The Bell System was a system of companies, led by the Bell Telephone Company and later by the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T), that dominated the telephone services industry in North America for over 100 years from its creation in 1877 until its antitrust breakup in 1983.
The breakup of the Bell System was mandated on January 8, 1982, by a consent decree providing that AT&T Corporation would, as had been initially proposed by AT&T, relinquish control of the Bell Operating Companies, which had provided local telephone service in the United States.
Bell System, a former American telephone system, governed by American Telephone & Telegraph Company (now AT&T Corporation; q.v.) and including Western Electric Company (q.v.), the system’s manufacturer; Bell Laboratories (q.v.), the research and development facility; and other departments
A Bell System logo, called the Blue Bell, used from 1889 to 1900. The Bell Telephone Company and its successors created the Bell System and drove its expansion. The Bell Telephone Company was the initial corporate entity from which the Bell System originated to build a continental conglomerate and monopoly in telecommunication services in the ...
The Bell System. Manhole cover in the French Quarter of New Orleans displaying the Bell System Logo.2017. Photo courtesy of Nanette Gibbs. As far back as August 5, 1858, when the first transatlantic cable was completed, August has been a month of firsts and change for the Bell System.
In the Bell System, telephones were leased by the operating companies to subscribers, and remained the property of the Bell System. Service subscribers paid a monthly fee included in the service charge, while paying additionally for special types or features of telephones, such as colored telephone sets.
Bell System. The Bell System was a system of companies. The companies were led by the Bell Telephone Company and later by AT&T (the American Telephone and Telegraph Company).  The Bell System provided telephone service to most of the United States and Canada. Sometimes, it was a monopoly .