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Bell Operating Companies


Bell Companies that are part of AT&T:



*Note: AT&T Inc.  is comprised of four of the original "Baby Bells" that were spun-off from the original AT&T in 1984; Ameritech, Bell South, Pacific Telesis, and Southwestern Bell (SBC).  AT&T Inc., which was originally SBC, had acquired its former parent, AT&T Corp. in 2005, and, renamed itself AT&T Inc.  The original AT&T officially renamed itself AT&T Corporation in 1990, and disused the American Telephone & Telegraph Company, six years after divestiture.


Ameritech is the original 1984 AT&T divestiture name and logo given as the holding company for the following Bells:


U S WEST logo, 1984-2000



Though not a Bell Company, AT&T was purchased by one of its "Baby Bell" offspring's; Southwestern Bell Corporation, which renamed itself SBC Communications in 1995:


U S WEST logo, 1984-2000


  • AT&T Alascom

  • AT&T Communications

  • AT&T Laboratories (R&D relating to voice technology, software and network management)

  • AT&T Technologies (Spun-off in 1996 to become Lucent Technologies; comprised of Network Systems Group, Microelectronics Group, Consumer Products Group, Bell Laboratories.)  AT&T Technologies was the new name for Western Electric, which was changed in 1983 to prepare for the divestiture.

*Note: Lucent technologies kept the portion of the original AT&T Bell Laboratories that pertained to research and development of telephonee equipment, and other research dealing in networking equipment.


Bell South is the original 1984 AT&T divestiture name and logo given as the holding company for the following Bells:


U S WEST logo, 1984-2000



Pacific Telesis is the original 1984 AT&T divestiture name and logo given as the holding company for the following Bells:




Southwestern Bell Corporation is the original 1984 AT&T divestiture name and logo given as the holding company for the following Bells:





AT&T Products & Services:


Small Business

Wireless, TV, Bundles, Internet and Voice


Enterprise & Government

Communications for large enterprise and government



Wireless, TV, Bundles, Internet and Voice



Wireless service



Fiber optic delivered TV


AT&T Store

Coreless & corded phones, accessories and small business phone equipment



2009 AT&T Global IP Network Map:


Click on map to view larger image of the AT&T Global IP Network Map.



Name change as easy as SBC
Bell label jettisoned to unify company's identity for consumers

The Dallas Morning News, Dec 11, 2002



The Southwestern Bell brand died Tuesday. It was 82.

It will be joined in the afterlife by its sisters Pacific Bell, 122, and Ameritech, 9.

The phone companies will now simply be SBC, letters that once stood for Southwestern Bell Corp. But no longer.

San Antonio-based telecom giant SBC Communications, which owns the three companies, said it's adopting a national brand name across its 13-state local-phone operations to unify its image. It's following the lead of other Baby Bells such as the former Bell Atlantic, which is now Verizon Communications.

"It's the spreading of the corporate DNA," said A. Michael Noll, a professor at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School of Communications.

The change will strip the historic "Bell" moniker from all but two members of the Bell family. Only BellSouth and Cincinnati Bell use the term.

The company has planned the change for three years. Phone bills were changed effective Tuesday, and many of the company's buildings and trucks have sported the SBC name and logo for some time, said spokesman Larry Solomon.

"The heritage will remain," Mr. Solomon said. "The legacy will remain. It's simply a new name."

With one exception: Fulfilling a promise to state regulators, SBC's Connecticut operations will continue to use the name SBC SNET, which previously stood for Southern New England Telecommunications.

Mr. Solomon wouldn't say how much the rebranding will cost. Customer awareness of the SBC name is already high, particularly in California and the Midwest, where its acquisition and integration of Pacific Bell and Ameritech have garnered significant media coverage.

The Southwestern Bell brand was adopted for AT&T's local operations in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas in April 1920. Seven years ago, Southwestern Bell Corp. changed to SBC Communications.

The Pacific Bell name was first used in 1880 and was discontinued in 1889, when the West Coast company changed its name to Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Co. It was brought back in 1984 by Pacific Telesis, the Baby Bell that also owned Nevada Bell. In 1997, SBC bought Pacific Telesis.

In the Midwest, five separate brands – Illinois Bell, Indiana Bell, Michigan Bell, Ohio Bell and Wisconsin Bell – prevailed until April 1993, when parent Ameritech imposed its single brand. SBC bought Ameritech in 1999.

Even though some phone company names have been around for decades, many have gone through several rounds of changes, said Herb Hackenburg, executive director of the Telephone History Group in Denver. American Telephone & Telegraph (1885), for example, is now simply AT&T.

"There are a lot of precedents for gobbling up telephone companies," he said. "Northwestern Bell gobbled up over 400 telephone companies, including some relatively large companies like Nebraska Bell."

In 1984, Northwestern Bell became part of US West, which was bought by Qwest Communications International in June 2000.

Name changes over the last few years have been driven by companies' desire to establish national and global identities. When Bell Atlantic and Irving-based GTE Corp. merged in June 2000, they chose to craft an entirely new word – Verizon.

Until recently, SBC was content with letting its acquired operations retain their own identities. But it imposed the corporate image in September 2001 by forcing local brands to add the SBC prefix to their names, ala SBC Southwestern Bell.

Experts say its latest move is a logical extension as the company increasingly goes up against who else but the Bell family matriarch, AT&T.

Changing the name will make it easier for SBC to compete nationally with AT&T for business customers, said Courtney Quinn, a senior analyst with the Yankee Group, a Boston consulting firm.

The new name is also a way to tell consumers the company doesn't sell only plain old telephone service.

"It's a much broader promise of access and connectivity and control, to some degree, over your life," said Julie Cottineau, managing director of naming for Interbrand, a consulting firm.

"The burden is now on the company's to imbue this empty vessel with meaning," Ms. Cottineau said.

What about the last keepers of the "Bell" heritage? How long will they hold out?

"It's our position that the name Cincinnati Bell has tremendous value," said spokeswoman Jenny Kues.

Said BellSouth spokesman Jeff Battcher: "The company loves the Bell name. We have absolutely no plans to change it."



Well, it looks like SBC has bought its original parent company, AT&T, and changed its name to at&t (note the lower-case initials) and has become, once again, the largest telecommunications company in the USA.




The decorative façade of the former Texas Theatre still

remains and fronts the AT&T headquarters building.



The AT&T campus in

Bedminster, N.J.



The new AT&T logo greets employees and guests

entering the headquarters building at 175 E. Houston St.

in San Antonio.



Employees can test AT&T's latest technology in the

lobby area at the headquarters building.



Video screens in the lobby showcase AT&T's rich

history of meaningful innovation.



The AT&T Midwest headquarters building in

Hoffman Estates, Ill., was recently rebranded with the new logo.



The following photos were contributed by Andy Kropidlowski, SBC Service Technician Orange/Riverside field operations in Southern California.  Thanks Andy for these photos!

Andy's existing service van photo (1993 DodgeRam 250)

SBC removed the last Pacific * Bell stickered vehicle in the fleet at Anaheim and re-branded it .

Inside of Andy's existing service van photo (1993 DodgeRam 250)


New SBC "stickered" service tech van with ad on it


SBC construction splicer rig with pole placer hook and giant auger drill bit


P*B Heavy duty splicer tower truck


Vandalized pay phone Andy saw in the SBC warehouse that
SBC asset protection recovered from the local state college
 campus dorms.  Looks like they used a giant crowbar or pry
bar to get into the coin box.



Darrell R. Powers sent this photo to me of a payphone
booth showing the Bell logo next to the Ameritech logo.




It's Official, AT&T received approval on December 29 to acquire Bell South.  Both the Cingular and Bell South name will be phased out in 2007.  Click here to read further about the momentous event.



Unlike the other Baby Bells, BellSouth still uses the familiar Bell System color stripes on their vans.

This is the Baby Bell I'm most familiar with . . . BellSouth - (formerly Southern Bell and South Central Bell).

In 1984, the Bell System's local exchanges were divested from AT&T and organized into regional "Bell Operating Companies" which are sometimes called, unofficially, "Baby Bells".  BellSouth is the last of the original "Baby Bells" still operating by itself, a BellSouth spokesman said.  BellSouth Corporation is an integrated communications services company headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia serving more than 41 million customers in the United States and 16 other countries. BellSouth, consistently recognized for customer satisfaction, provides residential, business and wholesale customers with integrated voice, video and data services to meet their communications needs. BellSouth is a Fortune 100 company with total revenues exceeding $26 billion. 

The following is a brief account of corporate changes that took place in what is now called BellSouth:

1990 - 1991 - Prior to 12/31/1991, BellSouth Corporation consisted of two separate operating companies:

  • South Central Bell Telephone Company which serviced Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.

  • Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Company which serviced Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

1992 - 1994 - On 1/1/1992, South Central Bell and Southern Bell were merged, forming BellSouth Telecommunications, Inc., a corporation that is wholly-owned by BellSouth Corporation.

1995 - BellSouth Telecommunications, Inc. had no changes during this period, except that on 1/1/1995, the names South Central Bell and Southern Bell were dropped and only BellSouth Telecommunications, Inc. was used.

1996 - 2005 - BellSouth Telecommunications, Inc. had no changes during this period.

2006 - BellSouth announced on March 5, 2006 that they have reached an agreement with the "new" AT&T (formerly SBC) to merge within a year.  The Cingular name will become AT&T and BellSouth will be called AT&T. Click here to read the latest news on the merger.  As of December 29, 2006, the merger was finally approved by the FCC which officially makes BellSouth part of AT&T.

BellSouth has proudly kept the Bell name, logo and tradition! Click HERE to see what I mean (a GIF image is also available by clicking HERE.)

I wish I could say the same for the rest of the former Bell System local operating companies!  Yes, you might have guessed by now that I'm a BellSouth customer. I have BellSouth for my local phone service, cell phone service (Cingular), FastAccess ADSL Internet service and long distance service. I've been a Southern Bell and BellSouth customer since the 1970's so I think that makes me a loyal customer :-)

Did you know that BellSouth in the metro Atlanta area has THE LARGEST TOLL-FREE LOCAL CALLING AREA IN THE USA?  No other Baby Bell or ex-Baby Bell can say that.  We have to put up with three area codes and ten digit dialing though - a sharp contrast to the days when I was in college and could call long distance from Orlando, Florida to Miami, Florida (about 250 miles or 400 Kilometers) by only dialing a "1" and the seven digit number!!!  Now I can't call my neighbor across the street without dialing ten digits!

The BellSouth building in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
I live about 25 miles north of Atlanta. I took this picture while sitting at a red
light but some truck was blocking part of the lower section of the building.
Click on image to show full-size view.


BellSouth facility near me in Kennesaw, Georgia, USA.
Click on image to show full-size view.

BellSouth building (formerly the South Central Bell headquarters)
in Birmingham, Alabama, USA.
Photo courtesy of Eric Paschal.
Click on image to show full-size view.


BellSouth has carried on the tradition of the Bell System's involvement with the community as seen in the photographs below that I took at Zoo Atlanta near where I live:

The Panda exhibit is probably the most popular exhibit at the zoo in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Here is a photo of my youngest daughter posing behind one of the many BellSouth sponsored props. I wish I kept a copy of the old phone book shown with the pandas on the front cover!

A special thank you to Durwood Hunter for sharing two photos and his story of his time with BellSouth.

"We delivered telephone supplies to work centers across North and Central Florida from the BellSouth Services Warehouse (formally Western Electric). All of the drivers were BellSouth employees from all kinds of jobs. We were trained to drive by BellSouth.  We drove at night and also delivered cable on the day shift.  At the time it was kept quiet that we also picked up Pay Station money on the return to Jacksonville.

The job lasted two years and returned to contract drivers. A few years later the warehouse closed and BellSouth Services was history."

Durwood Hunter Driver BellSouth Services Jacksonville Fl. Twenty years
with Bell and this was the best job I had!



Logo for the transportation department.


Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph bond

$1,000 bond from Southern Bell dated 1939.  (Southern Bell is now BellSouth).












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