SBC bought what was left of the original AT&T (“Ma Bell”), and changed its own name to the better-known AT&T. (This has happened in the past, where a lesser-known entity has bought a better-known one, or a smaller bought a bigger, in either case adopting the name and/or logos of the bought entity.)
Cingular was formerly a joint venture of SBC and BellSouth, which itself (ie, Cingular) at one point acquired AT&T Wireless, but only became branded itself as something like AT&T when SBC bought BellSouth and what was left of the old AT&T, and adopted the latter’s name.
Long story short, there’s alot more to “the new AT&T” than just the former Cingular. Why the former SBC is focusing so much on the former Cingular (ie, cellular service) in marketing is beyond me!
If various Wikipedia articles have it wrong, your mileage may vary….
I will say this: In my more skeptical moments over the years I have doubted that the old AT&T was actually broken-up in the ’80s… paradoxically, a decision I mostly opposed. But again if Wikipedia has it right, in fact it was, and although superficially it appears to have been substantially re-assembled as the whole “new AT&T,” there have been alot of spin-offs, as well as surviving new startups, in the former’s ‘semantic field.’
Are the American people better off? Folks point to the telecommunications ‘revolution’ that has occurred in the last 25 years. Would it not have taken place, or be as far along as it is today, if we had been allowed to keep the economy, convenience, and relative accountability of Ma Bell? (Would THAT be a good thing or a bad thing?!!) The scientists at the original AT&T were pretty smart dudes and dudettes, after all. Also, at least one of the articles alleges post-breakup AT&T’s venture into computer science, the real driver of the ‘revolution,’ was ill-fated; IOW, it was other people anyway!
So what do we really have today in old AT&T’s place?: a miasma of fragmentary-seeming names and corporations, phone-service pricing that seems to be completely arbitrary (“whatever the market will bear”… or can be tricked into bearing), little or no regulation or true accountability, tons of money poured into duplicating many times over what most sensibly should be a single top-quality network of telephonic hardware (After all, the shortest distance between any two points is still one straight line!), increased unreliability, decreased sound quality, zillions of seemingly fly-by-night businesses and services and products, tons of OUR money poured into lobbying Washington against the public interest and only in the interest of corporate fat-cats, etc. etc. etc.
Of course, this was all brought to you largely by the Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Bush/Cheney pro-business, anti-people ‘revolution’ of the last 27 years (brought to us all by Iran/Contra/October-Surprise)….