Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Back to AT&T again

My current research project revolves around the telecommunication industry, trends and events that have shaped the nature of technology and especially customer adaptations to new technologies. The US market has always had just a handful of players who control the entire market, with AT&T being at the top. The company has long been the customers top choice for local and long distance telephony, so when it became Cingular, it wasn't a very good idea in customers eyes.

Cingular was a new brand name, a name that not all customers were even familiar with, while AT&T had been around for ages and everyone knew about it. AT&T has always been my first choice of phone, no matter where I lived, since they had really great coverage. In fact, selecting AT&T wasn't even a choice, it simply was the best and that was it. Cingular connected only with a very niche audience and to be a nationally known carrier, it is essential to have a wide reach, which it wasn't able to to and thus the name is being switched back to being AT&T again.

I think its a great move and will result in an increase in sales for the company as well as more brand awareness. The new AT&T's first phone is likely to be the Apple iPhone, even though most people think of it as a Cingular exclusive. It actually might have been better to launch the new AT&T with an entirely new phone or brand to raise the level of excitement for it. The Apple iPhone is pretty amazing though, and might manage to draw in customer anyway. What remains to be seen is the lasting power of this new re-branding of Cingular / AT&T. Hopefully it will last longer than the last one, since any more changes will only end in confusing and eventually driving away customers.

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