continue to operate pay telephones following the removal of AT&T pay telephones, and currently has no interest in leaving the business.

Corporate headquarters move

On June 27, 2008, AT&T announced that it will move its corporate headquarters from 175 East Houston Street in San Antoniomarker to One AT&T Plaza in Downtown Dallasmarker. The company said that it moved to gain better access to its customers and operations throughout the world, and to the key technology partners, suppliers, innovation and human resources needed as it continues to grow, domestically and internationally

It is expected to involve about 700 of the company's nearly 6,000 San Antonio-based employees.

AT&T Inc. previously relocated its corporate headquarters to San Antonio from St. Louismarker in 1992, when it was then named Southwestern Bell Corporation. The company's Telecom Operations group, which serves residential and regional business customers in 22 U.S. states, will remain in San Antonio.

Atlantamarker will continue to be the headquarters for AT&T Mobility, with significant offices in Redmond, Washingtonmarker, the former home of AT&T Wireless. Bedminstermarker, New Jerseymarker will continue to be the headquarters for the company's Global Business Services group and AT&T Labs. St. Louismarker will continue as home to the company's Directory operations, AT&T Advertising & Publishing.

Job cuts

On December 4, 2008, AT&T announced they would be cutting 12,000 jobs due to "economic pressures, a changing business mix and a more streamlined organizational structure".

Post-consolidation wireless acquisitions

Cellular One acquisition

On June 29, 2007 AT&T announced that they had reached an agreement to purchase Dobson Cellular, which provided services in the US under the name Cellular One in primarily rural areas. The closing price was $2.8B USD, or $13 per share. AT&T also agreed to assume the outstanding debt of $2.3B USD. The sale completed on November 15, 2007, with market transition beginning December 9, 2007.

Centennial acquisition

On November 11, 2008, AT&T announced a $944 million buyout of Centennial Communications Corp. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval, the approval of Centennial’s stockholders and other customary closing conditions. Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, Centennial’s largest stockholder, has agreed to vote in support of this transaction. In an attempt to quell regulators, on May 9, 2009 AT&T entered an agreement with Verizon Wireless to sell off certain existing Centennial service areas in the states of Louisiana and Mississippi for $240 million pending the successful merger of AT&T and Centennial.

Wayport acquisition

On , AT&T acquired Wayport, Inc., a major provider of Internet hotspots in the United States. With the acquisition, AT&T's public Wi-Fi deployment climbed to 20,000 hotspots in the United States, the most of any U.S. provider.

Bell operating companies

AT&T payphone signage


Of the twenty-two Bell Operating Companies which AT&T owned prior to the 1984 agreement to divest, eleven (BellSouth Telecommunications combines two former BOCs) have become a part of the new AT&T Inc. with the completion of their acquisition of BellSouth Corporation on December 29, 2006:



Former operating companies

The following companies have gone to defunct status under SBC/AT&T ownership:

Corporate structure



AT&T Inc. has retained the holding companies it has acquired over the years resulting in the following corporate structure:

Corporate governance

AT&T's current board of directors:



Criticism and controversies

Contributions to political campaigns

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, AT&T is the United States' second largest donor to political campaigns, having contributed more than US$ 36 million since 1990, 56% and 44% of which went to Republican and Democratic recipients, respectively. A key political issue for AT&T is the question of which businesses win the right to profit by providing broadband internet access in the United States.

In 2005, AT&T was among 53 entities that contributed the maximum of $250,000 to the second inauguration of President George W. Bush.

Censorship controversy

In August 2007, the band Pearl Jam performed in Chicago at Lollapalooza which was being web-broadcast by AT&T. The band, while playing the song "Daughter", started playing a version of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall" but with altered lyrics critical of president George Bush. These lyrics included "George Bush, leave this world alone!" and, "George Bush, find yourself another home!". Listeners to AT&T's web broadcast heard only the first line because the rest was censored although, AT&T spokesman Michael Coe said that the silencing was "a mistake."

In September 2007, AT&T changed their legal policy to state that "AT&T may immediately terminate or suspend all or a portion of your Service, any Member ID, electronic mail address, IP address, Universal Resource Locator or domain name used by you, without notice for conduct that AT&T believes"..."(c) tends to damage the name or reputation of AT&T, or its parents, affiliates and subsidiaries." By October 10, 2007 AT&T had altered the terms and conditions for its Internet service to explicitly support freedom of expression by its subscribers, after an outcry claiming the company had given itself the right to censor its subscribers' transmissions.

Section 5.1 of AT&T's new terms of service now reads "AT&T respects freedom of expression and believes it is a foundation of our free society to express differing points of view. AT&T will not terminate, disconnect or suspend service because of the views you or we express on public policy matters, political issues or political campaigns."

On July 26, 2009, AT&T customers were unable to access certain sections of the image board 4chan, specifically /b/ (the "random" board) and /r9k/ (the "ROBOT 9000" board, a spin-off of the random board). However, by the morning of Monday, July 27, the block had been lifted and access to the affected boards was restored. AT&T's official reason for the block was that a distributed denial of service attack had originated from the img.4chan.org server, and access was blocked to stop the attack. Major news outlets have reported that the issue may be related to DDoSing of 4chan and IP spoofing of 4chan and that the suspicions of 4chan users fell on the owner of Anontalk.com for doing this. Alm has been reported in the past to have DDoSed 4chan.

Privacy controversy

In 2006, the Electronic Frontier Foundation lodged a class action lawsuit, Hepting v. AT&T, which alleged that AT&T had allowed agents of the National Security Agencymarker (NSA) to monitor phone and Internet communications of AT&T customers without warrants. If true, this would violate the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 and the First and Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. AT&T has yet to confirm or deny that monitoring by the NSA is occurring. In April 2006, a retired former AT&T technician, Mark Klein, lodged an affidavit supporting this allegation. The Department of Justicemarker has stated they will intervene in this lawsuit by means of State Secrets Privilege.

In May 2006, USA Today reported that all international and domestic calling records had been handed over to the National Security Agencymarker by AT&T, Verizon, SBC, and BellSouth for the purpose of creating a massive calling database. The portions of the new AT&T that had been part of SBC Communications before November 18, 2005 were not mentioned.

On June 21, 2006, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that AT&T had rewritten rules on their privacy policy. The policy, which took effect June 23, 2006, says that "AT&T — not customers — owns customers' confidential info and can use it 'to protect its legitimate business interests, safeguard others, or respond to legal process.' "

On August 22, 2007, National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell confirmed that AT&T was one of the telecommunications companies that assisted with the government's warrantless wire-tapping program on calls between foreign and domestic sources.

On November 8, 2007, Mark Klein, a former AT&T technician, told Keith Olbermann of MSNBC that all Internet traffic passing over AT&T lines was copied into a locked room at the company's San Francisco office — to which only employees with National Security Agency clearance had access.

Intellectual property filtering

In January 2008, the company reported plans to begin filtering all Internet traffic which passes through its network for intellectual property violations. Commentators in the media have speculated that if this plan is implemented, it would lead to a mass exodus of subscribers leaving AT&T, although this is misleading as Internet traffic may go through the company's network anyway. Internet freedom proponents used these developments as justification for government-mandated network neutrality.

Discrimination against local public access channels

AT&T is accused by community media groups of discriminating against local public-access television, also known as PEG ("public, education, government") channels, by "imposing unfair restrictions that will severely restrict the audience".

According to Barbara Popovic, Executive Director of the Chicago public-access service CAN-TV, the new AT&T U-verse system forces all public access television into a special menu system, denying normal functionality such as channel numbers, access to the standard program guide, and DVR recording. The Ratepayer Advocates division of the California Public Utilities Commission reported: "Instead of putting the stations on individual channels, AT&T has bundled community stations into a generic channel that can only be navigated through a complex and lengthy process."

Sue Buske (president of telecommunications consulting firm the Buske Group and a former head of the National Federation of Local Cable Programmers/Alliance for Community Media) argue that this is "an overall attack [...] on public access across the [United States], the place in the dial around cities and communities where people can make their own media in their own communities".

Naming rights and sponsorships

Buildings



Venues



Sponsorships

AT&T sponsors the annual Red River Rivalry football game




Fleet

The AT&T fleet includes the following aircraft types (at November 2009):

See also



References

External links

Corporate information



Articles




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