AT&T Turbo logo.

We have bad news for AT&T customers who always expect to get the fastest 5G speeds. The second-largest carrier in the U.S. will now make you pay extra for the fastest option. On Thursday, AT&T announced its new “Turbo” add-on, which it says will provide “enhanced data connectivity for real-time responsiveness.”

What this means in terms of network speeds compared to what everyday AT&T 5G customers get isn’t exactly clear.

In announcing its news, the company says the AT&T Turbo plan is built to support high-performance apps like gaming, social video broadcasting, and live videoconferencing. It also explains that the add-on is ideally used “if customers want less freezing or stuttering and lower latency.”

AT&T is celebrating being the first company to offer customers the option to purchase enhanced data connectivity. However, this suggests that AT&T 5G customers who previously enjoyed the highest speeds will no longer have access to those top speeds unless they pay extra. AT&T Turbo requires phones with 5G compatibility, such as the Google Pixel Pro 8 and iPhone 15 Pro Max.

It will be interesting to see whether Verizon and T-Mobile follow AT&T’s lead, and if so, when.

According to Erin Scarborough, AT&T’s president of broadband initiatives, AT&T Turbo will evolve as a service: “Today is only the beginning of how AT&T plans to enhance the customer experience through our network, and we look forward to evolving the possibilities of AT&T Turbo in the future.”

At launch, AT&T Turbo costs $7 per month extra, and you can add it to your account through the AT&T app for iPhone and Android-based devices.

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Bryan M. Wolfe

Bryan M. Wolfe has over a decade of experience as a technology writer. He writes about mobile.

Everything you need to know about the massive AT&T outage

Large 5G cellular tower with multiple mmWave transceivers against a blue sky.

Happy Thursday! February is drawing to a close, the weather is getting slightly warmer in parts of the country, and AT&T experienced a massive outage that affected its cellular and internet services. It was a bit of a mess.

How many people were without service? When was service restored? Here’s a quick recap of what you need to know.
When did the AT&T outage start?
At around 4 a.m. ET on Thursday, February 22, more than 32,000 outages were reported across AT&T’s network. Once 7 a.m. rolled around, that number jumped to over 50,000 people. Per the Down Detector website, there were nearly 75,000 outage reports just before 9:15 a.m. ET.
Is the AT&T outage over?
Thankfully, the AT&T outage has finally ended. At 11:15 a.m. ET, the company had restored “three-quarters” of its network. Then, at 3:10 p.m. ET, AT&T confirmed that it had “restored wireless service to all our affected customers.”

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T-Mobile just set another 5G speed record

Cell phone tower shooting off pink beams with a 5G logo next to it.

T-Mobile’s rivals may be nipping at its heels in the 5G race, but the Uncarrier is determined to stay ahead of the game. It not only boasts the fastest and most expansive 5G network in the U.S., but it’s actively working on technologies that will help it reach even greater peak speeds.

Two years ago, T-Mobile used a relatively new technique known as 5G Carrier Aggregation (5G CA) to achieve the kind of 3Gbps download speeds on midband frequencies that had previously been the exclusive domain of extremely high (and extremely short-range) mmWave technologies. Now, it’s chalked up another 5G first by taking advantage of the latest developments to shatter the traditional cap on upload speeds over sub-6GHz frequencies.
T-Mobile’s newest 5G record

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Verizon just took a huge leap ahead in the 5G race

Verizon store front displays the 5G network in NYC.

After a year or two of steady growth in 5G performance among the big three U.S. carriers, things seemed to level off in 2023, with reports showing mostly incremental improvements each quarter.

However, it seems that the underdogs took a big leap forward in the last three months of the year. According to Ookla’s latest market research, Verizon and AT&T showed 5G speed increases of over 20% from the prior quarter — a change that’s resulted in Verizon significantly narrowing T-Mobile’s longstanding lead.

Read more

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