Swisscom AG is a major telecommunications provider in Switzerland. Its headquarters are located at Worblaufen near Bern, the Swiss Confederation owns 51.0 percent of Swisscom AG. As of the end of 2015, Swisscom had around 21,000 employees, the Swiss telegraph network was first set up in 1852, followed by telephones in 1877. The two networks were combined with the service in 1920 to form the PTT. The Swiss telecommunications market was deregulated in 1997, Telecom PTT was spun off and rebranded Swisscom ahead of a partial privatisation in 1998 which has left the Swiss government with a 51% stake. Besides pioneering the first mobile telephone network NATEL A, the present-day Swisscom owns the protected brand NATEL, 25% of Swisscom Mobile was sold to Vodafone in 2001. Since then Swisscom has bought a majority stake in Italys second-biggest telecom company Fastweb and invested in such as hospitality support, cloud services, mobile solutions. Switzerlands entry into the era came in 1851, with the passage of legislation giving the Swiss government control over development of a telegraph network throughout the country. The governments initial plans called for the creation of three primary lines, as well as a number of secondary networks. In order to build equipment for the system, the government established the Atelier Fédéral de Construction des Télégraphs, in July 1852, the first leg of the countrys telegraph system—between St. Gallen and Zurich—was operational. By the end of year, most of the countrys main cities had been connected to the telegraph system. In 1855, the network was extended with the first underwater cable, connecting Winkel-Stansstad, night service was also launched that year, starting in Basel, St. Gallen and Bellinzona. Telegraph traffic took off in the late 1860s after the government reduced the cost of a 20-word message in 1867, while telegraph traffic continued to rise in the following decade, the technology was soon to be replaced by the telephone. The following year, the government passed legislation establishing a monopoly on the telephone network. Nonetheless, private operators were allowed to bid for licenses in order to develop their local concessions, by 1880, Switzerlands first private network had been created in Zurich. This was a system with the capacity for 200 lines. The first directory was published that year and listed 140 subscribers. Basel, Bern, and Geneva all launched their own local networks between 1881 and 1882, one year later, the first inter-city telephone line was established, linking Zurichs private exchange with Winterthurs public system
The original Telstar, the first telecommunications satellite to be launched into space.