DUBAI: Messaging app Telegram will launch a paid subscription plan for its users this month, founder Pavel Durov said yesterday.
Users who will opt for Telegram Premium will get a higher limit for chats, media and file uploads, Durov said in a blogpost.
“The only way to let our most demanding fans get more while keeping our existing features free is to make those raised limits a paid option,” he said.
The app, along with messaging tool Signal, have seen an increase in users following privacy concerns with larger rival WhatsApp, owned by Meta Platforms Inc. Telegram currently has 500 million monthly active users and is one of the 10 most downloaded apps in the world, according to its website https://telegram.org/faq.
Durov said the move to offer a paid subscription was to ensure that Telegram remains funded primarily by its users and not advertisers.
Exact details of what Premium users will get – and how much it will cost – are not detailed in Durov’s post. But, in recent days, press reports of incoming premium features and pricing have emerged, via the beta app, which suggest it could include stuff like increased file upload size, faster download speeds, voice-to-text conversion, premium stickers, advanced chat management features and more (no ads!).
A price of $4.99 per month has also been reported based on analysis of the beta app. But it remains to be seen what the official pricing will be in different regions.
In his post, Durov sums up Telegram Premium as “a subscription plan that allows anyone to acquire additional features, speed and resources”. He’s also spinning it as a bit of a patronage layer — pitching Telegram super fans who want to support the platform by making a financial contribution. Those that do will get the perk of joining a Premium “club” that will get new features first, he adds.