See ya Cingular, yo AT&T

We’d be hard pressed to ever admit that we would actually miss any telecom moniker, but still. . . . AT&T’s announcement this morning that it’s starting the final phase of its rebranding efforts from Cingular to AT&T, does make us pause. The Cingular brand, which Om says it cost nearly $4 billion to build-up, just fell into the dustbin of the rare well-known and now retired brand names.

While everyone has been waiting for them to make the change over, not everyone agrees it’s a good move. Analysts say that AT&T was disappointed with last quarter’s postpaid subscribers adds and partially attributes that to the re-branding efforts of its mobile service. That’s why the company is using the iPhone to put the seal on the branding play.

But a lot of folks also think Cingular would be a better branding umbrella than the staid phone company-conveying AT&T. Including our readers — 54% of them say Cingular is a better choice, while only 28% like AT&T better.

While the company definitely needs one brand for its quadruple play, our readers think Cingular says the young, wireless mobile user far better than the historically named American Telephone and Telegraph company. AT&T says positive things like corporate, and secure, but also traditional technology, ie phones — yuck.

I think the rebranding is a mistake and a result of both group think and loyalty to the old days of telecom. The fact that most of the senior management at AT&T are lifelong telecommunications professionals influences all of their decisions. – Sean

This is a huge mistake. Cingular’s brand is the antithesis of AT&T. It’s personal, individual, young and hip. When I think of AT&T I think of my grandmother, long distance and rotary phones – Matt Dickman

Read similar comments for these two posts: Cingular vs AT&T: The Name Game, and Cingular is AT&T for now.

Others see no other options for AT&T:

There was no way they were going to rename the entire company Cingular (there would have never been a Cingular if SBC had been able to acquire Bellsouth back in the Clinton days), so what else were they going to do, really. – Jesse Kopelman

Our readers have even suggested a Cingular MVNO might be an interesting move. Anything to keep the name in play it seems. OK, maybe our mobile-loving readers are a little biased.

Maybe the AT&T rebrand will go the way of Prince — confused consumers just stick to the original. We’ll have to see how their subscriber numbers do over the next few quarters.


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