AT&T and BellSouth: Cingularly at Odds

Olga Kharif

USA Today reports that now that SBC has completed its acquisition of AT&T, it will resell Cingular Wireless's service under AT&T brand (remember, Cingular acquired AT&T Wireless a while back). This resale deal begs the question: What's BellSouth going to do?

SBC owns 60% of Cingular, while BellSouth owns 40%. The two companies could have resold Cingular wireless service under their own brands before, but they didn't. Now, that's about to change. And the USA Today article quotes CEO of the new AT&T (that is, AT&T merged with SBC) as saying the relationship between the two companies might get a bit strained because of AT&T's resale plans.

Well, yeah! With technologies such as VoIP now offered by most telcos, SBC and BellSouth are increasingly turning from colleagues into competitors. So BellSouth will now have to respond to AT&T's resale plans by making a move of its own.

My bet is, BellSouth will have to start reselling Cingular's wireless under its own brand, too -- and soon.

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