AT&T Communications

AT&T Communications, Inc.
Industry Telecommunications
Predecessor American Telephone and Telegraph Company
Successor AT&T Corp.
Founded 1984
Defunct 2010
Headquarters Bedminster, New Jersey, United States
Products Long distance
Parent AT&T Corp. (1984-2005)
AT&T (2005-2010)

AT&T Communications, Inc., was a division of the AT&T Corp. that, through 23 subsidiaries, provided interexchange carrier and long distance telephone services.


Line through western Montana, 1934
Horn reflector antennas on AT&T Long Lines microwave relay station, Seattle, Washington

AT&T Long Lines

The American Telephone & Telegraph Long Lines wire, cable, and microwave radio relay network provided long-distance services to AT&T and its customers. The connection to other countries from the United States began here. By the 1970s, 95% of distance and 70% of intercity telephone calls in the United States were carried by AT&T.

AT&T Long Lines logo, 1939-1964

Before utilizing microwave relay and coaxial cables, AT&T used lines for long distance service. In 1911, the system connected New York to Denver.[1] The introduction of repeater towers allowed such connections to reach across North America. In the 1930s the company experimented with long-distance coaxial cable. The first long-distance L-carrier coaxial link in 1936 connected Philadelphia and New York City. With improved klystrons and other devices devised for World War II, it was quickly determined that relay networks were easy to build, especially over mountainous regions and rough terrain. Coaxial systems connected all major US cities, but the primary links used microwaves.

Formal opening of the United States coast-to-coast connection was on August 17, 1951 via AT&T's network control center in New York City. A presidential address from Harry Truman at the San Francisco Peace Conference on September 4, 1951[2] opened the network, demonstrating coast-to-coast television service. The first regularly scheduled show to use this was Edward R. Murrow's See It Now on November 18, 1951. Later the network allowed events such as American Bandstand and ABC's Monday Night Football to be broadcast live nationally and permitted distribution of regional sports events, such as Saturday football games prior to the adoption of satellite communications in the 1970s.

AT&T Long Lines logo, 1969-1983

By the 1980s, alternatives supplemented what was in place.

Long Lines briefly published a periodical, TWX, targeted to companies that used AT&T's equipment and services, particularly TeletypeWriter eXchange, from which it took its name. The periodical was discontinued in 1952.[3]

Direct distance dialing

In 1950, New York City's five boroughs were dialed from various communities in New Jersey with the digits '1-1' followed by the 7 digit telephone number. While New York City was assigned area code 212 at the very beginning of the Area Code format in October 1947, it wouldn't be until later in the 1950s when Englewood, New Jersey customers would dial their calls to New York City using the digits 2-1-2. The use of the '11+' code from Englewood (and other parts of northeastern New Jersey) to call New York City had been in place for a while, even prior to 1951. New York City's five boroughs also had been dialing northeastern New Jersey as 11+ the two letters and five digits of the New Jersey number as well for a while prior to 1951 and until the latter 1950s.

32 Avenue of the Americas, New York headquarters and principal switching center of AT&T Long Lines in mid 20th century; still used in 2008
Long Lines relay tower in Indiana.

The use of area code 201 to call New Jersey from New York City didn't begin until the latter 1950s. Other cities in northeastern New Jersey were dialable in 1951 (and for a few years prior) from Englewood by simply dialing the two letters of the exchange name and remaining five digits. In addition to New York City, the Nassau County part of Long Island was dialable from Englewood and Teaneck using area code 516. Also Westchester County, Rockland County, and portions of Orange and Putnam Counties were also dialable from Englewood and Teaneck in 1951 using area code 914.

Early in the 20th century, the telephone companies organized a "Separations and Settlements" processed the revenues of long distance calls according to their respective costs. The mid-century advent of microwave and other high capacity systems dramatically cut the cost of long-haul operations, but pricing did not decline proportionally. Rather, the local fraction of revenue-sharing rose to subsidize local service.

AT&T Communications

AT&T Communications became one of the three core sales units of AT&T after reorganization of assets.

AT&T divided AT&T Communications into 22 operating companies, serving the regions of each Bell Operating Company that was spun off. Some of these companies are currently operating:

The other companies, which have been merged into AT&T Corp., included:

Following the Telecommunications Act of 1996, AT&T Communications began reselling Bell Operating Company-provided telephone service at lower prices to compete with the Baby Bells. Their names were: Ameritech, Bell Atlantic, BellSouth, NYNEX, Pacific Telesis, Southwestern Bell, and US West. The advertising campaign which had a broad appeal was named AT&T CallVantage.

AT&T–SBC Communications merger

In 2005, SBC Communications purchased AT&T Corp., the parent company of AT&T Communications. SBC had already been offering its own long distance services through SBC Long Distance LLC in its own territory in competition with other long distance companies. As a result, AT&T Communications was refocused to seek new customers outside of the AT&T 13-state region served by its Bell Operating Companies.

In 2010, AT&T Communications (and subsidiary AT&T Communications of New England) was merged into AT&T Corp.[4] In 2012, 17 more of the AT&T Communications companies were dissolved into AT&T Corp., leaving only the companies in Indiana, New York, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. as the last remnants of the 1984-created structure.


AT&T Communications is headquartered in Bedminster, New Jersey at the AT&T Network Operations Center.

See also


External links

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