AT&T Inc. will begin to absorb the Cingular Wireless name beginning Monday.
AT&T will not use the name many in the industry cringed to think about: AT&T Wireless. That brand was known for poor service and garnered a sour reputation among consumers and telecom insiders.
On Jan. 15, AT&T will start a multimedia campaign, which will include both companies logos, to mark the transition. This move was expected when AT&T took full control of 6-year-old Cingular with the approval of its $85.8 billion merger with BellSouth two weeks ago. AT&T had owned 60 percent of the wireless company and BellSouth owned 40 percent.
“AT&T, BellSouth and Cingular are now one company, and going to market with our services under one brand is the right thing to do,” said Edward Whitacre, chairman and CEO of AT&T.
This is not the first time the AT&T and Cingular names have come together. In 2004, Cingular acquired the independently operated AT&T Wireless and eventually phased out that name. AT&T will not use the wireless moniker again, and industry analysts have speculated that would be the case because of the negative perceptions of AT&T Wireless.
The new campaign will include messages on the Web, in broadcast and print, at retail stores and even on customers billing statements announcing the change, AT&T said.
AT&T will eventually replace the wireless companys name completely, but existing Cingular product and service names will remain until legal and regulatory name-change filings are complete.
The use of the co-branded logo will continue until AT&T feels that customer awareness is sufficient, the company said.
AT&T is not disclosing the cost of the brand-transition campaign.
The company estimated that 20 percent of the operating expense savings from the AT&T-BellSouth merger will come from advertising, as all operations are moved under a single brand.
AT&T Inc. www.att.com
Cingular Wireless www.cingular.com