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MVNO Spotlight: AT&T

AT&T Corporation, formerly (1899–1994) American Telephone and Telegraph Company, American corporation that provides long-distance telephone and other telecommunications services. It is a descendant of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, which built much of the United States’ long-distance and local telephone networks, becoming the world’s largest corporation and a standard for the telecommunications industry.

In 1885 Bell established the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, or AT&T, as its subsidiary responsible for building long-distance telephone lines. In 1899 AT&T was made the parent company of the Bell System.

In 1994 AT&T purchased McCaw Cellular Communications Inc., the nation’s largest provider of cellular telephone service. That same year the company also formally adopted its traditional byname, AT&T, and became the AT&T Corporation.

AT&T gave the States the largest, most advanced, and most efficient telecommunications network of any nation in the world. The company was responsible for most of the major technical advances made in telephone service, switching systems, and signal transmission during the 20th century. AT&T pioneered the building of transoceanic radiotelephone links and telephone cable systems, built early-warning radar systems for the U.S. Department of Defense, and created the Telstar satellite communications system. Bell Labs, one of the world’s foremost research centres, invented the transistor in 1948.

In 2011 the company was blocked from buying T-Mobile (TMUS) - Get T-Mobile US Inc. Report. Great grief was also stirred up over its successful acquisition of Time Warner for $85 billion. With the deal, the company gained control of a massive host of media assets. These include CNN, HBO, all of the Warner Bros. assets, and many others. The deal was fought tooth and nail by the Justice Department.

A few years later, we saw the acquisition of DirecTV for $49 billion. The deal has been a bit lackluster, as the satellite TV provider has struggled to grow its subscriber base in an ever-evolving media landscape. How the company will handle this tough market remains to be seen.

These deals have created many liabilities for AT&T, now carrying $173.5 billion in long term debt on the balance sheet. Regardless of these debts, AT&T maintains an excellent dividend yield of 5.43%. The catch over the last few years has been a stock price that has underperformed the broader market; gaining a mere 12% over the past five years. Still though, it is tough to bow out of a company that has positioned itself for a place within streaming. Future performance will likely be based around how the company reworks DirectTV, and whether it can use HBO as a platform for really making a mark in the streaming wars.

Network: AT&T (GSM)


· Great national coverage

· Good selection of plans and phones

· Good international plans

· Stores everywhere

· Fast download speed

· Discounts for a certain group of persons

· High data caps


· Slightly fewer Add-Ons

· Basic Tiers slightly more expensive

· Plans aren’t the cheapest

· Not the most generous hotspot allotments

· Poor streaming quality

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