The result of the lawsuit in which AT&T was forced to break up into spinoff companies was known as the Bell System Divestiture, and the settlement agreement allowed AT&T to enter the computer industry in exchange for the breakup. AT&T was not successful in its entry into the computer industry and as a result AT&T lost a great deal of its value as a business operation.
AT&T was never a part of Verizon, but the two companies trace their origins from a single company. In the early 1980s AT&T was forced to undergo a restructuring as a result of litigation in the case United States v. AT&T. The restructuring resulted in several spinoff companies, one of which would later become Verizon.
Bell System Divestiture
The modern AT&T corporation resulted when Southwestern Bell Corporation, one of the original AT&T spinoff companies, purchased AT&T in 2005 and decided to use the AT&T name. Currently AT&T is one of the largest corporations in the United States. It offera services such as land-line and cellular telephone services, broadband Internet and subscription television services.
Verizon Communications started as Bell Atlantic and was a spinoff company from the original AT&T. Bell Atlantic went on to merge with another AT&T spinoff company, NYNEX, and then later purchased independent phone company GTE in 2000. After acquiring GTE the resulting organization changed its name to Verizon. Verizon provides services very similar to those provided by AT&T, including phone services, broadband Internet and subscription television services.
AT&T and Verizon Communications are now the two biggest cellular telephone companies in the United States. They compete for the same customers and provide very similar services. At the time of publication AT&T is attempting to purchase T-Mobile communications. If AT&T is successful in its acquisition of T-Mobile it will be considerably larger than Verizon Communications.
- AT&T: A Brief History: The Bell System
- Indiana University: 21 The Bell System Divestiture: Background, Implementation, and Outcome
- "The Freeman"; AT&T Divestiture: What Killed Ma Bell?; Melvin D. Barger; April 1984
- The Technology Liberation Front: For The Last Time: The Bell System Monopoly Is Not Being Rebuilt
- CNET: AT&T and Verizon Swap Wireless Assets
- Daily Tech: AT&T LTE Beats Verizon LTE in Speed Tests
- OSX Daily: Verizon iPhone vs AT&T iPhone Speed Test Results: AT&T 3G is Faster
- Macworld: AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon: The Plans Compared
- Bloomberg: T-Mobile Antitrust Challenge Leaves AT&T With Little Recourse on Takeover
- Photo Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images