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Having already taken over Cingular, AT&T plans to dissolve even the Cingular name by the end of the year.  Previously, Cingular had taken over AT&T Wireless, but now AT&T is back on top—a position that will require the company to make some tough decisions.

Cingular represented a youthful brand, and AT&T intends to focus on that market and develop its own brand to appeal to consumers in it.  Although it will dissolve the Cingular name, it will maintain the brand’s orange color in its advertising.  Furthermore, AT&T plans to make it very clear to its customers that it is in the wireless business.

To maintain the “cool” factor of the Cingular brand, AT&T must continuously deliver products that young consumers want, which means it must be constantly innovating. In one such effort, the company has partnered with Apple as the exclusive provider of the iPhone.  Even though the iPhone does not actually feature the AT&T name, its widely hyped launch brought millions of consumers to the 1,800 AT&T stores—the only places they could snatch up the latest high-tech must have.

In this heavily fragmented wireless market, AT&T is trying all types of marketing, including viral programs, Web-based programs, nontraditional outdoor, print, and many other methods to catch people’s attention.  AT&T’s focus centers not only on the consolidation of Cingular but on the remarkable success of the iPhone.

Discussion Questions:

1. How is AT&T rebranding itself?

2. If you want to purchase the iPhone, would you switch your cell phone service provider to make this purchase?

Kang, Stephanie, “Questions For … Wendy Clark,” The Wall Street Journal, June 20, 2007.