The company that later became known as AT&T began in 1875, in an arrangement among inventor Alexander Graham Bell and the two men, Gardiner Hubbard and Thomas Sanders, who agreed to finance his work. In 1877, the three men formed the Bell Telephone Company to exploit the invention. In 1882, American Bell acquired a controlling interest in the Western Electric Company, which became its manufacturing unit. The enterprise became known as the Bell System.
In 1925, Walter Gifford, president of AT&T, decided that AT&T and the Bell System should concentrate on its goal of universal telephone service in the United States. He sold the International Western Electric Company to the newly formed International Telephone and Telegraph Company (ITT) in 1925. Although AT&T retreated from international manufacture, it retained an international presence through its drive to provide global telephone service to customers in the U.S.
The new AT&T began evolving to an integrated voice and data communications company.
By mid-2000, AT&T had three rapidly evolving networks- data, broadband, and wireless, and four separate businesses-cable, wireless, business, and consumer.
In January 2005, AT&T's announced the pending $16 billion merger with SBC Communications to create the industryÃÂs premier communications and networking company. Through this deal, the people of AT&T have the opportunity to build the defining entity in global communications for the 21st century. ÃÂ a company capable of delivering advanced networking technologies and a full suite of integrated communications services throughout the world.
In November 7, 2008, AT&T announced its plan to acquire regional wireless and wired communications service provider, Centennial Communications Corp. The propose transaction is estimated in $944 million in cash. With this transaction, AT&T is looking to enhance its wireless coverage for customers in the Midwest and Southeast of the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.