Spectrum vs TDS: Side by Side Comparison

A Side-by-Side Comparison of Spectrum and TDS Telecom in 2021.

Spectrum and TDS Telecom are among the 2,661 internet service providers in the U.S. that offer high-speed internet plans. Spectrum is a cable provider while TDS Telecom offers DSL, cable, and fiber internet service. Customers who do not reside in areas where TDS Telecom’s fiber internet is available may opt for Spectrum’s cable internet plans instead.

No two internet providers are the exact same, which is why we’ve outlined the differences between Spectrum and TDS Telecom below. Speeds and prices vary by location and may not be available in all areas.

Spectrum Info

Price Range


TDS Info

Price Range


Spectrum vs. TDS Comparison
Provider Spectrum TDS
Speed 200-1,000 Mbps 25-1,000 Mbps
Pricing $49.99-109.99/mo. $29.95-74.95/mo.
Service Type Cable or Fiber DSL, Fiber, Cable or Copper
Provider Spectrum TDS
High-Speed Plans Yes Yes
Unlimited Data Yes Select Plans
Contract-Free Plans Yes No
TV Service Yes Yes
Phone Service Yes Yes

Spectrum Internet Deals †

Last updated on 11/16/2021

†All plans not available in all areas or to all customers. Verify details with Spectrum.

TDS Internet Deals †

Last updated on 11/2/2021

†All plans not available in all areas or to all customers. Verify details with TDS.

Spectrum vs. TDS Performance Overview

Spectrum is the second-largest cable provider in the U.S., supplying internet service to approximately 102.7 million people across 44 states. The greatest coverage area for Spectrum internet is in California, Texas, and New York. Customers can bundle their internet with TV and/or phone services through double and triple play bundles.

As the 10th largest DSL provider in the U.S., TDS Telecom is available to approximately 2.2 million people in 31 states. Wisconsin, Tennessee, and Michigan are states where TDS Telecom has the greatest coverage. With over 10 high-speed internet plans, TDS Telecom also gives customers the option to bundle their internet with TV and/or phone services.

Spectrum Installation

When you sign up for Spectrum, professional installation and self-installation are available. Depending on which plan you choose, professional installation fees range between $49.99-$199.99 but you don’t have to pay for the WiFi activation fee. On the other hand, self-installation does require a $9.99 activation fee but that’s it. Prepare to devote anywhere between 1-3 hours for professional installation. With self-installation, you only need to refer to Spectrum’s helpful guide on their online support page.

TDS Telecom Installation

TDS Telecom internet plans come with professional installation or self-installation. Depending on the plan, you may be able to waive the $100 processing fee and the $49.95 professional installation fee. Self-installation does not require any fees, but there may be a $15 service charge. WiFi optimization will be performed by one of TDS Telecom’s technicians during a tech visit. Otherwise, you can self-install by referring to their website.

Spectrum Contracts, Equipment Fees & Fine Print

There are no contract requirements when you sign up for Spectrum.

You won’t have to deal with early termination fees that usually come with long-term agreements. If you switch to their service, Spectrum offers a contract buyout program of up to $500. On top of that, they give you a modem for free so you can avoid equipment fees. Spectrum’s internet plans have download speeds ranging between 100-940 Mbps and upload speeds ranging between 10-35 Mbps.

TDS Telecom Contracts, Equipment Fees & Fine Print

TDS Telecom requires a contract with a length of 1-2 years.

If you cancel the agreement early, you will have to pay an early termination fee equal to 50 percent of the unpaid balance, 100 percent of the outstanding balance on your contract, and the full equipment price. Early termination fees and equipment fees vary by location and depend on the customer. As for download and upload speeds, TDS Telecom internet speeds range anywhere between 1-1000 Mbps and 512 Kbps-400 Mbps, respectively.

Spectrum Data Caps

All of Spectrum’s internet plans have unlimited data, so there are no data overage fees. It’s important to check with Spectrum to see which plans are available and how much their speeds vary based on your location.

TDS Telecom Data Caps

Most TDS Telecom internet plans do not employ data caps, but unlimited data is not available in all areas. Some areas might have a 250 GB data cap with a $20 overage fee for each additional 250 GB used.

Service Review

on October 29, 2019

5 Stars all the way! Front desk scheduling any time of the day or night. Tech support calls no time limits, smart and always helpful, invested in your problem all the way. Thank you all so much for your kind attitude and willingness to help us.

Excellent customer service

on August 17, 2021

The rep who assisted me is excellent (Brighton/Reno store) she is smart, patient, and kind. Thank you for helping me during a difficult time.

HAPPY and SATISFIED customer

on December 20, 2016

I am not sure why there are reviews out there "knocking" TDS service, but I would like to pass on my experience to anyone who has TDS Telecom service and is reluctant to change to "Fiber Optic" Technology. Having lived most of my life within rural communities in New Hampshire, I have been a customer of TDS Telecom for several years which included phone and internet and have no complaints to report. During that time (after antennas became obsolete), Cable TV was not available in my area and Satellite Dish receivers were the required means of providing television service. (DISH and DIRECT TV are the ones offered in my area) A few years ago, TDS started running what they called "Fiber Optic" cable technology in the vicinity of my residence. Although excited that this would provide me with better TV and Internet service, my home was fairly new, completely wired with coaxial cable and I was reluctant to change what was in place. So I told myself I was comfortable, "accepted" the reception I had from DISH and turned down multiple promotions to upgrade to the TDS High Definition service. One day recently, I happened to call TDS once more and once again inquired about changing to fiber optic TV Service. As always, I was connected to a very friendly, polite, representative who was well versed in her subject material and again explained to me all the benefits of fiber optic - high definition reception. She was compassionate, understanding and I'm sure felt my anxiety about "change" and assured me how much more pleased I would be with the upgraded service. She was not "pushy", and her calming demeanor and thorough explanation of my option to discontinue the service should I not be completely satisfied, convinced me to "give it a try". She even provided me with her telephone number and direct extension should I have further questions and/or concerns. The day scheduled for the "upgrade"/installation, two representatives arrived who work for a company that sub-contracts to do install work for TDS. They were also very polite, respectful, professional, and took time to walk me through the entire procedure to explain what they would be doing so I fully understood what to expect and what I was getting. They did an EXCELLENT job and also took the time along the way to answer any questions I may have had and did not leave until after ensuring the service and signal to ALL my televisions (I have several) and internet (which was upgraded to 100 mbps) was working perfectly. I have had high definition TV and signal through satellite Dish TV for many years, but it was only when I sat down to watch television with my new Fiber Optic high definition reception that I realized what I had been missing. The clarity and difference was unbelievable and I could not have been happier with my decision to upgrade to this service. The cost was in the vicinity of what I was paying with DISH and I am very thankful to the TDS staff for their patience and for guiding me into making the decision to upgrade and become a member of "Fiberville", which I would recommend to anyone! Happy and satisfied TDS Customer

Does TDS Have Customer Service? I have not seen any!

on January 25, 2021

Customer service is non-existent! I called twice to talk with someone. First time I was on hold for 37 minutes and I finally hung up. Second time after waiting 21 minutes, someone finally picked up. I asked one question, they put me on hold for 5 minutes. Then I asked if I could move my phone number to a mobile provider, Tony put me on hold again. Should that be something all customer service reps should know? After being on the phone a total of 1 hour on just this call, 97 minutes total, I hung up once it was 7:11PM figuring they were not going to come back since the website says they are open until 7:00 PM! Also reviewing their website, phone and internet costs $39.94/mo., a special. We are currently paying $90+ for the same service and that only includes local calls, no long distance. We have been a customer for 28 years. I guess they do not care about their customers!

Spectrum vs. TDS Coverage Availability

Spectrum Coverage & Availability

TDS Coverage & Availability

Frequently Asked Questions about Spectrum & TDS Telecom

  • Is Spectrum cheaper than TDS Telecom?

    Pricing will vary for Spectrum and TDS Telecom. TDS Telecom’s lowest-priced internet plan is cheaper than Spectrum’s lowest-priced internet plan but both providers’ highest-priced plans are similarly priced. Spectrum’s monthly costs range between $49.99-$109.99 whereas TDS Telecom’s vary between $29.95-$109.95 per month.

  • Who has faster speeds? Spectrum or TDS Telecom?

    Like prices, speeds also vary by location but both providers offer high-speed internet plans. Spectrum has download speeds ranging from 100-940 Mbps and TDS Telecom has download speeds ranging from 1-1000 Mbps.

  • Do Spectrum and TDS Telecom have unlimited data?

    Spectrum does not employ data caps for any of their internet plans, and as a result, there are no data overage fees. TDS Telecom does offer unlimited data for their plans but it may not be available in certain areas. Some areas will have a 250 GB data cap, and for each additional 250 GB, there is a $20 data overage fee.