History and Timeline

The world is only going forward, and we’re happy to lead the way.

Intro - History & Timeline

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How we got to where we are today
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Verizon Communications was created on June 30, 2000 by Bell Atlantic Corp. and GTE Corp., in one of the largest mergers in U.S. business history. GTE and Bell Atlantic evolved and grew through decades of mergers, acquisitions and divestitures. Today, Verizon is a global technology company delivering the promise of the digital world to millions of customers every day.

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Watch the evolution of Verizon video

At Verizon, we’ve been building and advancing digital infrastructure and solutions for decades. Building a more connected community for all is what we do best.

Intro - History & Timeline Tool

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Explore our milestones and see how it all began
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Use the category and year filters to see how Verizon evolved into a technology leader or view our corporate history (pdf).

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February |
1997
Telecom History
Bell Atlantic merged with NYNEX

Building upon their successful wireless partnership, Bell Atlantic and NYNEX agree to merge their remaining operations. The $23 billion deal forms the “new” Bell Atlantic, one of Verizon’s direct predecessors.

February |
1996
Telecom History
The telecommunications Act of 1996

With the first major overhaul of telecom law in over 60 years, the FCC removes several regulatory barriers and opens local markets to competition. Resulting changes in the industry landscape will come to play a key role in Verizon’s formation.

July |
1995
Telecom History
A new wireless company

Bell Atlantic partners with NYNEX, a fellow Baby Bell, to create Bell Atlantic Mobile. Covering 55 million people along the East Coast and in the Southwest, this joint venture is a precursor of Verizon Wireless.

January |
1984
Telecom History
Divestiture of the Bell System

Reaching a settlement with the DOJ, AT&T relinquishes control of local telephone service, creating seven independent Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs). Bell Atlantic and NYNEX are two of these so-called “Baby Bells.”

November |
1974
Telecom History
ATT Lawsuit

The U.S. Department of Justice files an antitrust suit against AT&T, alleging anticompetitive practices. The eventual settlement will require AT&T to divest itself of the 22 local phone companies that make up the Bell System.

July |
1962
Telecom History
The first mobile telecommunications satellite

The first telecommunications satellite, Telstar, launches from Cape Canaveral. Built by Bell Labs for AT&T, Telstar relays the first transatlantic television signal and the first telephone call transmitted through space.

1949
Telecom History
Introducing the classic rotary phone

AT&T introduces the famous Model 500 rotary telephone. Durable and easy to mass produce, the 500 series becomes the standard desk telephone leased to Bell System customers for the next three decades.

1944
Telecom History
Completion of the Bell System
Completion of the Bell System

Bell Telephone of Pennsylvania buys the Keystone Telephone Company of Philadelphia, the last competing local phone company in a major U.S. city.

1942
Telecom History
East Meets West

The Bell System links the two coasts with the first all-cable telephone system. Unlike the “open wire” aerial network previously in use, the newly installed underground cable is not susceptible to weather-related service interruptions.

June |
1934
Telecom History
Universal Service

The Communications Act of 1934 establishes the FCC to regulate communications service within the U.S. One of the FCC’s mandates is to ensure universal telephone service at reasonable rates.

January |
1927
Telecom History
Transatlantic Telephone Service

With the words “Hello, London,” AT&T’s president introduces transatlantic telephone service between New York City and London. Initially, the service is available daily until 1 p.m. Eastern Time, corresponding to the end of the workday in London.

May |
1924
Telecom History
The first Fax transmission

Bell System engineers transmit 15 photos from Cleveland to New York via telephone wires. This “telephotography” process is a precursor to fax technology which will become commercially available decades later.

June |
1910
Telecom History

With passage of the Mann-Elkins Act, the Interstate Commerce Commission assumes jurisdiction over interstate telephone companies. The goal is to regulate the price of telephone calls between states and prevent monopoly.