Earlier in the year, AT&T (NYSE: T) rocked the entire market when it admitted there were some areas of weakness in its consumer business because of larger macroeconomic forces. Investors had been waiting for any shoe to drop about housing and bad credit pains creeping into other sectors, so they sold first and saved the detailed analysis for later.

Ma Bell's peer, Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ), had said there was no such weakness in its business -- until Monday, that is. At the Bear, Stearns and Co. media conference, Chief Financial Officer Doreen Tobin addressed the question again with a somewhat convoluted and cryptic response, admitting that increasing numbers of its wireless customers had trouble making their house payments, particularly in the Midwest. She said that so far, though, that trend is insignificant in the company's larger financial picture. How's that for clarity?

Concerns about a price war have also hobbled service providers because they all launched unlimited use plans for around $100 per month. But Tobin noted that many Verizon customers are moving up from the $80-per-month plans, and that company officials see the offering as positive.

The bottom-line message was that Verizon investors shouldn't see any significant impact on the business at this point, but management is watching the situation carefully in all areas of its business. The long-term outlook remains bright, with management expecting double-digit revenue growth to continue for the next few years. Contrast that with Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S), which continues to heavily bleed wireless customers as it tries to turn the business around.

Beyond Sprint's unique situation, there are plenty of signs that growth is slowing in the wireless business. Shares of hardware makers like Nokia (NYSE: NOK) and Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) are experiencing pressure, and Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN) trimmed its growth forecast.

So should telecom investors panic now and run for the hills? Hardly. Shifts in growth trends are no reason to sell a solid investment and may even present good opportunities to buy more shares of good companies priced on the cheap. And chances are good Verizon will be a leader regardless of what the future holds.

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Fool contributor Dave Mock knows for a fact the grass is greener on either side of his house -- and contains fewer weeds, too. He owns shares of Qualcomm and is the author of The Qualcomm Equation. The Fool's disclosure policy won't double dip, leave shoes on the floor, or the toilet seat up.