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Origin Of Top Businesses: The Birth, Break-up & Rebirth Of AT&T

This section of our site is called “Origins Of Top Businesses.”  

It features interesting facts about the early years of well-known businesses.

These facts are given to you for fun and inspiration.
Fun because how many top businesses started out is really surprising.
Inspiring because it will help you as a business owner see that if they can do it, so can you.

Now for today’s facts:

the history of at&t, how at&t began


Strap on your seat belts and get ready for the “roller coaster ride” history of AT&T:


  • AT&T can indirectly trace its lineage back to Alexander Graham Bell who founded his original Bell Telephone Company after he invented the telephone.
  • Do you know what AT&T stand for? American Telephone and Telegraph Company. It was a subsidiary of Bell Telephone that was established in 1885.
  • AT&T later acquired Bell Telephone on December 31, 1899 for legal reasons. That left AT&T as the main company.
  • AT&T eventually established a network of subsidiaries in the United States. Through most of the twentieth century it was a monopoly by the government’s permission.
  • At that point it was known as the Bell System or by the nickname “Ma Bell”.
  • At different points in its history it was the largest phone company in the world.
  • In 1984, the U.S. government broke up AT&T’s monopoly. This forced AT&T to morph it’s subsidiaries into separate companies.
  • This situation caused MCI and Sprint to gain ground.
  • In the 1990’s, Southwestern Bell – one of the companies created from the breakup of AT&T – started to make acquisitions and grow in size. 
  • By 1998, Southwestern Bell was in the top 15 companies of the Fortune 500. By this point Southwestern Bell had changed its name to SBC.
  • In 2005, SBC purchased AT&T for $16 billion.
  •  It’s now the 7th largest company in the U.S. and the 14th largest company in the world.


Sources: & Wikipedia

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About Scott Aughtmon (1872 Articles)
I’m author of the book 51 Content Marketing Hacks. I am also a regular contributor to and I am the person behind the popular infographic 21 Types of Content We Crave. I’m a business strategist, consultant, content creation specialist, and speaker. I’ve been studying effective marketing and business methods (both online and offline) since 1999. ===> If you would like to see ways that we could work together, then please click here to learn more.