AT&T- Pissing Off Customers since 1879?

AT&T seems large now, but one century ago it was worth the equivalent of $300 billion (2012 dollars). That would have made it the third largest company in the world today. Also, although they may seem sort of complacent now, they actually did do some great things in the past (the title was a joke). The US’s largest telecom company has had quite the fascinating history and I wanted to do a little spotlight on it then and now

So What’s Cool About AT&T?

  • First of all, it was founded by Alexander Graham Bell. He’s the guy who engineered the telephone. Absolute Boss.
  • Back in the day, they were the first to do everything. First Coast-to-coast telephone network? Yep. Back then telephone networks were hard to build. It took ten years to get from New York to Chicago. Of course, AT&T did it. But that’s not the coolest thing. The coolest thing they built was the transatlantic Telecom network.
  • So how did they build a network crossing the atlantic ocean at the turn of the century? They basically connected the telephone network to a two-way radio. Think holding a phone up to a walkie talkie. That was how talking to someone in London from New York was for several years. After that, AT&T built a wire across the Atlantic (the first). It Literally crossed the Atlantic.
  • You know who brought sound to movies? AT&T. This one surprised me, but I guess they are sound experts so it makes sense.
  • Since around 1970 they’ve done very little (besides being the launch carrier for the iPhone).
AT&T 19th Century Coverage Map

An Old AT&T Coverage Map- Public Domain

What I’ve mentioned is really just the tip of the iceberg on the history of AT&T from the olden days, so if you are curious, I found a list of some more cool innovations here.

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Michael Sitver

Michael Sitver is a technology insider who has been blogging about technology since 2011. Along the way, he's interviewed founders of innovative startups, and executives from fortune 500 companies, and he's tried dozens or hundreds of gadgets. Michael has also contributed to works featured in Newsday, The San Francisco Chronicle, and the associated press. Michael also occasionally consults, and writes for Seeking Alpha and Yahoo News.

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