Follow The Bouncing AT&T Wireless Name
from the round-and-round-the-globe dept
Okay, you deserve to be forgiven if you're confused by the saga of AT&T Wireless -- because it's been anything but clear. Here's the quick summary though: A little more than a decade ago, AT&T bought McCaw Cellular, which they renamed AT&T Wireless. In 2000, they reorganized the company, making AT&T Wireless a separate division. In 2001, they spun that company off -- so that it was an entirely separate company from AT&T (which resulted in plenty of confusion). There was a licensing deal for the name and, a couple years later, when AT&T freaked out at its own lack of a wireless offering (ooops!) a partnership was built between the two companies to bundle AT&T Wireless plans with AT&T service -- even though they were really separate companies. Then, along came Cingular to buy AT&T Wireless in 2004. AT&T gets back the AT&T name (earlier this year), and all the old AT&T Wireless customers are now Cingular customers. AT&T again freaks out at its lack of a wireless offering, and signs a deal with Sprint to offer AT&T Wireless branded service on Sprint in an MVNO format that will have absolutely nothing to do with the old AT&T Wireless (in fact, it will use a totally different network technology). Of course, before this has a chance to go anywhere, along comes Cingular's 60% owner, SBC, to buy AT&T and (of course) take on the AT&T name -- which, as of April of this year, includes the right to use that name for a wireless offering. So, now, it's not at all surprising to hear that the new AT&T (which just last week was known as SBC) would like for Cingular to start offering service under the AT&T brand name again, thereby bringing back AT&T Wireless service to folks who have just gotten over the fact that they're no longer AT&T Wireless customers. Simple, huh? How could anyone possibly be confused?