AT&T's Cingular Success Story

The wireless unit's record earnings seem to vindicate its parent's competitive strategy. The iPhone deal should help propel the telecom even further

AT&T's (T) Cingular Wireless unit reported the best earnings in its history on Jan. 24, demonstrating that the telecom giant's aggressive acquisition strategy is working. Once regarded as a clumsy runner-up to rival Verizon Wireless (VZ), former Cingular Wireless owners BellSouth and SBC decided to assert themselves in 2004 with a $41 billion acquisition of the old AT&T Wireless. SBC went on to buy the separate AT&T landline business for $16 billion and BellSouth for $86 billion in separate deals (see BusinessWeek.com, 12/29/06, "AT&T-BellSouth: Together at Last"). It changed its name to AT&T as well.

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