by Mike Masnick

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?

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 21st, 2005 @ 2:42am

    No Subject Given

    Customer loyalty is one thing. And now, "brand name loyalty" -- this is getting out of hand

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Vincent Sitao, Nov 21st, 2005 @ 6:27am

    It's about time!

    The AT&T name is one of the top 5 most valuable brand names in the world, when SBC made the decision to buy AT&T (merge whatever you want to call it) they were buying three things - 1. the network - a world class one, 2. the VAST amount of business and international and multinational customer, and 3, last but not least the AT&T name.

    I'm glad to see the name back in force - with all this consolidation in telecom, we are finally going to see things calm down and real competition take place between cable and telcos...

    Whose waiting for the "New AT&T" to make a run at SBC? [Anyone feel the Bell System?]

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Vincent Sitao, Nov 21st, 2005 @ 6:28am

    Re: No Subject Given

    I meant making a run at buying Bell South, not SBC (ops!)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Jared, Nov 21st, 2005 @ 8:17am

    Still AT&T

    I've spoke with Cingular many times. AT&T is still considered to be a separate entity, though the two supposedly merged.

    I originally called because my wife needed a new phone, and upgrading mine wouldn't hurt either. So I figured that if we recontracted with Cingular, we would be eligible for rebates on new phones. Cingular told me this cannot be the case, because though the two companies have merged, Cingular still has to 'honor' my AT&T contract.

    I found that even though both my bill and my phone show I am using Cingular service, they still refer to former AT&T customers as Cingular Blue customers.

    So, AT&T still apparently exists, regardless of if their name is not in use.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Greg Andrew, Nov 21st, 2005 @ 11:56am

    No Subject Given

    I don't see anything here that specifically suggests that they'll return to using the "AT&T Wireless" name - just AT&T. The former would be a bad idea after the rep they got. They could use At&T Cellular instead.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    googly_eyes, Nov 21st, 2005 @ 12:08pm

    Re: Still AT&T

    Oh yeah, I am a (soon to be FORMER) corporate customer of Cingular "Blue" or the old AT&T wireless. The transition was a complete nightmare, and now they are changing the name again?

    Will my old AT&T wireless accounts, now be rebranded from Cingular "blue" back to AT&T, and will all my Cingular accounts now be branded AT&T "Orange"?

    And don't EVEN get me going on the service (or lack of it).

    I'm switching to Verizon Wireless!
    Hear that AT&Tingular?!

    Call me when your schizophrenic identity crisis is over and you want to offer real services to customers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Haggie, Nov 21st, 2005 @ 3:15pm

    Keep rearranging the deck chairs...

    In the last nine months I have a.) cancelled by SBC DSL service and moved to Comcast b.) cancelled my SBC landline telephone service and moved to Vonage c.) cancelled my ATT&T/Cingular account and moved to T-Mobile.

    They can call the company "Monkeys Flying Out of My Butt" for all I care. While they were busying in meetings over corporate branding, their customers were leaving for better products at better prices...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Jasen Webster, Nov 22nd, 2005 @ 6:05pm

    Re: Keep rearranging the deck chairs...

    I totally agree. Service sucked when it was just Cingular. Glad I moved to Tmobile.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    ellie, Jun 8th, 2006 @ 10:01am

    hi leah

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Another aggravated face in the crowd, Jan 18th, 2007 @ 10:38am

    AT&T & SBC

    Much to my continuing confusion, AT&T and SBC AT&T seem to be separate entities as evidenced by their bouncing me back and forth recently. Wanting to dump my old AT&T Worldnet dialup for DSL, I thought AT&T SBC DSL was the same company now. Not so. And when I attempted to sign up for DSL using the AT&T website for the last year and a half, it just kept telling me that my phone number didn't exist. Oh, yeah? Turns out I was in another category that I was unaware of - "old AT&T customer", therefore, there was no record of me to be accessed from their website so I could sign up as a "new AT&T customer" (or is that a "SBC ATT&T customer - I'm still confused). Finally giving up and calling, I got bounced from person to person who didn't seem to know what was going on. What a mess!

    I especially resented being told by the customer service people that I needed to "come back" to AT&T? Um, what? I never left guys. You left me -- and kept it a secret.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    roy carrigan, Feb 13th, 2007 @ 5:29am

    cingular customer

    I was a old at&t customer. i was not a happy customer so i transfered to cingular and i no longer was a unhappy customer(no dropped calls ect. now i here at&t advertise they are cingular. how sad. i will not stay with this company. just as soon as my contract is up i will look for a better company. i hope there is one out there that can . i will miss all of the good service i received from cingular

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.