Smart to treat Pokémon GO players with free data access to game for 7 days

Wyatt Ong
Smart to treat Pokémon GO players with free data access to game for 7 days
Smart subscribers will be able to catch all the Pokémon they want for a limited time without incurring data costs.

MANILA, Philippines – Excited for Pokémon GO? Since the Android and iOS app became available in select markets back in July, the clamor for the critter-catching title has only ballooned. In the Philippines where the game has yet to launch, the sentiment is unanimous: “We want Pokémon GO now.” 

We might have to wait a little longer.

On the official Facebook page of Pokémon GO, it appears that the game’s ongoing rollout is focused on Central and South America – in particular, Brazil, the host country for this year’s Olympics. “We are excited to officially be putting Pokémon GO in the hands of our Latin American fans, visitors, and the Olympic athletes in Rio!” the post goes. (Click here to read our interview with the Philippine representatives to the 2016 Pokémon World Championships.)

Here’s something to be glad about though: Mobile service provider Smart will be giving subscribers seven days of free data access to Pokémon GO when it launches here. “Smart and TNT subscribers who are using iPhones or Android smartphones can enjoy seven days free data access to Pokémon GO upon accessing the game and start playing without data charges for seven days upon the launch of the game in the country,” says the official press release. 

But how much data does the free-to-play app consume anyway? An article on Money magazine mentions a London business owner who ran up his mobile bill by an additional £30 (P1,900) because of the game. Conversely, a Tech Insider writer, Antonio Villas-Boas, says Pokémon GO really doesn’t consume all that much data. Sharing his experience, he says he only consumed 25 megabytes during his time with the game – a little over 3 megabytes per hour.

By comparison, an hour of browsing through social media can use up to 90 megabytes, Villas-Boas says, pointing to figures from tech company Cisco’s online VNI (Visual Networking Index) Services Gauge Tool. 

Regardless, we’ll still take the free data. For seven days, you’ll be catching all the Pikachu, the Caterpie, and the Mewtwo you want without incurring data costs. (Kidding on that last Pokémon.) 

Smart also reminds subscribers that they can make in-app purchases such as the in-game currency Pokécoins without the aid of a credit card. Android users can charge the purchase directly to their postpaid account or prepaid load with Smart’s Google Direct Carrier Billing while iPhone users can bill their account through Smart’s Pay-With-Mobile service. –

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