On October 26 2004, AT&T Wireless completed a merger with Cingular Wireless, a joint venture of SBC Communications and BellSouth, to become the largest wireless carrier in the United States. Under the agreement, only the Cingular brand name would remain. On 2004-11-16, AT&T Wireless stores were rechristened under the Cingular banner. The legal entity "AT&T Wireless Services, Inc." was renamed "New Cingular Wireless Services, Inc.
In late 2005, SBC (the majority partner in Cingular) acquired the original AT&T, and rebranded as "the new AT&T". Cingular became wholly-owned by the new AT&T in December 2006 as a result of the new AT&T's acquisition of BellSouth. After the merger, Cingular was renamed AT&T Mobility in early 2007.
In 1994, AT&T purchased McCaw for $11.5 billion and kick-started their cellular division with 2 million subscribers. That year, Steven W. Hooper, a long time McCaw Cellular executive, was tapped by AT&T to be the CEO of the newly acquired division. Under his direction, AT&T Wireless grew to be the nation's largest cellular provider by the end of 1997, at which point Hooper and many of the remaining McCaw era executives departed. By 1999 and 2000 the cellular industry began to consolidate and Verizon Wireless and Cingular Wireless became the first and second largest national carriers.
The year 1999 also brought John D. Zeglis as chief executive in October, followed a few months later by Dan Hesse's departure, who had been head of the division since 1997. Over the next year and a half all six McCaw regional presidents left the company.
In April 2000, AT&T Wireless became a separately traded entity with the world's largest initial public offering at that time. Followed, just over a year later in July 2001, by AT&T Wireless became a separate company rather than a division of AT&T Corp.
The sale received US government approval and closed on October 26, creating the nation's largest wireless carrier, overtaking Verizon Wireless. The AT&T Wireless brand was retired by Cingular on April 26 2005, six months after the close of the merger. This was per a pre spin-off agreement with AT&T Corp. that stated that if AT&T Wireless was to be bought by a competitor, the rights to the name AT&T Wireless and the use of the AT&T name in wireless phone service would revert back to AT&T Corp.
Rogers AT&T Wireless was a publicly traded partnership between Rogers and AT&T. It operated a mobile network in Canada until Rogers bought out AT&T's stake in 2004 and took the company private. See Rogers Wireless.
SunCom Wireless was a brand name used by three separate companies: Telecorp PCS, Tritel PCS, and Triton PCS (based in Arlington, VA, Jackson, MS, and Berwyn, PA, respectively). All three used the same SunCom logo, but operated as completely independent companies, though all were affiliates of AT&T Wireless, which owned 23% of each company. Telecorp operated primarily in Wisconsin, Iowa, Louisiana, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Puerto Rico. Tritel operated primarily in Mississippi, Kentucky, Alabama, and Tennessee. Triton operated primarily in North and South Carolina and Virginia. In 2002, Telecorp and Tritel completed a merger, while Triton remained independent. In 2003, AT&T Wireless completed the acquisition of Telecorp/Tritel, and closed the Telecorp headquarters in Arlington, VA.
Cincinnati Bell Wireless started as a joint venture between Cincinnati Bell and AT&T Wireless, in which AT&T Wireless owned 20%. When AT&T Wireless was purchased by Cingular, control of the 20% passed to Cingular as well. On 2006-02-17, Cincinnati Bell took full control of Cincinnati Bell Wireless by purchasing Cingular's 20% ownership for $80 million.
The current AT&T stores will sell all AT&T products and services: Wireless, Landline, Internet, U-Verse, and more. AT&T will have all services under one brand (although the name of the legal entity is "AT&T Mobility"). This might lead to confusion on the customers behalf in the fact that there would be no name difference between AT&T's wireless telephone service and the other services that they offer.
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