AT&T Turbo Is Official as Carrier Adds $7 Monthly Add-On for Priority Access to Network

Want to make sure you have the fastest data in a busy area? AT&T will let you pay more for the privilege.

Eli Blumenthal Senior Editor
Eli Blumenthal is a senior editor at CNET with a particular focus on covering the latest in the ever-changing worlds of telecom, streaming and sports. He previously worked as a technology reporter at USA Today.
Expertise 5G | Mobile networks | Wireless carriers | Phones | Tablets | Streaming devices | Streaming platforms | Mobile | Console gaming
Eli Blumenthal
2 min read
AT&T logo on a phone
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If you want priority access to AT&T's network, be prepared to pay $7 more per line, per month. On Wednesday, the carrier announced AT&T Turbo, its new offering that gives users "the choice to purchase enhanced data connectivity for real-time responsiveness and improved stability." 

AT&T says the feature, which goes live on Thursday, is built for "high-performance" applications like gaming, video conferencing or live broadcasting of videos on social media. When activated it will boost the connection quality for all data on that line, including hotspot data. The company says it should make its wireless service more responsive by "adding additional network resources" to your connection compared to other non-Turbo, regular AT&T users. 

FirstNet, AT&T's network for first responders, will continue to have higher network priority over both Turbo and regular AT&T users.

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Because it's boosting all data and not favoring any particular type of content or applications, AT&T says the new feature complies with "open internet principles" and the Federal Communications Commission's recent draft net neutrality order.

AT&T previously leaked that it was working on Turbo in an update to its myAT&T app. Once it goes live on Thursday, users will be able to add the feature either through the app or by adjusting their service online at AT&T's website.  

In its press release announcing Turbo, the carrier says that it will work for "eligible plans" and that users can add Turbo "when they want it and remove it from their line when they don't." An AT&T spokesperson tells CNET that those plans include its latest Premium PL and Extra EL options, as well as the older Elite plan, with Turbo being a monthly add-on to individual lines that have those plans. 

The spokesperson confirmed to CNET that those who don't opt for Turbo "will still receive the same level of service they have today."

It is unclear just how notable the boost might be. Unlike Verizon, AT&T doesn't limit access to its fastest 5G networks based on which plan you have, with Turbo seemingly just giving users a priority connection compared to other regular AT&T customers. In areas where AT&T's network isn't busy, having Turbo may not make much of a difference at all. 

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