Pokémon GO users are offered free data by T-Mobile, but Verizon has played down the game's data consumption.
(CCM) — T-Mobile is offering its customers free cellular data to use while they play Pokémon GO for a year, the company has announced. The marketing ploy appears to exploit concern about the amount of data that the hugely popular game consumes. T-Mobile USA Chief Executive John Legere warned that "with the carriers’ shared data schemes, players could easily burn up the family’s data bucket — and then, hello, overages!" But an analysis by P3 Communications quoted in The Wall Street Journal found that the actual data consumption rate is between 5 MB and 10 MB per hour, with users playing for an average of 48 minutes per week. By comparison, watching an hour of high-definition video consumes about 350 MB of data. "Nobody is necessarily busting their bundle," a Verizon spokesman told the newspaper in reference to the game, adding that Pokémon GO data accounts for less than 1% of its total network traffic.
Although T-Mobile's free Pokémon GO data offer avoids breaking the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rules, which aim to prevent service providers from blocking or prioritizing certain types of data, it is still likely to face criticism from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF,) a digital rights organization. The EFF claims that offering free data for a specific application can distort the market by giving the application an unfair advantage over its competitors.
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