Twin telco titans Verizon ( VZ) and AT&T ( T) are likely to deliver better first-quarter numbers than Wall Street is expecting.

Here's the big fat skinny: Both AT&T and Verizon saw solid wireless performances and strong video growth in the March quarter, despite a weak economy. Not only did sales in the two growth businesses not collapse, but gross margins also held up well as the phone shops withheld spending on marketing and network improvements.

Better sales and lower costs should yield a surprisingly better bottom line at a time when cable companies are thought to be holding on strong in the triple play price wars.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters are expecting AT&T to post an adjusted profit, excluding one-time items, of 48 cents a share on $31 billion in sales. And Verizon is expected to post pro forma earnings of 59 cents a share on revenue of $26.2 billion.

One area with the most surprising strength was video. AT&T added nearly 300,000 new U-verse subscribers, up from the 264,000 new users it gained in the prior quarter, according to one Wall Street source who has seen analysis of AT&T's quarter. Analysts expect AT&T to add 285,000 U-verse subscribers, according to a consensus tally.

Verizon also scored well in the TV battle. Verizon added more than 315,000 new FiOS subscribers in the quarter, up from 303,000 in the fourth quarter, according to the source. Analysts expect Verizon to add 300,000 new FiOS customers.

If these strong numbers are true, it would help validate the heavy investments AT&T and Verizon have made to provide TV services that compete with cable and satellite players. AT&T in particular has struggled to get its TV service off the ground, but now it appears to be flying.

The big video gains by the telcos will be bad news for cable outfits like Comcast ( CMCSA), Time Warner Cable ( TWC) and Cablevision ( CVC), the top cable shops have been fighting a savage price war to try and keep TV customers from fleeing to U-verse or FiOS.

AT&T will be the first up to report earnings on Wednesday morning. So far this year, AT&T shares are down 11% and Verizon is down nearly 9%.

If you liked this article you might like

4 Outsiders That Could Lead HP Rescue

HP Surges on News of Possible CEO Ouster

5 Items You Won't See at Apple's Show

14 Androids Outmuscling Apple's iPhone

14 Androids Outmuscling Apple's iPhone

Apple iPhone 5 Gets Oct. 4 Launch Date