Update: It would seem that the ban has been lifted this morning, with Proximus confirming that a security issue was indeed to blame.
Original story: Niantic has been stepping up its game when it comes to banning people in Pokémon GO. It would seem there are quite a few ways of "cheating" the popular smartphone app, from using trackers to pinpoint 'mon to using other, more drastic measures and fiendish tactics.
However, if a recent story is indeed true, it would seem that Niantic has gone to extreme lengths to enforce its bans and has locked out Belgium's biggest mobile network provider to an attempt to shut down one such ploy.
The story goes like this. Late last week a Redditor on /r/pokemongodev - a community devoted to developing "bot" programs for use in the game - stated that they intended to test a theory on IP bans. This individual claims to have used a set of "burner" SIM cards to execute thousands of scans of the Pokemon Go servers. Because mobile phones were used, these scans all came from a single IP address - the one used by the cell phone company Proximus.
The initial test apparently proved that running the scans through the network's national IP address potentially grants total access to the Pokémon GO servers, but Niantic quickly spotted the move and shut it down - thereby banning every single user who uses Proximus's cell coverage to access the game.
The twist in this tale is that the same Redditor then stated that they hadn't actually gone through with the plan, and that someone on the /r/pokemongodev board must have tipped Niantic off, leading to a pre-emptive ban of the Proximus network. While some are questioning the validity of this claim, one thing is for sure - Proximus users can't play Pokémon GO - at the moment, anyway. Whether or not this is due to the alleged plan is currently unknown.
This isn't the first time that an entire nation has been prevented from playing the game by cheaters - the launch in Brazil and Latin America was curtailed by the presence of bots and third-party apps - and it shows the immense size of the issue Niantic is attempting to deal with.