Ma Bell: Even Closer

The new AT&T (created by a merger of AT&T and SBC late last year) is once again shopping for companies to merge with. This time, they’re looking to purchase BellSouth, for $67 billion. Among other things, the merger would result in AT&T completely owning wireless phone carrier Cingular. Verizon and Qwest will be the only two remaining Regional Bell Operating Companies.

Analysts expect that AT&T will have little trouble getting merger approval from the FCC.

Last year, Verizon sold off its Hawai’i landline division to Hawaiian Telcom. As a result, customers will likely see minimal change. Cell phone customers, however, may see increasingly steep discounts as AT&T and its competitors try to achieve superiority in the industry.