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Six tips to avoid the pokemon go data apocalypse


It only took two days of the Pokemon Go craze to make Shama Diegnan start fearing for her wallet. The 11-year-old son of Diegnan, a digital marketer from South Orange, New Jersey, had on Monday downloaded the popular app, an augmented reality game in which you search the real world for assorted Pokemon creatures. By Wednesday, she got a surprising notification on her phone: The family had blown through more than 75 percent of their monthly data plan, even though the billing cycle had barely started."I thought to myself, 'Why all this crazy usage?' she says. "Then I thought, 'Oh wait a minute - maybe the game is using it up.' And my son didn't even realize it."Diegnan dropped the hammer, curtailing her son's gameplaying and shutting down the family's data usage outside of Wifi networks, lest they start racking up $15 for each extra gigabyte. If you are a Pokemon Go fan yourself - or merely have an app-happy son or daughter - this Data Apocalypse is likely already familiar to you. And if it isn't, just wait. Your bill might be in the mail."The app may be free, but going over your data plan could cost you bigtime," says Jen Barrett, chief education officer at investment site Acorns and editor of the digital magazine Grow. Only available since July 6, Pokemon Go is already a historic smash. It has topped 15 million downloads, with glassy-eyed users hunting characters like Pikachu, Charizard and Squirtle for an average of more than a half-hour every day. As a result, billions in share value have been added to parent company Nintendo. As of July 11, the game already had an astonishing 21 million active daily users, according to SurveyMonkey. For wireless companies, the Pokemon Go craze is perhaps the best gift they ever received. As T-Mobile [TMOG. UL] CEO John Legere tweeted giddily to CNBC's Jim Cramer: "Since last Friday, # of active players doubled & their data usage more than quadrupled!"The powerful data-suck stands to reason: Since the game uses GPS to continually track and transmit your location, and has you constantly on the move - where you might not have your normal network access - it is all too easy to chew through your data plan. So how can you enjoy Pokemon Go - without having to upgrade your data plan and a nasty bill that makes you weep tears of regret over your iPhone? Here are six tips.

1. Networking is keyWhether you are wandering through a Starbucks franchise or an airport or a municipal park with Wifi access, make sure your smartphone's settings are automatically logging on to known networks, suggests Chuck Hamby, Verizon's executive director of corporate communications. The less time you play via a cellular connection, the better.2. Close down unused appsTo be fair, it may not just be Pokemon Go to blame for rampant data usage. If you have a handful of other apps open at the same time, those vampires may also be sucking greedily at your data plan. Notes Hamby: "Many open apps, especially those that provide location services, will continue sending and receiving data even when your phone or tablet is locked."

3. Moderation, moderation, moderationAccording to the Pokemon Go Database (this site), users might expect to churn through 2 MB-8MB or more of data per hour, depending on the different types of play involved. Get too swept up, and that is when you could see the extra charges piling up. "If Pokemon Go is played for more than six hours per day, an upgraded data plan may be needed," according to the site.4. Beware of in-app purchasesData usage is one thing, but in-app purchases can make it a pricey double whammy.

"If you are playing Po-Go instead of going to see a movie or paying for some other type of entertainment, it may be an even swap," says Barrett. "But keep track of what you're spending in real money on PokeCoins. It can add up quickly." U.S. players are already spending a reported $1.6 million a day on in-app transactions in Po-Go.5. Disable notificationsA secret culprit gobbling up data usage: Email and push notifications from various apps, which you probably do not pay attention to anyways. Automatic app updates are not helping, either. Dig into your smartphone's settings and turn them off.6. Make the kids pay One sure way to make sure your kids have some skin in the game: Charge them for any data overages related to their Pokemon Go obsession. Otherwise, they do not have much incentive to curtail their gameplaying. That is Shama Diegnan's plan, as her family bumps up against data limits. "Believe me, if we go over, he is paying for it."For a primer on how to play Pokemon Go, see this video

Us central bankers, brokers snap at secs money market proposals


Heads of the 12 U.S. Federal Reserve regional banks on Thursday strongly criticized a component of a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission proposal aimed at preventing runs on money-market funds, saying it did little to change current rules. The measure, part of a series of proposed SEC changes to reduce risks in the $2.5 trillion money-market industry, would let funds ban withdrawals and charge fees for them in times of stress like the 2008 credit crisis. The Fed group warned that allowing money funds to restrict investor withdrawals could accelerate those by sophisticated investors before triggers were breached, leaving other shareholders in the lurch. The policymakers, however, endorsed another alternative in the SEC's plan that would require prime institutional money-market funds to let the value of those shares float, reporting on a daily basis the value of their shares rather than continue the current scheme of assuming they are always worth $1 a share. The central bankers and some financial firms commented on the SEC proposals on Thursday in response to a request by the commission for feedback on its plan. The SEC is still probably months from any formal rulemakings on the issue."We continue to believe that the liquidity fees and temporary redemption gates alternative does not constitute meaningful reform and that this alternative bears many similarities to the status quo," said the letter from policymakers, sent on behalf of the 12 Fed officials by Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren. While the SEC is tasked with protecting investors and ensuring fair markets, the central bank's regulatory goal is ensuring overall financial-market stability.

The Fed officials, some of whom have been outspoken about the lingering dangers of money funds, said the SEC proposal to require funds to adopt a floating net asset value, or NAV, was a far better option from a financial stability perspective. The letter from central bank officials came as large fund companies and brokerage firms released their own views on how money-market rules should be reformed.

SCHWAB PITCHES FOR MUNI FUNDS, RETIREMENT Charles Schwab Corp. in a letter, applauded the SEC's efforts to preserve the economic benefits of money-market funds. It warned, however, that the proposed rule changes have "significant flaws" and costs of implementing them could "outweigh the benefits" for financial firms and the "larger financial system."Schwab, which manages about $168 billion in money-market accounts primarily for retail investors, asked the SEC to combine its two proposals so that institutional prime funds would both report floating values and be able to impose redemption gates and liquidity fees in times of stress. The brokerage firm took issue with a provision that would limit investors to $1 million of withdrawals a day from money-market funds that invest in corporate debt. It wants the limit raised to $5 million and apply to each customer account rather than each customer.

Retail investors often need to make large money-fund withdrawals and could easily cross the $1 million threshold, the letter said. Schwab also wants the SEC to exempt 401(k)s, IRAs and other retirement accounts from new restrictions aimed at institutional money-market funds since the vehicles are used "exclusively" by individual investors. The operational complexity of setting withdrawal limits and reporting floating net asset values on such accounts "would be so great that the effect would be to make it nearly impossible to use money market funds in these types of accounts," the letter said. The firm, which last year waived $587 million of money-market fees for clients to ensure they did not have negative returns, also wants exemptions for municipal money-market funds. Schwab lambasted the SEC for "vastly" underestimating the costs of its rule proposals. For example, expenses for developing a system to calculate floating net asset values for institutional prime money funds will exceed $10 million, Schwab said, compared with the SEC's estimate of no more than $2.3 million. A day earlier, Fidelity Investments told SEC officials that its money fund proposals could increase the borrowing costs of U.S. municipalities by as much as $13 billion.