Telephone company

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A telephone company (also known as a telco or telecommunications operator) is a service provider of telecommunications services such as telephony and data communications access. Many were at one time nationalized or state-regulated monopolies. These monopolies are often referred to, primarily in Europe, as Postal Telegraph and Telephones (PTTs).

Telephone companies are also known as common carriers, and in the United States as Local Exchange Carriers (LECs). With the advent of cellular telephony, telephone companies now include wireless carriers, or mobile network operators.

Most telephone companies now also function as internet service providers (ISPs), and the distinction between a telephone company and an ISP may disappear completely over time, as the current trend for supplier convergence in the industry continues.


Popular culture

  • Comedian Lily Tomlin frequently satirized the telephone industry (and the country's then-dominant Bell System in particular) with a skit playing the telephone operator Ernestine. Ernestine, who became one of Tomlin's trademark characters, was perhaps most famous for the following line: "We don't care; we don't have to. We're the phone company."
  • In the satirical 1967 film The President's Analyst, "TPC, The Phone Company," is depicted as plotting to enslave humanity by replacing landlines with cell phones.

See also

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