SBC Communications, which expects to close its acquisition of AT&T this year, said on Thursday that it will adopt the name AT&T once the deal is finalised. It will be AT&T Inc, however, rather than AT&T Corp.

Edward E Whitacre Jr, SBC's chairman and CEO, said in a statement that the AT&T brand has unparalleled recognition around the globe.

At the close of the acquisition, a new logo will be revealed as part of the largest multimedia advertising and marketing blitz that either company has ever launched, the firm said.

Industry analysts have been speculating in recent months about whether SBC would change its name to AT&T or keep its own brand. Many concluded that choosing AT&T would be a smart decision, given that it is a widely recognised brand.

AT&T was forced to spin off its local phone business in the 1980s into a handful of regional companies. Since then, the AT&T brand has been largely associated with long-distance telephone services.

In some parts of the US, such as the north-central region, where the local phone company was bought by SBC, customers with long memories will have seen the name of their local telephone service change from AT&T to Ameritech to SBC and now back to AT&T again.