AT&T's Slowing Down on U-verse

at$tAT&T (s T) executives have been shouting from the top of the rooftops that they are a wireless company, touting mobile as key to the carrier’s future. And while they have been making those pronouncements, Ma Bell has been quietly slowing down its U-verse deployments. Earlier today, in a note to his clients, John Hodulik, an analyst with UBS Research, wrote:

AT&T has slowed the pace of its U-verse build. We initially ?expected AT&T to pass 11M incremental homes in 2009 but scaled back our ?expectations to 7M after the company pushed out its build-out plans. We now ?expect the company to pass just 4-5M new U-verse homes in 2009, down from ?9M in 2008.

Now that is a significant slowdown. So we asked the folks from AT&T to comment about the report. The company declined to comment on the “exact figures included in the UBS report, as we don’t know where their estimates came from.” According to AT&T:

Our U-verse build and expansion plans remain aggressive. We will continue expanding into new markets and turning up more households that are currently passed by our U-verse network.

In a broader sense, we announced earlier this year that given the current economic environment, we are taking a conservative approach to managing our business. With this measured approach, we now plan to pass 30M living units with our U-verse fiber network by the end of 2011 — one year later than previously planned.

In sharp contrast, Verzion continues to push ahead with its FiOS rollout. The company is also aggressively pushing its TV service. As for AT&T’s higher-speed broadband and IPTV plans — well, let’s just say they are lagging for now.