Chatting Wed at the Goldman Sachs conference, Verizon chmn/CEO Ivan Seidenberg and AT&T group pres, regional telecom and entertainment Ralph de la Vega downplayed cable competition while Sprint Nextel chmn/CEO Gary Forsee spoke of cable allegiance. Seidenberg acknowledged frenzied activity by cable MSOs in FiOS TV markets to both retain and win back customers, but said the efforts haven’t “slowed down the market share we are taking.” Regarding cable’s plunge into commercial markets, de la Vega said cable operators face an uphill battle because they must “start from scratch”—not to mention battle entrenched incumbents—although he said AT&T takes such initiatives seriously. As for U-verse TV, de la Vega said installs have averaged 7K-8K/week over the last few weeks and that the telco’s prior avowal of 10K/week by year-end is likely accurate. Meanwhile cable ally Forsee said Pivot economics, after much tweaking, are standardizing across markets and partners. “Customers ultimately want wireless in a bundle, and we continue to work in that regard,” he said. Also, Forsee dismissed the notion that Xohm, the Sprint partnership with Clearwire expected to launch in late 1Q/early 2Q, inherently works against the cable industry. He said discussions with cable ops about how they may play a role in the initiative are ongoing.

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