Three members of the United States House of Representatives sent a letter to CEO of Niantic, John Hanke, with some questions about the amount of data that Pokémon GO uses. The members of Congress who wrote the letter want “to better understand what measures Niantic has undertaken to ensure consumers are informed of Pokémon GO’s effect on their mobile data usage.” The letter states:
Third-party testing recently found that the typical Pokémon GO player users between 10 and 20 megabytes of data per hour of play. A serious user playing for three or more hours per day could use two gigabytes of data per month. T-Mobile CEO John Legere reported that in just four days, the number of Pokémon GO users on the carrier’s network had doubled and their data usage had quadrupled. Users have reported maxing out their monthly data usage plan within a few days of playing.
The members of Congress who signed the letter were Frank Pallone Jr. (Democrat – New Jersey), Diana DeGette (Democrat – Colorado), and Jan Schakowsky (Democrat – Illinois). They came up with four questions that they would like Niantic to answer:
- 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 consumers 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 an unexpected overage charge resulting from the use of your app?
CEO of Niantic, John Hanke, has been asked to provide responses to those questions by August 9, 2016.
The amount of data that Pokémon GO uses is not the only concern mentioned in the letter. In the first paragraph, the letter says: “In addition to issues related to the game being played in inappropriate locations, safety, and privacy, recent reports suggest that Pokémon GO could exhaust a consumer’s available monthly mobile data.” The letter does not mention anything at all about the problem that many Pokémon GO users are facing – the app drains the phone’s battery rather quickly.