AT&T is among the world's leading companies when it comes to identifying and doing business with diverse suppliers. Since 1968, the AT&T Global Supplier Diversity organization connects certified diverse minority, women, and disabled veteran-owned business enterprises (MBE, WBE and DVBEs) businesses with opportunities to provide products and services to AT&T around the world.


AT&T's Global Supplier Diversity Program began in 1968 with the creation of AT&T's Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Program. In addition to the MBE Program, AT&T's Women Business Enterprise (WBE) Program launched in 1980 and our Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE) Program in 1993. These three programs have enabled us to provide the best products and services to our customers while expanding contracting opportunities with diverse businesses.

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Supplier Development

AT&T mentors diverse suppliers to be solution experts for the core areas of our business as well as our non-traditional and emerging lines. Our business development programs are designed to reach out and target certified diverse businesses. In 2011, we developed a three- tiered approach to our business development program allowing us to customize our programs, workshops and focus on the unique areas that are important to micro to large diverse businesses.

Prime Supplier Program

Through our Prime Supplier Program, AT&T suppliers are required to meet diversity goals. Since 1989, the AT&T Prime Supplier Program has been instrumental in helping our prime suppliers increase the utilization of minority, women and disabled-veteran owned businesses in their supply chain. This program plays an important role to the success of AT&T Global Supplier Diversity by helping the AT&T suppliers increase the utilization of minority, women and disabled-veteran owned businesses in our supply chain through subcontracting/tier 2 and value-added reseller arrangements.

The Prime Supplier Program collaborates with our prime suppliers to set diversity goals, develop diversity plans, develop solutions for improvement and track and review results while managing process improvements for monthly reporting and annual compliance results for the program. As a result of these efforts the annual prime supplier diversity plans reflect an increased understanding of attainable goal setting, and portray innovative solutions designed to increase diversity results. In 2012, the number of Prime Suppliers that participated in the Prime Supplier Program increased 33% over 2011. The number of Prime Suppliers exceeding 21.5% diversity inclusion increased 20% over 2011.

Operation Hand Salute (OHS) Protégé Program

The Operation Hand Salute pilot program was launched in May 2010 and mentored a select group of California Service Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise CEOs. Participants of the pilot program graduated in May 2011, which marked the completion of the year-long program. The graduates attained their TL 9000 certification and received a congressional certificate from U.S. Representative Jerry McNerney, a member of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

AT&T continues to support service disabled veteran business owners with Operation Hand Salute by launching the national Operation Hand Salute program – a ground-breaking education and mentoring program for service-disabled veteran businesses. The national initiative provides cutting-edge training and mentoring for qualified CEOs with the goal of improving their business operations and enhancing their ability to win corporate contracts.

Operation Hand Salute matches participants with mentors such as AT&T executives and prime suppliers. They will receive the support of a "blue ribbon" task force comprised of service disabled veteran owned business mentors, industry experts and community leaders.

In 2012, AT&T partnered with John F. Kennedy “JFK” University and helped mentor, educate and offer contract opportunities to 14 service disabled veteran business owners. By the end of 2012, the 14 CEOs had seen positive results from attending Operation Hand Salute.

AT&T 'Meet the Primes' Matchmakers

The AT&T Meet the Prime matchmaker is a series of events targeting key prime suppliers in strategic and emerging markets to engage in one-on-one interviews with qualified diverse suppliers. Prospective suppliers are invited through several diversity councils, chambers and community based organizations and meet with AT&T business unit leaders, and AT&T prime suppliers to discuss contract opportunities in the following areas:

  • Project VIP
    • Wireless Construction
    • 4G LTE
    • Distributed Antennae Systems (DAS)
    • U-verse
  • Big Data
  • Advertising Communications/Marketing
  • Information Technology/Application
  • Development Outside Plant Services
  • Wireless Network Construction, Site Acquisition & Environmental Services
  • Transportation
  • Finance Real Estate – Construction, Planning and Property Management
  • Managed & Professional Services
  • Legal Services
  • Application development
  • Cloud services

Spending Record

In 2012, AT&T spent $12.8 billion with minority, women and disabled veterans business enterprises, representing 23.96 percent of our total procurement.

Learn about AT&T's supplier diversity programs.

Aggressive Goals

The company's goal is to procure 21.5 percent of its total procurement from diversity-owned enterprises. Specifically, the company's diversity goals are:

  • 15 percent with Minority Business Enterprises (MBE)
  • 5 percent with Women Business Enterprises (WBE)
  • 1.5 percent with Disabled Veteran Business Enterprises (DVBE)

Making a Difference

AT&T is making a difference for minority-, women- and disabled veteran-owned business enterprises. Working collaboratively with numerous diversity advocacy organizations, corporate forums and policy-makers, we increase business opportunities for M/WBEs and DVBEs by providing corporate support, leadership and innovative supply chain solutions.

Giving Back

In recent years, the AT&T Foundation has granted more than one million dollars in diversity supplier educational scholarships and programs. The scholarships are granted to leading-edge business schools to provide expert coaching and educational programs to incumbent and prospective diversity suppliers.