T-Mobile looking to catch Pokémon Go wave

With everyone and her sister seemingly trying to catch ’em all, T-Mobile is hoping to catch on to the Pokémon Go craze.

The wireless service provider announced Thursday that customers will be able to play the game without using up their data allotment. It also plans to award 250 customers $100 that they can use to buy things within the game and five customers trips to anywhere in the U.S. with a guest to hunt Pokémon characters.

Customers can claim the unlimited data offer Pokémon Go and other offers through the company’s T-Mobile Tuesdays app.

“This is what T-Mobile Tuesday is all about — thanking customers with hot, new, totally free gifts every week, and right now, nothing is hotter than Pokémon Go” John Legere, the company’s CEO, said in a statement.

T-Mobile is offering customers unlimited data usage for playing Pokémon Go for a year. As part of its upcoming T-Mobile Tuesday promotion, it’s also offering customers a free Frosty milkshake from Wendy’s, a free Lyft ride worth up to $15 and half of certain accessories, like chargers and battery packs.

Since hitting smartphone app stores last week, Pokémon Go has become a runaway success, quickly topping the download and revenue charts and drawing in more daily users than Twitter. An augmented reality game, Pokémon Go involves players catching Pokémon characters in the real world.

While T-Mobile customers may cheer the chance to play Pokémon Go without using up their data allotments, federal regulators may look askance at the offer. The Federal Communications Commission has already launched an inquiry into so-called zero rating offers. In such schemes, broadband service providers allow users to access particular sites and services without tapping into their data buckets.

Consumer and industry groups have argued that such practices are unfair and anti-competitive and violate the spirit of net neutrality, the notion that broadband providers should treat all data equally.

Photo: A Pokémon Go player battles the serpent-like creature, Arbok, while walking past the Quetzalcoatl statue in Plaza de Cesar Chavez in San Jose, Calif., Monday, July 11, 2016. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)


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