Telecommunications

SBC Buys AT&T; The Learner Becomes the Master

AT&T LogosJanuary 31, 2005

SBC announced that it would purchase AT&T Corp. for more than $16 billion. This completed (maybe) the long and sordid tale of the old AT&T company after their breakup in 1984. SBC, one of the original “baby bells”, renamed itself AT&T after the merger, confusing nearly everyone in the world as to which company was which anymore.

First Transcontinental Phone Service

The First Transcontinental Phone CallJanuary 25, 1915

Alexander Graham Bell inaugurates U.S. transcontinental telephone service, speaking from New York to Thomas Watson in San Francisco. President Woodrow Wilson and the mayors of both cities were also involved in the call.

911 is Born

January 12, 1968

AT&T announces the designation of 911 as a universal emergency number.

Apple Introduces iPhone

January 9, 2007

Apple introduces the iPhone at Macworld. The phone wasn’t available for sale until June 29th, prompting one of the most heavily anticipated sales launches in the history of technology. Apple sold 1.4 million iPhones in 2007, steadily increasing each year to sell over 230 million in 2015 alone.

AT&T Settles; Agrees to Breakup

January 8, 1982

The US Department of Justice and AT&T finalize a settlement under which AT&T agrees to divest itself of twenty-two subdivisions, to take effect January 1, 1984.

First Day of Transatlantic Phone Service

January 7, 1927

The first commercial transatlantic phone service was made available to the public. It used radio signals rather than the undersea cable or satellite technology of today. 31 calls were made between New York and London that day.

Morse Demonstrates Telegraph

January 6, 1838

Samuel Morse’s telegraph system is demonstrated for the first time at the Speedwell Iron Works in Morristown, New Jersey. The telegraph revolutionized long-distance communications, reaching the height of popularity in the 1920’s and 1930’s. It was slowly replaced by the telephone, faxing, and e-mail, however, it wasn’t until January 2006 that Western Union, perhaps the most famous “telegram” company, sent its last telegraph.

Nexus is the One

January 5, 2010

The Nexus One phone goes on sale. While not the first Android phone, it was the first phone to be branded and marketed directly by Google. In fact, it was available for purchase directly from Google’s web store for about 7 months after launch.

Motorola StarTAC Introduced

motorola_startacJanuary 3, 1996

Motorola introduces the StarTAC, the first clamshell flip cell phone. The smallest and lightest cell phone available at the time, the StarTAC’s “wearability” made it one of the first cell phones to achieve mainstream popularity. About 60 million StarTAC phones were sold over the series’ lifetime, becoming the stereotype for what most people refer to as “flip phones,” even to this day.

The Breakup of Ma Bell

January 1, 1984

The original American Telephone & Telegraph Company is divested of its 22 Bell System companies as a result of the settlement of the 1974 United States Department of Justice antitrust suit against AT&T.