New livestreaming apps Meerkat and Periscope help people share snippets of their lives—but they also gobble down data. Enough data that you might blow past your data cap. If you’re serious about streaming, you might need a bigger data plan!
When we put both apps to the test, we measured usage of over 250 megabytes of data an hour for Periscope and over 400 megabytes an hour for Meerkat. Other testers have reported up to 400 megabyes per hour for both apps.
What does that mean? Well, the average person in North America uses around 465 megabytes of data a month, according to Sandavine’s global internet access report from 2014. That number’s likely slightly higher this year, since it’s been steadily increasing, but still: moderately heavy Meerkat users will blow through as much data in a single hour as most people use in a month.
Now, livestreaming isn’t the only data-gobbling genre of app. Streaming music and video are also cap-busting culprits—you can easily chew through 115MB per hour of high-quality streaming audio, or 1GB per hour of Netflix at standard definition.