New CEO takes over US giant AT&T

After an acquisition binge that transformed the smallest Baby Bell into a telecommunications heavyweight, AT&T now has a new chief executive, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said Randall Stephenson, 47, rose through the ranks of AT&T and previously served as its CFO and COO. He is credited with helping position the company so it could afford the buying spree that turned it into the nation's largest provider of traditional phone, wireless and broadband services, the report said.

The Associated Press report said Stephenson takes over for Edward Whitacre Jr. in time for what might be the most hyped telecommunications device launch in a generation, Apple's iPhone.

AT&T, whose wireless division was formerly known as Cingular, will be the exclusive carrier for the combination mobile phone, portable music player and web device when it launches in the US later this month, the report said.

More than one million people have signed up through AT&T's web site for a call when the iPhone becomes available, Stephenson said. It will be available in two models, priced at $499 or $599, the report said.

AT&T plans to grow through wireless, using that business segment to drive sales of its traditional phone, high-speed Internet and other services, the report further said.

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