Ma Bell's Rebirth?

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Call it a well-funded family reunion. If San Antonio-based AT&T's 67 (B) billion-dollar bid for Atlanta-based BellSouth is approved, it would go far toward reversing the breakup of the old Ma Bell monopoly 22 years ago.

The new AT&T would be the local phone company in 22 states and a behemoth in wireless, long-haul voice and Internet traffic, and phone directories.

All those services would operate under the AT&T brand, which SBC Communications assumed with its acquisition of the old AT&T in November. The company hopes to save (B) billions in advertising costs simply by consolidating AT&T, BellSouth and Cingular marketing under one brand.

But the choice of AT&T as the common name is a reminder that many Americans look back affectionately on the days of the Ma Bell monopoly. The new company would have the scale to make that
association more than just a marketing ploy.

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