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AT&T Makeover Sunsets Cingular As iPhone Approaches

The Cingular brand is being replaced overnight with AT&T branding in stores and kiosks and in point-of-sale materials in 1,800 company-owned outlets.
Can Ma Bell be far behind now that AT&T is launching another major branding campaign? Probably not.

The much-beloved and sometimes-maligned grand old lady of the telecommunications industry is being replaced by AT&T's cool new icon -- Apple's iPhone. The telecom giant is launching another rebranding campaign designed to get consumers to warm to the new, new AT&T and forget its former Cingular Wireless and AT&T Wireless units.

"AT&T Gears Up for iPhone Launch," reads Monday's notice by AT&T. The new campaign is designed to instill in customers' minds the idea that AT&T offers a range of one-stop shopping services and products from the iPhone and AT&T Experience Stores to high speed internet and television. And, yes, the company still offers traditional home telephone services, too.

Banished to eventual oblivion is the firm's Cingular unit; AT&T said the Cingular brand is being replaced overnight with AT&T branding in stores, kiosks and in point-of-sale materials in 1,800 company-owned outlets.

"Our branding campaign is performing at and above projected levels and customers response has been very positive," said Randall Stephenson, AT&T's chief operating officer, in a statement. "We are excited to move into the next phase of transforming AT&T into the only communications provider our customers will ever want."

In 2004, Cingular Wireless, then a combine of SBC Communications and BellSouth, conducted a successful rebranding campaign for a new Cingular campaign.

The campaign unveiled Monday exploits the anticipation of Apple's iPhone. "Beginning today," AT&T said, "customers of the nation's largest wireless carrier will be seeing more of the new AT&T than ever before as the company prepares to launch the Apple iPhone, one of the most highly-anticipated wireless products in recent history."

AT&T has an arrangement with Apple to market the iPhone exclusively in the United States. The phone will have Wi-Fi capability, which will give it high-speed data capacity.