Managing the merger

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The merger creating the largest wireless telecommunications marketer in the nation was carried out using the steps outlined by Cingular Chief Operating Officer Ralph de la Vega at a meeting with analysts earlier this month:

February 2004: Cingular agrees to buy AT&T Wireless

Oct. 26: Government approvals received early in the morning and a deal is signed shortly after 10 a.m. Clean room opened with top 53 executive leaders.

Oct. 28: Advertising launches. Every employee receives company game plan and playbook.

Oct. 29: 38 million point-of-purchase pieces go into distribution.

Nov. 14: 1,100 former AT&T Wireless stores are made-over into Cingular stores in a four-hour period.

Nov. 15: Launch of common service experience allowing all customers to get the same rate plans, equipment, etc. Four thousand temporary service representatives are in place, along with 100,000 employees who have received 2 million hours of training. Second advertising wave launched.

RESULTS: Unaided brand awareness is up 20% and customers rating the service as best are up significantly, said Mr. de la Vega.

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