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World Telecommunications Markets

The International Handbook of Telecommunications Economics, Volume III

Edited by Gary Madden

This major reference work provides a thorough and up-to-date survey and analysis of recent developments in the economics of telecommunications. The Handbook serves both as a source of reference and technical supplement for the field of telecommunications economics.
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Chapter 7: The evolution of US WEST and Media One

Martin G. Taschdjian


7. The evolution of US WEST and MediaOne Martin G. Taschdjian INTRODUCTION Over the period from its formation in 1984 as part of the break-up of AT&T and the Bell System, to its creation and later spin-off from MediaOne, the saga of US WEST’s evolution into international markets and broadband technology is an archetypical story of the telecommunications revolution. The history of the company’s strategic initiatives and the learning and adjustments that it made along the way offer a fascinating insight into issues of convergence, diversification, technology, competition, shareholder value and public policy. By the end of the 1990s, just prior to its acquisition by QWEST, US WEST once again looked very much like the Regional Bell Operating Company (RBOC) that had been created in 1984. The lessons that were learned along the way suggest that the prospects for AT&T’s strategy of evolving from a long-distance carrier into a local broadband services company face significant challenges, mainly around melding corporate cultures and conflicting belief systems. Its success will depend in a large measure on how management addresses and resolves these issues. THE LATE 1980S AND THE US WEST ENTRY INTO INTERNATIONAL MARKETS For the first five years of the existence of US WEST, one of the legacies of the Bell System that continued was the practice of comparing the company to the other Bell Operating Companies for purposes of determining executive compensation.1 Each year, the staff prepared a comparison of stock prices and changes,...

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