AT&T (American Telephone and Telegraph) is one of the largest providers of wireless and telephone communications in the United States today. The total number of its subscribers exceeds 150 million people, and the name itself has long become synonymous with quality.
The history of AT&T began in the 1870s. It was then that inventor Alexander Graham Bell created the world's first telephone. In 1875, he found a sponsor who agreed to finance his work, and already in 1877 received all the necessary patents. Literally a few years after that, telephone exchanges were opened in almost all major cities in the United States, Alexander Bell founded the Bell Telephone Company. The production of telephones has taken on a massive hue. It is noteworthy that the inventor did not sell the first telephone sets, but rented them out.
AT&T itself came into being as a division of the Bell Telephone Company on March 3, 1885. At that time, its main task was to develop telephone communications over long distances. So, the first achievements of the company were telephone lines that connected New York with Philadelphia, as well as New York with Chicago. It took just a couple of years for AT&T to grow, absorb the parent Bell Telephone Company, and make Alexander Bell incredibly rich. For many years to come, AT&T controlled virtually the entire telephone network in America.
For almost a century, the company was a regulated monopoly. Explaining this by saying that this is the only way telephone systems can operate most efficiently, AT&T only connected telephone companies to its network that could not compete with it. This situation lasted until 1974, when the US government filed an antitrust lawsuit against AT&T. A painful lawsuit began, which lasted ten years and led to the division of the company.
In 1984, AT&T lost ground and became incredibly vulnerable. Competitors came too close to it, the further development of the company was in jeopardy. The only chance for the former monopolist to survive in the new conditions was to enter the international market. AT&T got its bearings quite quickly and threw all its efforts into the development of wireless communications, which at that time was just gaining popularity.
1995 was a year of voluntary restructuring when two companies spun off from AT&T, Lucent Technologies and NCR. The years that followed were years of modernization. The former monopoly invested heavily in the development of Internet technologies, bought out the leading supplier of global data networks IBM Global Network, division IBM. And as a result of the transaction, it became the largest among American cable companies.
In 2006, AT&T acquired its longtime competitor, BellSouth. This deal cost $67 billion. In 2011, the owners of AT&T managed to reach an agreement with the Deutsche Telekom holding. Under this agreement, they bought the T-Mobile mobile communications group for $39 billion. The result of this transaction was a dramatic increase in the number of subscribers of the company, as their total number amounted to 129 million.
It cannot be said that the development of the company was completely cloudless. For example, its wireless services have been repeatedly criticized, and in 2010 AT&T was named the worst wireless provider in the US. However, her successes are much more impressive. So, today the company is the 14th in the world in terms of market value and the 9th in the list of large companies whose activities are not related to the extraction of certain resources. In addition, AT&T is the 20th largest cellular operator in the world. And these facts speak volumes.