The Baby Bells' home turf still looks pretty safe -- for now.The big regional telcos have long braced for an onslaught from cable-industry giants coveting the lucrative phone-service business. Having lost millions of lines to wireless rivals and suffered countless online customer defections to the cable modem, the local telcos have good reason to fear an invasion. Some investors warn that a big cable phone push would unleash a scorched-earth price war, further eroding the big telcos' already soft financials. There's even some thought that cable-industry success could force reeling phone companies like Verizon ( VZ), SBC ( SBC), BellSouth ( BLS) and Qwest ( Q) into questionable competitive investments such as satellite TV broadcasting. But insiders in both industries increasingly say that behind all the saber-rattling lies a phantom threat, amplified in part by Wall Street's fascination with emerging networking technologies. In reality, these people say, the so-called dueling monopolists have plenty of reason to wage a shouting match -- but little reason to actually fight. For investors in both of these capital-intensive industries, that's probably a good thing for the time being. "The Bells and the cable companies are like two sumo wrestlers throwing salt at each other," says CIBC World Markets' analyst Alan Bezoza.