The US telecom industry continues to consolidate--AT&T today announced a $67 billion buyout of BellSouth. Just months ago SBC bought AT&T for $16B and adopted its name. Executives believe the move will save over $2B annually.
The combined company will have complete ownership of Cingular Wireless, the largest mobile carrier in the US. According [paid sub req] to the Wall Street Journal, insiders said that Cingular was the driving force behind the deal:
It was the steep growth of Cingular -- joint owned by BellSouth and the former SBC -- that helped push the two firms together, say telecom bankers familiar with the space. As the importance of the wireless business grew, they say, it became inevitable that SBC (which adopted the AT&T name just months ago) would consolidate its position in the South. Put together, the SBC territory would extend from California to Florida, north to Illinois and south to Texas.
AT&T will have a major presence across the country in broadband, long distance, local phone service and wireless. It will dwarf Verizon in size.