Define: Baby Bells

UK Accounting Glossary

Definition: Baby Bells



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Full Definition of Baby Bells


Baby bells, or Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs), were essentially the divested local telephone service providers. Baby bells were the product of an antitrust lawsuit of 1982 entered against AT&T, which historically dominated the telephone service market in the United States. Baby bells were the direct result of Sherman Antitrust Law forcing AT&T to split itself in order to foster greater competition in the industry. Since AT&T had been nicknamed “Ma Bell”, half a dozen newly formed local phone companies became known as baby bells. Although AT&T remained in operation, baby bells had become the core carriers of local telephone service. In later years, baby bells grew larger. Consequently, baby bells took over a highly dynamic telecommunications sector by building vast fiber optic networks for Internet data traffic.


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Definition Sources


Definitions for Baby Bells are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 4th February 2020.