Definitions for "Bell System"
Prior to Jan. 1, 1984, an aggregate term for AT&T encompassing 24 Bell operating companies providing local exchange phone service, the AT&T Long Lines Division providing long distance connections, an equipment manufacturing arm known as Western Electric, and a research and development arm known as Bell Laboratories. The Bell System was broken up by the AT&T divestiture.
The collection of companies headed by AT&T and consisting of the 22 Bell Operating Companies and the Western Electric Corporation. The Bell System was dismantled by divestiture on January 1, 1984.
A group of affiliated RBOC s (Regional Bell Operating Companies) in the USA which operate under consistent rules and specifications, many of which are set by AT&T.