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No, Pokemon GO! is not the data hog you've been told it is

by: Sean Cahill -
More On: Pokemon GO!

Pokemon GO! has gripped the entire world in a fever we haven't seen in the world of gaming in a very long time. The free to play mobile game has broken records and already has more active users than Twitter, which is saying something.

While the entire world hunts for a Pikachu or MewTwo to call their own, a question that has come up is one that should be asked with most any mobile game: How much data does it actually use?

Unlimited data is no longer a foregone conclusion in the world of cellular devices. In fact, most carriers are doing everything in their power to give the illusion that you may as well have unlimited data, but you really don't. The big four in the United States (Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint) have been locked in a brutal campaign war lately to lure customers in with the promise of more data and cheaper rates. Most everyone is aware of throttling that has occurred on networks when hitting a certain cap, so it's important to know just how much data you've used in your billing cycle.

Personally, I haven't been playing Pokemon GO! nearly as much as everyone else has, so I had to ask for some help. Enter a personal friend of mine, Marcus, who posted up his data usage to show his results of playing, and he's been very active hunting down the digital pets.

In the interest of full disclosure, this is 24 days into his billing cycle with Cricket Wireless, and he's only used 885 MB. Now, you're probably looking at this and wondering why I'm showing you the image with data logs from June when the game hadn't even been released. The reason is to show the primary amount of data and show you that there are other apps that practically burn through your data quite easily.

To follow up on this, here's a couple of images of logs that are more recent during Marcus' Pokemon adventures:

Looking at these data reports during actual playing time, the highest spikes in data don't even hit 20 MB of usage, and these are during outdoor workouts that are for long periods of time and just general roaming. You also have to include the initial download of the game in the final data usage to get to that 885 MB used so far.

So, while it's pretty cool of a company like T-Mobile to offer you a data plan that specifically eliminates any data used by Pokemon GO!, it really isn't necessary. I am on Google Fi, which is similar to Cricket in that it piggybacks off of Sprint and T-Mobile and my data usage has not really changed, but this data here that shows the individual times of usage and how much is consumed kills the argument that data plans are going to be destroyed by this game.

Now, as for your battery life? Not much we can argue there.

Capture away, fellow Pokemon Hunters. Your data plan is safe.

A special thank you to Marcus Shull for providing us with the data reports from his phone.
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