Starting life as Southwestern Bell Corporation, following the breakup of the AT&T Corporation monopoly in 1983, the company later renamed itself to SBC Communications Inc. In 2005, SBC purchased its former parent, AT&T Corp., taking on both its name and branding.
Within the U.S. wireless segment, AT&T and Verizon continue to fight for top spot, both sitting comfortably above Sprint Corporation and T-Mobile US in terms of revenue. AT&T has a subscriber base of approximately 77.8 million postpaid and 13.5 million prepaid customers as of 2016, and AT&T's monthly churn rate remains one of the lowest in the industry, sitting at just 1.71 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016. In terms of monthly average revenue per user (ARPU), AT&T generates approximately 51 U.S. dollars per user per month.
In the wireline market, AT&T and Verizon again lead the market, while CenturyLink retains the third-largest market share. In the U.S. pay-TV market, AT&T has become the market leader via the acquisition of DirecTV, putting it ahead of Comcast, Dish, and Verizon. In October 2016, AT&T has agreed to acquire Time Warner in one of the largest acquisitions of the industry. Some of the brands under the Times Warner umbrella include HBO, CNN and Warner Bros.
In 2016, the brand value of AT&T was estimated to be around 107 billion U.S. dollars, making it one of the most valuable telecommunications brands in the world. This was supported by 3.87 billion U.S. dollars in advertising spending in 2015 within the United States alone.