SBC Communications to adopt AT&T name

BANGALORE: US telecom major SBC Communication's $16 billion purchase of AT&T was cleared by United States Department of Justice (DOJ) yesterday. And soon after, SBC announced its decision to adopt the fabled AT&T brand name as the combined company pursues a global footprint. The new company will unveil a fresh, new logo as well.

"The AT&T name has a proud and storied heritage, as well as unparalleled recognition around the globe among both businesses and consumers," said SBC Communications chairman & CEO Edward E. Whitacre Jr. "No name is better-suited than AT&T to represent the new company's passion to deliver innovation, reliability, quality, integrity and unsurpassed customer care. This is the brand that will lead the industry in delivering the next generation of communications and entertainment services."

The transition to the new brand will be heavily promoted with the largest multimedia advertising and marketing campaign in either company's history, as well as through other promotional initiatives. At close, the company will also announce the stock market ticker symbol it intends to use.

The famed AT&T brand will be used in a broad array of services offered by the family of companies. The brand transition will begin immediately upon merger close, along with the integration of networks, product and service portfolios, and customer care systems. The new brand will be incorporated into product and service offerings, and will appear on bills and correspondence, as well as on company buildings.

With these traits and long heritage, the AT&T brand will provide a strong platform as the combined company leads the industry's evolution to a new generation of Internet Protocol (IP)-based services, which can be delivered via wireline or wireless networks to any number of enabled devices such as mobile phones, PCs and hand-held digital devices.

Though there is a huge brand value in AT&T, there are two concerns: first, it is an aged brand, being over 120 years old; secondly, it is known as being just a phone company. It will, thus, be vital to educate the consumers on the wide range of services the company will offer: internet telephony, interactive video, high-speed internet access, cellphone and Wi-Fi services.

SBC provides local and other phone services mostly in the Southwest, Midwest and in California. With the merger, the company aims to become a full-scale provider of communications services such as local calling, long-distance, wireless, Internet access and even television in the US.

SBC was born when the AT&T monopoly was broken up by the federal government in the 80s. AT&T's dissolution in 1984 gave birth to Southwestern Bell Corp. and six other similar regional companies (the so-called Baby Bells), which concentrated on local phone service.

Southwestern Bell Corp. was renamed to SBC Corp when it acquired a pair of its sibling Baby Bells. This was when the Congress passed a major overhaul of U.S. telecommunications laws in 1996. With the expansion, the company began to offer long distance telephone services. The competition saw AT&T losing its consumer market share significantly. The company was left with its core business of long-distance network services for corporations. The company was left with limited options to survive and the executives preferred a merger.

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