Earlier today, we detailed the $3 billion value that Pokémon Go represents to Apple, while we also noted of the effects the game is having on distracted driving and calls placed to emergency officials. Now, the United States Congress has started to look into the data usage of the game. No, not data in relation to user privacy, but rather cellular data usage.
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As noted by Quartz, the committee on energy and commerce in the U.S. House of Representatives today sent a letter to Niantic CEO, John Hanke, asking if the company was aware that Pokémon Go could be a major data hog for its users.
The letter was signed by Frank Pallone of New Jersey, Diana DeGette of Colorado, and Jan Schakowsky of Illinois. In the letter, the politicians ask four central questions concerning the Pokémon Go craze and the effects has on mobile data usage:
- Are there best practices that Niantic follows to minimize the amount of data consumers use when playing Pokémon Go?
- Has Niantic worked with wireless carriers to ensure that consumers are not unexpectedly hit with large overage charges?
- Does Niantic conspicuously warn customers before they start using the app about how much data the app consumes?
- Does Niantic have any mechanisms in place to make sure consumers are made whole in the event they are hit with unexpected verge charges resulting from the use of your app?
Essentially, the letter outlines concerns that the House committee on energy and commerce has concerning the cellular data usage of the app. Interestingly, the letter notes that “users have reported maxing out their monthly data usage plans within a week” of playing, but that hasn’t been one of the common complains among users, though battery usage has been.
Earlier this month, T-Mobile announced that it was giving customers a free year of unlimited data of Pokémon Go usage. Many at the time, however, pointed out that Pokémon Go is not a huge data usage hog.
Nevertheless, these congressmen and congresswomen seem curious to know what Niantic is doing to prevent the game from using too much data. Are you seeing Pokémon Go burn through a lot of your mobile data usage? Let us know in the comments.