Photo of AT&T Bell Laboratories

AT&T Bell Laboratories

  • National Medal of Technology and Innovation
  • Communications

For contribution over decades to modern communication systems.

The history of AT&T Bell Laboratory dates back to the invention of the telephone itself. The Bell Telephone Company was established in 1879 by Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone. Up until 1982, the company was the sole telephone provider in the U.S.

AT&T was the first company to establish trans-continental telephone lines, allowing people across the U.S. to talk on the phone. In 1927, AT&T established the first trans-Atlantic phone line, connecting phones across countries, initially between the U.S. and London.

In 1947, before the technology of the mobile phone even existed, AT&T conceived the concept of the cellular telephone. It was also the first company to produce satellite communications, and transmit the first live television broadcast across the Atlantic. AT&T continues to push barriers in communication technologies, and pioneers improvements to how individuals communicate across the world.

By Jen Santisi