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The New AT&T: Wireless At Its Heart
In an announcement following the FCC's approval of its acquisition of BellSouth, AT&T indicated Cingular Wireless, previously jointly owned by AT&T and BellSouth, will be the heart of the new company.
"It [the merger] will strengthen Cingular through unified ownership and a single brand," said AT&T chairman and CEO Edward E. Whitacre Jr. "No partnership between two independent companies, no matter how well run, can match the speed, effectiveness, responsiveness, and efficiency of a solely owned company."
The new AT&T has its recent origins in SBC Communications (the old Southwestern Bell), and just as SBC took up the AT&T brand name, Cingular is expected to eventually carry the AT&T brand name, too.
The mobile phone operation will be in a better position to compete with Verizon Wireless, whose service is generally faster. Verizon has been adding customers at a faster rate than Cingular, which is the larger of the two wireless firms. Verizon Wireless must deal with its Vodafone partner, which owns a major piece of the wireless operation.