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For information on the holding company Southwestern Bell Corporation, later SBC Communications, Inc., and now AT&T Inc., see AT&T.
Southwestern Bell Telephone Company
Type Private (Subsidiary of AT&T)
Founded 1882 (original company)
2007 (current company)
Headquarters Dallas, Texas, USA
Key people Mark Keiffer, President & CEO
Industry Telecommunications
Products Local Telephone Service
Parent AT&T (2007-present)

Southwestern Bell Telephone Company is a wholly owned subsidiary of AT&T. It does business as AT&T Southwest and other d/b/a names in its operating region.

The company is currently headquartered in Dallas, Texas at One AT&T Plaza.



Missouri and Kansas Telephone Company logo, 1882-1920
1897 map of service area

The Missouri and Kansas Telephone Company was officially founded in 1882[1][2]. It was consolidated under the management of a single management unit of the Bell System with Southwestern Telegraph and Telephone Company of Texas-Arkansas, Pioneer Telephone and Telegraph Company of Oklahoma, and The Bell Telephone Company of Missouri-also called The Missouri Bell Telephone Company-on March 1, 1912. These companies comprised the "Southwestern System" of the Bell System. The latter 3 companies were legally merged into Missouri and Kansas Telephone Company in 1920, which was renamed Southwestern Bell Telephone Company [3].

Southwestern Bell logo, 1921–1939
Southwestern Bell logo, 1939–1964

The company was often considered the first step of the AT&T corporate "ladder" before the 1984 breakup of that company. While part of the Bell System, it was at times the biggest Bell Operating Company of the 22 AT&T owned.



Southwestern Bell Corporation

For current information on SBC, see AT&T.
Southwestern Bell logo, 1964–1969

Following the breakup of AT&T, Southwestern Bell Telephone Company was managed by Southwestern Bell Corporation, which was ironically the smallest of all of the seven "Baby Bells", as it only held one telephone company. Both the holding company, SBC, and Southwestern Bell Telephone itself were often referred to as "Southwestern Bell". In 1995, however, SBC decided to change its corporate name to SBC Communications, Inc. (now AT&T) in order to make itself a national telecommunications company — a move facilitated by the Telecommunications Act of 1996. SBC acquired the Pacific Telesis Group in 1997, Southern New England Telecommunications in 1998, and Ameritech in 1999.

Legal status

On December 30, 2001, the original Southwestern Bell Telephone Co., incorporated in Missouri, ceased to exist when it was merged into Southwestern Bell Texas, Inc., a separate operating company[4]. At that point, former properties of the 1882-founded company were transferred to a company founded the same day, Southwestern Bell Telephone, L.P., incorporated in Texas[5]. This company ceased to exist on June 29, 2007, when it and its properties were merged into SWBT Inc., incorporated in Missouri[6], which was founded just 8 days prior. At that point, SWBT Inc. took the formerly dormant name Southwestern Bell Telephone Company.


Southwestern Bell logo, 1969–1999

From its name change in 1920 until 1999, SWBT was branded as Southwestern Bell. In 1999, SBC Communications began to attach its corporate name to the names of the Bell Operating Companies it owned. This change resulted in the Southwestern Bell logo (with the Bell logo) being followed by a divider line with "SBC Global Network" enclosed in a circle with the Pacific Telesis "access" mark. In 2000, the Bell logo was dropped from the mark of Southwestern Bell. In 2001, SBC standardized its operating company branding logos, and placed the SBC corporate logo toward the northwest of the name "Southwestern Bell", and it became known as SBC Southwestern Bell. The Southwestern Bell brand vanished in 2002 when SBC dropped the names of all its operating companies to use "SBC" as a national brand. Since d/b/a names weren't approved until the beginning of 2003, the Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. name remained on phone book covers issed in December 2002 and January 2003.

Southwestern Bell logo, 2000–2001

After d/b/a names were approved, SBC began to officially use the Southwestern Bell Telephone, L.P. name conjoined with the following titles:

  • d/b/a SBC Arkansas
  • d/b/a SBC Kansas
  • d/b/a SBC Missouri
  • d/b/a SBC Oklahoma
  • d/b/a SBC Texas

SBC then created SBC Southwest as a collective d/b/a name for all of Southwestern Bell's operations.

SBC Southwestern Bell logo, 2001–2002

SBC Communications bought AT&T Corp. on November 18, 2005, and changed its name to AT&T Inc. Shortly afterwards, on January 15, 2006, AT&T companies were given new d/b/a names. As a result, officially, Southwestern Bell Telephone, L.P. is now joined with the titles:

  • d/b/a AT&T Arkansas
  • d/b/a AT&T Kansas
  • d/b/a AT&T Missouri
  • d/b/a AT&T Oklahoma
  • d/b/a AT&T Texas

The collective d/b/a name is now AT&T Southwest.

Southwestern Bell payphone with new AT&T signage

Branded products

Southwestern Bell Freedom Phone logo

Southwestern Bell began licensing its name to Conair Corporation shortly after the AT&T breakup, creating the Southwestern Bell Freedom Phone. Conair continues to produce this line of telephones and telephone accessories.[7]


AT&T is now based at One AT&T Plaza in Dallas, TX. AT&T Internet Services is based in River Place in Austin, TX


  1. ^ Southwestern Bell Telephone Co Annual Report (Regulation S-K, item 405) (10-K405) Item 1. Business
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^
  4. ^ Missouri Secretary of State
  5. ^ Missouri Secretary of State
  6. ^ Missouri Secretary of State
  7. ^ Southwestern Bell Freedom Phone

Simple English

Southwestern Bell is an American telephone company. It serves Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas and Texas. Southwestern Bell is currently owned by AT&T. The company was founded around 1920.


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