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Mobile

BellSouth, SBC coin "Cingular" wireless venture name

The companies christen their new mobile phone joint venture and unveil plans for a massive marketing and advertising campaign to make it a household name.

SBC Communications and BellSouth have finally christened their new mobile phone joint venture, calling it "Cingular Wireless."

As was the case with the newly named Verizon Communications, Cingular will require a massive expenditure of advertising and marketing dollars to make it a household name.

To that end, Cingular will begin advertising almost immediately in business publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today to familiarize investors with the name. Cingular will begin its consumer marketing campaign in January, according to the company.

Until the end of the year, both parent companies will continue marketing under their existing names. Early next year, all the wireless services offered by both will be folded into the Cingular brand, however.

Federal regulators approved the merger of the parent companies' wireless properties Sept. 29. The companies agreed to merge their efforts last April, shortly after Verizon Wireless was created out of the joint properties of Bell Atlantic and Vodafone.

Once under a single brand umbrella, Cingular will be the second-largest wireless company in the United States, trailing only Verizon Wireless. The company will boast more than 19 million customers, with annual revenues of about $12 billion. SBC owns about 60 percent of the venture, and BellSouth holds the other 40 percent.

In advance of the final brand swap, the joint venture will standardize its voice and data service offers across the territory it covers. National plans will be called "Digital Edge USA," and data services will be dubbed "My Wireless Window."