Save that Cingular t-shirt in your closet, because it is about to become a collector’s item. It was announced on Friday that Cingular will drop its name and market mobile phone services under the AT&T name.
The name change for the nation’s biggest wireless company comes about as part of a merger. Cingular is 60% owned by AT&T while BellSouth owns the other 40%. On Friday SBC completed a merger with AT&T. Ed Whitacre, chairman and CEO of the new company, confirmed the rumors of the name change. The Cingular name will potentially still be used in select markets, but all products will now be marketed under the AT&T name in most places.
The renaming creates a unique situation. BellSouth and AT&T have worked together to grow Cingular, so BellSouth could be upset that the name is changed to that of their partner. Predictably, a BellSouth spokesman denied that there is an issue, saying that any increase in revenue is a good thing for BellSouth.
Update: Cingular is not changing it’s name. The joint venture agreement between AT&T and Cingular allows AT&T to resell wireless services to customers under the AT&T name. AT&T will have more to say on specific product offers and marketing plans in the near future. But regardless, Cingular is not dropping it’s name. – Michael Coe for AT&T