TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Today's Cellular Phone Companies

Re: Today's Cellular Phone Companies

Anthony Bellanga (
Wed, 02 Aug 2006 18:26:09 -0600

PAT - DO NOT display my email address anywhere in this post! Thanks.
******************************************************************** asked:

> With all the mergers, could someone list today's major cell phone
> companies that provide their own service (not merely piggyback off
> someone else)?

These six companies seem to be the "major, nationwide" cellular phone
companies in the US. Some of them aren't fully "nationwide" (yet), and
might have to "piggyback" off of a "native" provider in some parts of
the US for roaming customers, but these are still the more "major"
cellular providers:

-- Cingular -- which took over and retained most of the previous AT&T
Wireless; Cingular is owned 60% by the "new" at&t (SBC), and 40% by
BellSouth, and is HQ'd in BellSouth's current HQ of Atlanta GA. If
AT&T (SBC) does indeed buy out BellSouth (which is very likely), I
have been told that the Cingular name will be replaced by a
reincarnation of "AT&T Wireless".

-- Alltel --
some of what at one time had been Alltel Wireless has since become
associated with Verizon Wireless. Alltel also took over some of
what had one time been AT&T Wireless, when Cingular was buying them
out a few years ago. Alltel's old incumbent landline telco operations
have been spun off, effective only a few weeks ago, merged with
Valor (which had been some legacy GTE in Oklahoma, New Mexico, and
parts of Texas -- such GTE areas not retained by Verizon in 2000) to
form the new entity called "Windstream" (incumbent landline telco).

-- Verizon Wireless --
Verizon was formed by the merger of GTE (including Contel) and
Bell Atlantic (including NYENX) in 2000. This included their wireless
operations as well. Some of what at one time been Alltel Wireless
became part of Verizon Wireless. Verizon Wireless is also quite
dominant in parts of the Pacific (Hawaii, Northern Mariana Islands)
and Caribbean (Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic).

-- T-Mobile --
which was once known as VoiceStream, Omnipoint, Aerial 6701, etc.

-- Sprint --
which recently tookover Nextel; Also, Sprint's old incumbent landline
telco side, the legacy United and Centel telcos, have been recently
spun-off into a new entity known as "Embarq".

-- Centennial --
Not really "national" in scope, but is still considered a "major"
cellco as opposed to strictly regional cellcos. I think that they
have to "piggyback" on "native" cellcos in parts of the country where
they are not dominant, to service their roaming customers. Centennial
Wireless (and CLEC) is also popular in some parts of the Caribbean
(such as Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic).

This is just a brief summary of the cellco situation in the US over
the past few years. If you want the history of US cellcos back in the
1980s and 1990s, it can get MUCH more complicated and "messy". I think
that there are some here (Stan Cline?) who can easily rattle off the
"ancient" history of US Cellcos.

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