Looks like there has been some miscommunication.
Okay, so it sounds like there was some confusion regarding the online functionality of Pokemon Let’s GO Pikachu and Let’s GO Eevee, the upcoming Switch exclusive remakes of Pokemon Yellow that imbibe a lot from Pokemon GO. While it was originally suggested that the game would allow players to trade and battle online for free, bypassing the paywall for the Nintendo Switch Online subscription.
Now it seems like that will not be the case- it looks like you will need to be subscribed to Nintendo Switch Online after all, at least if you want to play online. Nintendo has revealed as much in a statement to Eurogamer.
“Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! will have online play functionality. Battling and trading with other players over the internet or locally will be available in these games,” the statement reads. “An active membership for the Nintendo Switch Online service, which is scheduled to begin in September of this year, will be required to access these features.”
So that’s a bummer- but on the other hand, I suppose that between Super Smash Bros. and Pokemon, Nintendo has a captive audience that will have no choice but to subscribe to their online service- not even counting all the games they already do have out, like Splatoon, Mario Kart, ARMS, Mario Tennis, Pokken Tournament, and Rocket League.