• The monthly subscription of the premium tier is expected to be priced at five or six dollars.
  • This update includes over 100 fixes and optimizations to the mobile and desktop apps – eliminating bugs, improving speed, and expanding minor features.

Encrypted messaging service Telegram announced that it had reached 700 million monthly active users. It is also launching a new premium tier with enhanced features for paid users. The messaging platform aims to monetize a portion of its large user base. The company hasn’t disclosed the premium tier subscription fee, which will differ depending on location. But the monthly subscription is expected to be priced between five and six dollars.

The premium version includes additional and improved features as follows –

  • Premium users can send files of large sizes of up to 4GB (which was initially 2GB).
  • The version supports faster downloads.
  • Users can follow up to 1,000 channels, whereas free users can follow up to 500 channels.
  • Premium users can create up to 20 chat folders with over 200 chats each. They will also be able to add almost four accounts in the app and pin up to 10 chats.
  • Paying users will also be able to convert voice messages into texts.
  • These users also get access to exclusive stickers and reactions. They will also be able to use animated pictures as their profile photos.
  • While sponsored messages usually show in public channels in some markets, premium customers will be able to avoid seeing ads on the app.

Pavel Durov, the company’s CEO and founder, said that the move to a premium tier was intended as a response to user demand for additional bandwidth/storage. He added, “After giving it some thought, we realized that 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 also assured users that a number of core features in the app would remain free to users, and the company would maintain its privacy-focused approach. The CEO has pledged to continue building new features for the non-paying users too.

The firm is also rolling out a new feature called join requests in the latest update. All users will be able to join a public group without the need for an invite link. Another new feature for free users is that verified groups and channels will be able to showcase their badges at the top of the chat. The update will support animations rendering 120 frames per second on new iPhones and iPads.

“This update includes over 100 fixes and optimizations to the mobile and desktop apps – eliminating bugs, improving speed, and expanding minor features,” Telegram said.

The Dubai-headquartered firm has said it will keep its development “driven primarily by its users, not advertisers.” It is also the first time an instant messaging app with hundreds of millions of users has rolled out a premium version. Telegram’s top rivals like WhatsApp, Google’s Messages, Facebook Messenger, Signal, and Apple’s Messages don’t offer a premium tier.

In a blog post, the company said, “Today is an important day in the history of Telegram – marking not only a new milestone but also the beginning of Telegram’s sustainable monetization.”