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This article is about the company known as AT&T since 2005. For the original AT&T (American Telephone and Telegraph) founded in 1885, see AT&T Corporation. For other uses, see AT&T (disambiguation).

"Southwestern Bell Corporation" redirects here. For the telephone company founded in 1882, see Southwestern Bell.

American multinational conglomerate holding company

AT&T Inc. is an American multinationalconglomerateholding company headquartered at Whitacre Tower in Downtown Dallas, Texas.[5] It is the world's largest telecommunications company, the largest provider of mobile telephone services, and the largest provider of fixed telephone services in the United States through AT&T Communications.

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Since June 14, 2018, it is also the parent company of mass media conglomerate WarnerMedia, making it the world's largest media and entertainment company in terms of revenue.[6] As of 2018[update], AT&T is ranked #9 on the Fortune 500 rankings of the largest United States corporations by total revenue.[7]

AT&T began its history as Southwestern Bell Telephone Company, a subsidiary of the Bell Telephone Company, founded by Alexander Graham Bell in 1877.

The Bell Telephone Company became the American Telephone and Telegraph Company in 1885 and was later rebranded as AT&T Corporation. The 1982 United States v. AT&Tantitrust lawsuit resulted in the divestiture of AT&T Corporation's ("Ma Bell") subsidiaries or Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs), commonly referred to as "Baby Bells", resulting in several independent companies, including Southwestern Bell Corporation; the latter changed its name to SBC Communications Inc. in 1995.

In 2005, SBC purchased its former parent AT&T Corporation and took on its branding, with the merged entity naming itself AT&T Inc. and using its iconic logo and stock-trading symbol. In 2006, AT&T Inc.

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acquired BellSouth, the last independent Baby Bell company, making their formerly joint venture Cingular Wireless (which had acquired AT&T Wireless in 2004) wholly owned and rebranding it as AT&T Mobility.

The current AT&T reconstitutes much of the former Bell System, and includes ten of the original 22 Bell Operating Companies along with the original long distance division.[8]


Further information: History of AT&T

Origin and growth (1885–1981)[edit]

See also: History of AT&T § Origins, and History of AT&T § Monopoly

AT&T traces its origins to the Bell Telephone Company, founded by Alexander Graham Bell, Gardiner Greene Hubbard, and Thomas Sanders after Bell's patenting of the telephone.[9] One of that company's subsidiaries was the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T), established in 1885,[10] which acquired the Bell Company on December 31, 1899, for legal reasons, leaving AT&T as the main company.

AT&T established a network of subsidiaries in the United States and Canada that held a phone service monopoly, authorized by government authorities with the Kingsbury Commitment, throughout most of the twentieth century. This monopoly was known as the Bell System,[11] and during this period, AT&T was also known by the nickname Ma Bell.[12] For periods of time, the former AT&T was the world's largest phone company.

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Breakup and reformation (1982–2004)[edit]

See also: Breakup of the Bell System and History of AT&T § Post break-up restructuring

In 1982, U.S. regulators broke up the AT&T monopoly, requiring AT&T to divest its regional subsidiaries and turning them each into individual companies.

These new companies were known as Regional Bell Operating Companies, or more informally, Baby Bells.[13] AT&T continued to operate long distance services, but as a result of this breakup, faced competition from new competitors such as MCI and Sprint.

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Southwestern Bell was one of the companies created by the breakup of AT&T Corp. The architect of divestiture for Southwestern Bell was Robert G.

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Pope. The company soon started a series of acquisitions.

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This includes the 1987 acquisition of Metromedia mobile business and the acquisition of several cable companies in the early 1990s. In the latter half of the 1990s, the company acquired several other telecommunications companies, including some Baby Bells, while selling its cable business.

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During this time, the company changed its name to SBC Communications. By 1998, the company was in the top 15 of the Fortune 500, and by 1999 the company was part of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (lasting through 2015).

Purchase of former parent and acquisitions (2005–2014)[edit]

See also: History of AT&T § Rise of SBC, and History of AT&T § Post-consolidation wireless acquisitions

In 2005, SBC purchased AT&T for $16 billion.

After this purchase, SBC adopted the better-known AT&T name and brand, with the original AT&T Corp.

still existing as the long-distance landline subsidiary of the merged company. The current AT&T claims the original AT&T Corp.'s history (dating to 1885) as its own.

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However, it retains SBC's 1983-2005 corporate structure.[14] It also retains SBC's pre-2005 stock price history, and all regulatory filings prior to 2005 are for Southwestern Bell/SBC, not AT&T Corp.

In September 2013, AT&T Inc. announced it would expand into Latin America through a collaboration with América Móvil.[15] In December 2013, AT&T announced plans to sell its Connecticut wireline operations to Stamford-based Frontier Communications.[16]

Recent developments (2014–present)[edit]

See also: History of AT&T § Recent developments

AT&T purchased the Mexican carrier Iusacell in late 2014,[17] and two months later purchased the Mexican wireless business of NII Holdings,[18] merging the two companies to create AT&T Mexico.

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In July 2015, AT&T purchased DirecTV for $48.5 billion, or $67.1 billion including assumed debt,[19] subject to certain conditions.[20][21] AT&T subsequently announced plans to converge its existing U-verse home internet and IPTV brands with DirecTV, to create AT&T Entertainment.[22][23][24]

On October 22, 2016, AT&T announced a deal to buy Time Warner for $108.7 billion in an effort to increase its media holdings.[26][27][28][29][30]

AT&T also owns approximately a 2% stake in Canadian-domiciled entertainment company Lionsgate.[31]

On July 13, 2017, it was reported that AT&T would introduce a cloud-basedDVR streaming service as part of its effort to create a unified platform across DirecTV and its DirecTV Now streaming service, with U-verse to be added soon.[32][33][34] In October 2018, it was announced that the service would launch in 2019.[35][36] Named HBO Max, the service's release date was pushed to 2020.[37]

On September 12, 2017, it was reported that AT&T planned to launch a new cable TV-like service for delivery over-the-top over its own or a competitor's broadband network sometime next year.[38]

On November 20, 2017, Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim filed a lawsuit for the United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division to block the merger with Time Warner, saying it "will harm competition, result in higher bills for consumers and less innovation."[39][40] In order for AT&T to fully acquire Time Warner, the Department of Justice stated that the company must divest either DirecTV or Turner Broadcasting System.[41]

As of 2017[update], AT&T is the world's largest telecommunications company.[42] AT&T is also the largest provider of mobile telephone[43][44] services and the largest provider of fixed telephone services in the United States.


On March 7, 2018, the company prepared to sell a minority stake of DirecTV Latin America through an IPO, creating a new holding company for those assets named Vrio Corp.[46][47] However, on April 18, just a day before the public debut of Vrio, AT&T canceled the IPO due to market conditions.[48][49]

On June 12, 2018, AT&T was given permission by U.S.

District Court Judge Richard J. Leon to go ahead with its $85 billion deal for Time Warner.

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The DOJ had attempted to stop the merger fearing it would harm competition.[50] The merger closed two days after, becoming a wholly owned subsidiary and division of AT&T with a new name, WarnerMedia, announced the next day.[51]

Three months after completing the acquisition, AT&T reorganized into four main units: Communications, including consumer and business wireline telephony, AT&T Mobility, and consumer entertainment video services; WarnerMedia, including Turner cable television networks, Warner Bros.

film and television production, and HBO; AT&T Latin America, consisting of wireless service in Mexico and video in Latin America and the Caribbean under the Vrio brand; and Advertising and Analytics, since renamed Xandr.[52][53]

By 2019, AT&T had developed partnerships with health care providers to develop mobile health-related connectivity devices that aid in patient care.

Key products include a telemetry device that monitors patient metrics, while toggling between WIFI and cellular connectivity.[54]

In September 2019, Elliott Management published a letter outlining its proposal for a "value-creation opportunity" at AT&T.

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The activist investor announces that it owns $3.2 billion of AT&T stock (a 1.2% equity interest), and asserts that the company could increase its share value through divestiture of some assets.[55][56]

AT&T Latin America[edit]

AT&T Latin America (formerly AT&T International, Inc.) is a wholly owned division of AT&T which operates in Mexico and 11 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.[61]

In 2017, AT&T announced a new AT&T International corporate division housing AT&T Mexico, DirecTV Latin America and their stakes of SKY Brazil and Sky Mexico.[62]

In October 2016, AT&T announced a deal to acquire Time Warner worth $85.4 billion (including assumed Time Warner debt).

The proposed deal would give AT&T significant holdings in the media industry; AT&T's competitor Comcast had previously acquired NBCUniversal in a similar bid to increase its media holdings, in concert with its ownership of television and internet providers.

If approved by federal regulators, the merger would bring Time Warner's properties under the same umbrella as AT&T's telecommunication holdings, including satellite provider DirecTV.[63][64][65]

By the end of July, the company announced that, effective August 1, a new structure was created before the acquisition would close.

On September 15, 2017, Reuters reported, citing anonymous sources, that AT&T, the owner of DIRECTV's U.S.

and Latin American divisions, had hired an advisor to consider offering AT&T Latin America on the public stock market. In November 2017, the U.S. Justice Department said it was moving to sue to block the AT&T-Time Warner merger.[66] On November 20, 2017, the Department of Justice filed an antitrust lawsuit over the acquisition; Makan Delrahim stated that the deal would "greatly harm American consumers".

AT&T asserts that this suit is a "radical and inexplicable departure from decades of antitrust precedent".[67] On December 22, 2017, the merger agreement deadline was extended to June 21, 2018.[68] On April 19, 2018, the IPO was cancelled.

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On June 12, 2018, the AT&T-Time Warner merger was approved by a federal judge.[69] Two days later, AT&T completed the acquisition of Time Warner, and a day later the company was renamed WarnerMedia.

On September 21, 2018, AT&T reclassified it four principal divisions which includes AT&T International which now have some assets moved out like the RSNs, an also merging Consumer Mobility, Technology and Business Mobility and renamed the company as AT&T Latin America.[52]

Landline operating companies[edit]

Of the eight companies that were part of the Breakup of the Bell System, these five are a part of the current AT&T:[70]

Chart of AT&T Baby Bells[edit]

Former operating companies[edit]

The following companies have become defunct or were sold under SBC/AT&T ownership:

Decline of rural landlines[edit]

Of the Baby Bells, Ameritech sold some of its Wisconsin landlines to CenturyTel, in 1998; BellSouth sold some of its lines to MebTel, during the 2000s; U S WEST sold many historically Bell landlines to Lynch Communications and Pacific Telecom, in the 1990s; Verizon sold many of its New England lines to FairPoint, in 2008, and its West Virginia operations to Frontier Communications, in 2010.

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On October 25, 2014, Frontier Communications took over control of the AT&T landline network in Connecticut after being approved by state utility regulators. The deal was worth about $2 billion, and included Frontier inheriting about 2,500 of AT&T's employees and many of AT&T's buildings.[73]

Corporate structure[edit]

Facilities and regions[edit]

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The company is headquartered at Whitacre Tower in downtown Dallas, Texas.[5] On June 27, 2008, AT&T announced that it would move its corporate headquarters from downtown San Antonio to One AT&T Plaza in downtown Dallas.[5][74] 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.[75] AT&T Inc.

previously relocated its corporate headquarters to San Antonio from St. Louis, Missouri, 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, remains in San Antonio.[citation needed] Atlanta, Georgia, continues to be the headquarters for AT&T Mobility, with significant offices in Redmond, Washington, the former home of AT&T Wireless.

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Bedminster, New Jersey, is the headquarters for the company's Global Business Services group and AT&T Labs, and is where the original AT&T Corp. remains located. St. Louis continues as home to the company's Directory operations, AT&T Advertising Solutions.[76]

AT&T offers also services in many locations throughout the Asia Pacific; its regional headquarters is located in Hong Kong.[77] The company is also active in Mexico, and on November 7, 2014, it was announced that Mexican carrier Iusacell would be acquired by AT&T.[17] The acquisition was approved in January 2015.[citation needed][78][79] On April 30, 2015, AT&T acquired wireless operations Nextel Mexico from NII Holdings (now AT&T Mexico).[80]

Corporate governance[edit]

See also: Category:AT&T people

AT&T's current board of directors as of May 2019[update]:[81]

The current management as of October 2019[update] includes:[82]

Political involvement[