CenturyLink vs TDS: In-Depth Comparison

A Side-by-Side Comparison of CenturyLink and TDS in 2022.

CenturyLink and TDS Service in 2022:

View CenturyLink and TDS Service in 2022:

CenturyLink and TDS Telecom are both major DSL internet providers in the U.S. CenturyLink offers services nationwide, while TDS Telecom is available in 31 states with the greatest coverage in Michigan, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Both companies offer DSL internet to most of their customers, but they also have fiber internet plans in select areas, triple-play bundles, and double-play packages.

On the surface, CenturyLink and TDS Telecom have a lot in common, but below we’ll cover the key differences between the two internet service providers.

CenturyLink vs TDS Overall Comparison

CenturyLink vs TDS Overall Comparison

  • Speed

    100 Mbps -940 Mbps

  • Pricing

    $50-65/mo.

  • Service Type

    DSL, Fiber, Copper, Fixed Wireless

  • Equipment Fee

    $15 a month

  • Data Cap

    Unlimited Data

  • Speed

    25 Mbps -1 Gbps

  • Pricing

    $29.95-74.95/mo.

  • Service Type

    DSL, Fiber, Cable, Copper

  • Equipment Fee

    $10 a month

  • Data Cap

    Unlimited Data

CenturyLink is the third largest DSL internet provider in the U.S. by coverage area, with services offered across all 50 states and to an estimated 49.3 million people. Customers in select metro cities may also have access to their fiber internet with speeds up to 940 Mbps. Aside from that, CenturyLink has a wide selection of bundles that may include phone and cable TV services.

TDS Telecom is available in only 31 states with the greatest presence in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Tennessee. Other than DSL, customers in some ZIP codes may also have access to fiber internet with up to 1,000 Mbps speeds. By coverage area, TDS telecom is the 10th largest DSL provider, 18th largest fiber provider, and 25th largest cable broadband provider in the U.S.

CenturyLink vs TDS: Best Deals

Internet Deals

CenturyLink vs TDS: Extra Fees and Contracts

Installation

CenturyLink customers can choose between professional installation and self-installation. Professional installation usually comes with a $99 setup fee, but some higher tier plans include the installation for free. There are no additional fees for the activation. On the other hand, customers who opt to self-install don’t have to pay any fees as long as they have all the equipment necessary. Self-installation usually applies to homes with an existing fiber or DSL wiring.

TDS Telecom offers professional and self-installation. Self-installing a TDS Telecom DSL or fiber internet is straightforward particularly for homes that were connected to a TDS Telecom service before. First-time customers are encouraged to go through professional installation. There is a nominal fee involved depending on the type of internet being installed, but qualifying customers are often allowed to waive the fees.

Contracts, Equipment Fees & Fine Print

Many of CenturyLink’s internet plans require a contract ranging between 12 and 24 months. Violating the contract often results in expensive early termination fees (ETF). For those who prefer not having commitments, CenturyLink also offers contract-free DSL and fiber internet plans.

Aside from the contract, potential customers need to know CenturyLink’s policies regarding equipment fees. DSL plans, which can reach up to 40 Mbps, and Fiber internet plans up to 100 Mbps, usually require the purchase of a modem for about $200 or $15 per month. With speeds up to 940 Mbps, CenturyLink’s Gigabit Fiber plans include a complimentary modem with Wi-Fi.

TDS Telecom plans, whether DSL or fiber, require a 24-month contract. This contract binds customers to use the company’s service for the said duration. Customers essentially have to buy themselves out by paying the remaining monthly fees if they want to duck out of the contract.

TDS Telecom offers DSL, fiber, and cable internet plans with speeds up to 1,000 Mbps with fiber and up to 100 Mbps with DSL and cable. The company has Wi-Fi modems for rent ranging from $7 to $10 per month.

Data Caps

In most cases, CenturyLink users are limited to 1,024 GB of data usage per month. Currently, CenturyLink doesn’t give customers the option to buy additional data, so households that frequently exceed the limit are encouraged to upgrade to a Gigabit Fiber plan with no data limits.

TDS Telecom’s high-speed internet plans come with a 250 GB data allowance with a $20 overage fee for every 250 GB of additional data used. However, customers may opt to purchase 500 GB, 750 GB, or 1 TB of additional data to avoid overage charges.

CenturyLink vs. TDS Internet Review

As of February 2021, BroadBandNow’s editorial team has surveyed 122 CenturyLink customers and asked them to rate CenturyLink on 6 different criteria - Reliability, Speed, Equipment, Support, Interaction, and Value.

Overall CenturyLink customers rated them a 3.6 out of 5, which is ranked 6th of the 10 internet provider customers we surveyed in our study.

Reliability
3.6
Speed
3.6
Equipment
3.8
Support
3.4
Interaction
3.5
Value
3.5
As of May 2022, BroadBandNow’s editorial team has not been able to survey enough TDS customers to provide a comprehensive understanding of how this service is meeting customers’ needs or expectations.

Frequently Asked Questions about CenturyLink & TDS Telecom

  • Is CenturyLink cheaper than TDS Telecom?

    Prices vary depending on the internet plan of your choosing. TDS Telecom has cheaper low-tier internet plans that start at a monthly fee of $29.95, but CenturyLink’s highest-priced internet plan is less expensive than that of TDS Telecom. CenturyLink’s plans range between $40 and $60 per month, while TDS Telecom ranges from $29.95 to $89.95.

  • Who has faster speeds? CenturyLink or TDS Telecom?

    TDS Telecom currently offers speeds up to 1,000 Mbps, while CenturyLink’s highest-priced plan can reach up to 940 Mbps. However, for both providers, the speed you’ll receive depends on your location. Even though TDS Telecom offers higher speeds, it’s possible to get a faster connection from CenturyLink.

  • Do CenturyLink and TDS Telecom have unlimited data?

    CenturyLink and TDS Telecom both have data caps, although CenturyLink’s more expensive plans allow for the use of unlimited data. Lower-priced plans have a 1,024 GB monthly data limit. There are currently no options to purchase additional data from CenturyLink. With TDS Telecom, all plans have a 250 GB monthly data usage limit with a $20 overage fee for every additional 250 GB of data. Data add-ons from 500 GB to 1 TB are available upon request and for a fee.