T-Mobile has been a pioneer in giving special treatment to various apps and types of content used on its mobile network, and the carrier announced today that Pokémon Go will be joining its enclave of free data. Starting on July 19th, T-Mobile customers will have Pokémon Go data exempted from their high-speed data caps for a year. The company is also throwing in some other perks, like $15 in Lyft rides ("to get to a new pokestop or gym"), and a free Wendy's Frosty, making the slow death of net neutrality literally sweet.
This is far from the first free data program T-Mobile has run; the company has been pushing all kinds of free data schemes, including exemptions for music and video. It also ran a problematic video throttling scheme called "Binge On," until criticism forced the company to tweak how it was downgrading third-party video streams. Giving customers free Go data sounds like a great idea, but it's exactly the kind of ostensibly beneficial lure Team Rocket might use to steal Pikachu from our heroes. To be clear: making Pokémon Go exempt from data caps is bad for net neutrality, for the same reasons making certain video and music apps exempt is a bad idea.
"It's gonna be a fantastic T-Mobile Tuesday," said T-Mobile CEO John Legere.
(Credit where it's due: Verge senior reporter Adi Robertson predicted this would happen just two days ago, and now here we are.)
Countdown to the first mobile carrier offering a horrifying, net neutrality-killing, wildly popular sponsored data deal for Pokemon Go.— Adi Robertson (@thedextriarchy) July 12, 2016