The recent news that Cingular is making a serious bid to purchase AT&T Wireless is no surprise. It was only a matter of time before more consolidation in the wireless arena occurred. This latest news, as reported in today's Wall Street Journal (registration required), however, could make the connection consumers have with Ma Bell fainter. If the deal does go through, Cingular plans to phase out the name AT&T.

It was a surprising statement to many wireless marketing experts, since Cingular would be hanging its hat on a name that's less than four years old and walking away from the 118 years of brand recognition that American Telephone & Telegraph Co. (AT&T) has established. On the other hand, some marketers feel AT&T is a bit "frozen," and that Cingular's own orange "Jack" is a more modern brand.

Which brand is bigger? Would phasing out the AT&T name be a smart move for Cingular? Or should the company try to leverage the tried-and-true AT&T in some way?