DESCRIPTION: Four companies, wholly owned by American Telephone & Telegraph Co., serving D.C., Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia from central corporate offices in Washington. (AT&T traded on NYSE, P, M, Phila.) 1979 TOTAL TOLL MESSAGES: 711 million. DIVIDENDS: $251 million (paid to AT&T). FOUNDED: 1893.

TOP EXECUTIVE: Samuel E. Bonsack, president.

Demand for telecommunications services was strong last year despite some economic slowdown late in the year; the total of long distance calls originating with C&P jumped 10.7 percent. At year's end, C&P had more than 8.5 million phones in service, up 3.5 percent. Operating expenses rose more than 11 percent, however, and that trimmed the overall gain in profits to 8.6 percent. About a third of all C&P telephones now are connected to AT&T's modern electronic switching systems. C&P also has 86 telephone stores in business and plans to open 27 in 1980 as AT&T continues to move into a marketing-oriented business environment. Last year, C&P of Maryland received approval to boost rates by $16 million and C&P of Virginia won approval for a 5.72 percent temporary rate surcharge. Currently pending rate cases including a proposed $18 million annual rate hike in D.C., for which hearings are planned during the summer; and in Virginia on making permanent the 1979 surcharge, with the next hearing set for May 23.