Telephone company

Telephone company

A telephone company (or telco) provides telecommunications services such as telephony and data communications. Most of the largest telcos, whatever their origins, are or were at one time nationalized or state-regulated monopolies. These monopolies are often referred to, primarily in Europe, as PTTs.

Telcos are also known as common carriers, and in the Unites States as local exchange carriers. With the advent of cellular telephony, telcos now include wireless carriers, or network operators.

Most telcos now also function as ISPs, and the distinction between telco and ISP may disappear completely over time, as the current trend for supplier convergence in the industry continues.


On the American comedy program "Saturday Night Live", guest host comedian Lily Tomlin once satirized the telephone industry (and the country's then-dominant Bell System in particular) with a skit in which she played one of her trademark characters, telephone operator Ernestine. In the skit, she disconnects the phone service for a large area, and utters the now-famous quote:

:"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.

ee also

* The Phone Company
* VoIP Voice over Internet Protocol
* ITSP Internet Telephony Service Provider
* List of telephone operating companies
* List of mobile network operators
* Mobile network operator

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