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Established in 1875 by Alexander Graham Bell and his associates as the Bell Telephone Company, AT&T is a leading multinational telecommunications corporation based in Dallas, Texas. It evolved into the American Bell Telephone Company in 1881 before adopting its current identity, AT&T, in 1885. The company has experienced several restructuring phases, notably following the breakup of its monopoly in 1982. AT&T has broadened its influence through the acquisition of several companies, including DirecTV, Time Warner, and WarnerMedia, and the introduction of services like HBO Max and AT&T TV. Despite facing a range of social and ethical controversies, including privacy disputes and discrimination allegations, AT&T remains dedicated to environmental preservation, aligning its practices with the emission reduction targets set by the Paris Agreement.

AT&T (Wikipedia)

AT&T Inc. (with "AT&T" being an abbreviation for its former name, the American Telephone and Telegraph Company) is an American multinational telecommunications holding company headquartered at Whitacre Tower in Downtown Dallas, Texas. It is the world's fourth-largest telecommunications company by revenue and the largest wireless carrier in the United States. As of 2023, AT&T was ranked 13th on the Fortune 500 rankings of the largest United States corporations, with revenues of $120.7 billion.

AT&T Inc.
  • Southwestern Bell Corporation (1983–1995)
  • SBC Communications Inc. (1995–2005)
Company typePublic
FoundedOctober 5, 1983; 40 years ago (1983-10-05)
HeadquartersWhitacre Tower,,
Area served
Key people
RevenueIncrease US$122.4 billion (2023)
Increase US$23.46 billion (2023)
Increase US$15.62 billion (2023)
Total assetsIncrease US$407.1 billion (2023)
Total equityIncrease US$117.4 billion (2023)
Number of employees
149,900 (2024)
SubsidiariesDirecTV (70%)
  • 7018
Footnotes / references

During most of the 20th century, AT&T had a monopoly on phone service in the United States. The company began its history as the American District Telegraph Company, formed in St. Louis in 1878. After expanding services to Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas through a series of mergers, it became Southwestern Bell Telephone Company in 1920, which was then a subsidiary of American Telephone and Telegraph Company. The latter was a successor of the original Bell Telephone Company founded by Alexander Graham Bell in 1877. The American Bell Telephone Company formed the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) subsidiary in 1885. In 1899, AT&T became the parent company after the American Bell Telephone Company sold its assets to its subsidiary. The company was rebranded as AT&T Corp. in 1994. The 1982 United States v. AT&T antitrust lawsuit resulted in the divestiture of AT&T's ("Ma Bell") local operating subsidiaries which were grouped into seven Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs), commonly referred to as "Baby Bells", resulting in seven independent companies, including Southwestern Bell Corporation (SBC). The latter changed its name to SBC Communications Inc. in 1995.

In 2005, SBC purchased its former parent AT&T Corp. and took on the latter's branding, history, and stock trading symbol, as well as a version of its iconic logo. The merged entity, naming itself AT&T Inc., launched on December 30, 2005. The newly merged and renamed AT&T Inc. acquired BellSouth Corporation in 2006, the last independent Baby Bell company, making BellSouth and SBC (AT&T Inc.)'s formerly joint venture Cingular Wireless (which had itself acquired AT&T Wireless in 2004) a wholly owned subsidiary of AT&T Inc. Cingular was then rebranded as AT&T Mobility. AT&T Inc. also acquired Time Warner in 2016, with the proposed merger confirmed on June 12, 2018 and the aim of making AT&T Inc. the largest and controlling shareholder of Time Warner, which it then rebranded as WarnerMedia in 2018. The company later withdrew its equity stake in WarnerMedia in 2022 and merged it with Discovery, Inc. to create Warner Bros. Discovery, divesting itself of its media arm.

The current AT&T reconstitutes most of the former Bell System, and includes four of the seven "Baby Bells" along with the original AT&T Corp., including the long-distance division.

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