POWER PLAY: Marc Lefar, 41, used Cingular's $1 billion-plus marketing budget to transition consumer recognition of AT&T Wireless into the merged Cingular brand. He also, as the company's tagline goes, raised the bar with a number of strategically targeted offerings such as ringtones of Coldplay's "Sound of Speed" preceding the song's release. With a strategy of filling its retail shelves with depth and breadth in handsets, Cingular had the hot phone of the 2004 holiday season with Motorola's Razr and is trying for a second holiday hit with the Motorola iTunes phone.
DOWNSIDE: Cingular is trying to keep its edge over No. 2 Verizon Wireless, which in the second quarter added nearly twice as many new customers as Cingular. Some promos, such as voting on "American Idol," are in their fourth year. Continuing customer service problems aren't easily fixed.