Investing in telecom companies can be done several ways. Choosing a cell phone manufacturer like Nokia or Apple, choosing a chip maker that supplies parts to those cell phones, or choosing a carrier are all excellent ways of taking advantage of new telecom technology as it comes along.

Over at CAPS, our system for finding the best stocks through the collective opinions of more than 165,000 members, telecom stocks have been especially popular. Here are three, representing smaller broadband carriers, for you to consider, along with some relevant thoughts from CAPS members rating them.


No. of Broadband Connections

Recent Price

CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

Frontier Communications (NYSE: FTR)

1.7 million



CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL)

2.3 million



Windstream (NYSE: WIN)

1.3 million



Source: Motley Fool CAPS and company filings.

Frontier Communications recently gained landline business from Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and now considers itself the country's "largest communications services provider focused on rural areas." Since that happened earlier this summer, dozens of CAPS members have made outperform calls on the company. One of them, subdriver683, believes this will help drive increased profit going forward and "once investors get over the recent dividend cut (which was announced a year ago) this stock will grow significantly."

CenturyLink expects to become much bigger once its merger with Qwest Communications (NYSE: Q) goes through. And its very handsome dividend of more than 8% yield makes this a very tempting one to invest in right now. CAPS All-Star jbolley, who's sitting in the top 8% of members in CAPS, likes both the dividend and rural focus: "3rd largest wireline telecom with a large div that should be stable. Rural focus reduces competition."

Windstream is also playing the consolidation game, acquiring privately held Q-Comm for $515 million in cash and stock. This should help it expand its broadband and enterprise business. The company has seen a large number of outperform calls made recently in CAPS. Among them is one by All-Star Hopel3ss, who wrote, "9% Dividend (but closely watch the payout ratio) and low debt relative to industry. Rural Telecom is growing faster than urban due to broadband needs." Good warning on that dividend.

You'll find more commentary on these and other telecom companies over on CAPS. Come and join your fellow investors for some stock talk today.

True to its name, The Motley Fool is made up of a motley assortment of writers and analysts, each with a unique perspective; sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree, but we all believe in the power of learning from each other through our Foolish community.

Jim Mueller does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. Nokia is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Apple is a Stock Advisor choice. The Fool's disclosure policy comes over broadband or dial up with equal ease.