Baby Bells


DEFINITION of 'Baby Bells'

A common nickname given to the U.S. regional telephone companies that were formed from the breakup of AT&T ("Ma Bell") in 1984. Baby Bells were created in accordance with antitrust legislation, which is designed to create more competition within the industry.


Upon the initial breakup of AT&T, the Baby Bells included Nynex in New York and New England; Bell Atlantic, BellSouth and Ameritech in the Midwest; and Southwestern Bell, U.S. West and Pacific Telesis in California and Nevada. Over time, however, these companies have gone through several more corporate changes, such as acquisitions and mergers. As a result, the industry has been consolidated into a few domestic telephone providers.

  1. F. Duane Ackerman

    The former CEO of BellSouth from 1997 to 2006 and chairman from ...
  2. Baby Bills

    A hypothetical nickname for the smaller companies that would ...
  3. Split-Up

    A corporate action in which a single company splits into two ...
  4. Antitrust

    The antitrust laws apply to virtually all industries and to every ...
  5. Price Fixing

    Establishing the price of a product or service, rather than allowing ...
  6. Monopoly

    A situation in which a single company or group owns all or nearly ...
Related Articles
  1. Markets

    Great Company Or Growing Industry?

    Look at the big picture when choosing a company - what you see may really be a stage in its industry's growth.
  2. Personal Finance

    Early Monopolies: Conquest And Corruption

    This structure can be very effective, but it is also known for its abuse of power.
  3. Personal Finance

    A History Of U.S. Monopolies

    These monoliths helped develop the economy and infrastructure at the expense of competition.
  4. Personal Finance

    Antitrust Defined

    Check out the history and reasons behind antitrust laws, as well as the arguments over them.
  5. Options & Futures

    The Basics Of Mergers And Acquisitions

    Learn what corporate restructuring is, why companies do it and why it sometimes doesn't work.
  6. Economics

    Calculating Cross Elasticity of Demand

    Cross elasticity of demand measures the quantity demanded of one good in response to a change in price of another.
  7. Economics

    Explaining Fair Market Value

    Fair market value is the price at which a buyer and seller are willing to exchange a good.
  8. Economics

    Understanding Production Efficiency

    Production efficiency is the point at which an economy cannot increase output of a good or service without lowering the production of another product.
  9. Economics

    Explaining Silo Mentality

    A silo mentality occurs when certain departments in an organization do not share information or knowledge with other departments.
  10. Economics

    5 Steps of a Bubble

    In the financial sense, a bubble refers to a situation where the price of an asset far exceeds its fundamental value.
  1. Why is the 1982 AT&T breakup considered one of the most successful spinoffs in history?

    AT&T had a history reaching back to 1885 and, as a government-supported monopoly, was a highly profitable company. Colloquially ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is the utility function and how is it calculated?

    In economics, utility function is an important concept that measures preferences over a set of goods and services. Utility ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What does marginal utility tell us about consumer choice?

    In microeconomics, utility represents a way to relate the amount of goods consumed to the amount of happiness or satisfaction ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What is the difference between JIT (just in time) and CMI (customer managed inventory)?

    Just-in-time (JIT) inventory management focuses solely on the need to replenish inventory only when it is required, reducing ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What are some examples of Apple and Google's best-selling product lines?

    There are many good examples of product lines in the technology sector from some of the largest companies in the world, such ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What is a negative write-off?

    A negative write-off is a write-off conducted by a company or accountant after deciding not to pay back an individual or ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Capitalization Rate

    The rate of return on a real estate investment property based on the income that the property is expected to generate.
  2. Gross Profit

    A company's total revenue (equivalent to total sales) minus the cost of goods sold. Gross profit is the profit a company ...
  3. Revenue

    The amount of money that a company actually receives during a specific period, including discounts and deductions for returned ...
  4. Normal Profit

    An economic condition occurring when the difference between a firm’s total revenue and total cost is equal to zero.
  5. Operating Cost

    Expenses associated with the maintenance and administration of a business on a day-to-day basis.
  6. Cost Of Funds

    The interest rate paid by financial institutions for the funds that they deploy in their business. The cost of funds is one ...
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!