So as the parent AC stated, we were renting phones from AT&T for over 80 years.
Actually, GP AC was wrong, and here is why. Pardon the long explanation, but it's not a simple subject. It all has to do with why "Ma Bell" was broken up in the first place.
When AT&T (Ma Bell) was essentially granted "regulated monopoly" status, that monopoly applied to its status as a "common carrier". As such, its job was to deliver signals from one phone to another. (That's what Title II Common Carriers do.) It was NOT supposed to be in the business of making and selling telephones.
Eventually (I'm skipping a lot of history here), Ma Bell leased (not rented) telephones for use on its telephone system. The rationale for leasing was actually pretty reasonable: the telephones were built to last (and they did! solid durable Cycolac plastic around a solid metal frame), and when the customer was done with the phone, it would be returned for refurbishing and re-issued to some other customer. The benefits were cost, and 100% compatibility with the phone system throughout the United States. Which was no small accomplishment when you compare to, say, some countries in Europe at the time.
However, people complained of problems with this scheme: if you tried to use any other manucfature telephone on "their" system, you could not install it yourself. They charged you an exorbitant fee to have a technician come out to your house to install a "compatibility" device between your phone and "their" wires, and charged you a (rather high) fee every month to have it there.
After complaints that this was an anti-competitive practice (which, indeed, it was), a Federal court enjoined Ma Bell from being in the hardware business. However (it is not clear to me actually how), Bell got away with ignoring that Federal injunction for a full 20 years. Which is to say: they were basically breaking Federal law. Western Electric, which made virtually all telephones in the United States, was a wholly-own subsidiary of AT&T. So how they could claim "they" weren't in the phone business for those 20 years, and maintain all their old anti-competitive practices in that regard, is something I do not understand.
In any case: the complaints again became too big to ignore, and the Federal government broke AT&T up into its separate (but pretty much already-existing) subsidiary companies, which were in turn enjoined from participating in the business of manufacturing and selling telephones. Again, the whole idea was: they are in the telephone signal business, not the telephone manufacturing business.
In any case, contrary to popular belief, that's why it was broken up. And that's when manufacturers started selling more and different kinds of telephones in the U.S.
And further, that's the principle behind Title II Common Carrier status for Internet companies: they are in the business of delivering the signal. Nothing more. They are not in the business of controlling the content of that signal, any more than telephone companies were.