Privacy-focused messaging app Telegram has announced a premium version with additional features for a monthly subscription of $4.99. Telegram also said that it has crossed more than 700 million monthly active users (MAU) most of which have come from personal recommendations by users. The company claims that it never paid for advertisements.
Both announcements were made by the Telegram team in a June 19 blog post, where it also listed the multiple benefits that will be available to Telegram Premium users.
The company had first announced plans to roll out a premium version early this month in a Telegram post by chief executive Paul Durov.
The benefits available to premium users include doubled limits, file uploads of up to 4GB files, faster downloads, exclusive stickers, and reactions, converting voice messages to text, and improved chat management.
In the free version, users can upload files of up to 2GB. Similarly, in the free version users can follow up to 500 channels and groups, pin 5 chats and save up to 200 GIFs. All these features will get doubled in the premium version.
The non-premium version of the app will continue to remain free. Its users will get a few additional benefits such as the option to download extra-large documents and view stickers sent by premium users.
According to app analytics firm Sensor Tower, Telegram was the fifth most downloaded app with over 100 million downloads across Google Play Store and Apple App Store during the March quarter of 2022.
Though WhatsApp still has the highest number of downloads, many users are migrating to other messaging apps such as Telegram and Signal that also offer end-to-end encryption and ask for lesser data from its users.
This has also contributed to Telegram’s growth.
The need to roll out a premium version of Telegram was driven by the growing pressure on the company. In a June 10 post, Durov had said that removing all limits for everyone was not possible as that would make the server and traffic costs unmanageable for the company.
“The contributions of premium subscribers will help improve and expand the app for decades to come, while Telegram will remain free, independent, and uphold its users-first values,” the Telegram Team said in a blog post.
Telegram isn’t the only social media network that is launching a premium version. Last week, Snapchat parent company Snap Inc said in a statement to The Verge that it's testing a paid subscription plan. Twitter already has a similar plan called Twitter Blue for users in select markets. It offers extras such as the option to bookmark folders, undo tweets, and access reader mode.