BellSouth Corporation (NYSE: BLS) is a U.S. telecommunications company based in Atlanta, Georgia. BellSouth was one of the seven original Regional Bell Operating Companies after the U.S. Department of Justice forced the American Telephone and Telegraph Company to divest itself of its regional telephone companies on January 1, 1984. It is also the only "Baby Bell" or Regional Bell Operating Company (Cincinnati Bell was an independent Bell System franchise) that still uses the Bell symbol in its logo.
The subsidiaries Southern Bell and South Central Bell have now been combined to operate under the corporate name BellSouth. Services provided in the BellSouth operating area include telephone and DSL/Dial-Up Internet services in the States of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
BellSouth is realigning itself in two important areas, wireless and broadband. A 40 percent joint venture with AT&T (formerly SBC) in U.S. wireless telephone service Cingular provides a large percentage of BellSouth's revenue. Continued increase of broadband penetration and applications in the consumer market is a key strategy to the company. These activities are being funded in part by the sale of Latin America operations.
BellSouth is currently the only "Baby Bell" that does not operate pay telephones. By 2003, BellSouth's payphone operation was discontinued because it had become too unprofitable, most likely due to the increased availability of cell phones. Cincinnati Bell has taken BellSouth's place for payphones in northern BellSouth territory; independents have set in further south.
BellSouth operates many companies to provide the services that customers consider as coming from BellSouth. The BellSouth Corporation is the holding company. The operating companies include BellSouth Telecommunications (local phone company), BellSouth.net (the ISP), BellSouth Long Distance (the long distance carrier), and Cingular Wireless (formerly BellSouth Mobility, jointly owned with AT&T). There are other operating companies, like the publishing and advertising companies, but the ones mentioned above are the main ones.
The BellSouth - AT&T relationship goes further than just Cingular Wireless. BellSouth & AT&T also co-own yellowpages.com (formerly RealPages.com and SmartPages.com)