Goodbye, “forever” free: Telegram premium subscription is here

Since its start in 2013, Telegram has promised users to stay “forever” free, without fees, subscriptions, and ads. This is now changing. Founder Pavel Durov announced earlier this month that Telegram will introduce a premium subscription model in June. Now, it’s here, and brings several new features for premium users.

The days of “forever” free of the Telegram messaging app are over. As Telegram founder Pavel Durov announced on his Telegram channel earlier this month: the messaging app will be getting a premium subscription service this June. And now, it’s here!

With the new subscription model, the company wants to satisfy users’ requests who had been asking for faster speed and more bandwidth within the app, Durov said. While Telegram wants to offer these features, unless the service started charging for these features, costs would become unmanageable, wrote Durov.

Telegram founder Pavel Durov announced the premium subscription on his channel. (Source: Screenshot / Telegram)

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As announced on the Telegram blog, the subscription will include larger file uploads, faster speeds, and excklusive stickers.

By subscribing to Telegram Premium, users unlock doubled limits, 4 GB file uploads, faster downloads, exclusive stickers and reactions, improved chat management—and a whole lot more.

The four GB file uploads will allow users enough space for four hours of 1080p video, or 18 days of high-quality audio, writes Telegram. Non-premium users will be able to view and download these extra-large files, but their upload limit is capped at two GB.

In addition, premium users will also get a whole lot of “more” for pretty much everything in the app. They can:

  • follow up to 1,000 channels
  • create up to 20 chat folders
  • add a fourth account to any Telegram app
  • pin 10 chats in their main list, and
  • save up to ten of their favorite stickers.

Premium users can now also write larger bios, animated profile pictures, and they also get access to special stickers that can take up the whole screen.

Telegram premium subscription sticker

Premium users will be able to send special stickers. (Source: Screenshot / Telegram)

People who subscribe to the premium features will get a special badge that will show other users that they are a member of the Telegram supporter “club”.

Telegram will bring ads to some countries

Telegram also announced that, in some countries, users will start seeing ads in large one-to-many channels. Part of the benefits of being a premium member is that you won’t see these ads.

It is still unclear though, how much Telegram will charge premium users for the subscription.

Along with the Telegram subscription, there will also be some general updates for everyone. Public goup administrators, for instance, can now send join requests to other users, which will help them grow their channels. The bots on Telegram will also see an upgrade, along with the chat previews.

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Telegram premium subscription: what to expect?

According to Durov, the subscription will allow users to “acquire additional features, speed and resources.” It seems that subscribers will also become members of a premium “club” for supporters of the app, where they will get access to new features first.

It is not clear yet what exactly these new and additional features of the Telegram premium subscription might be. Some publications are speculating, based on the latest beta app releases, that the subscription could include an increased size for file uploads, faster download speeds, voice-to-text conversion, premium stickers, and no ads.

There has been a reported monthly price of $4.99 for the subscription, but it is unclear if this is the final price, and if there might be different price packages in different regions.

Goodbye “forever” free

This is a sharp turn from the original days of the messaging service. When Telegram first launched in 2013, the messaging app promised to be a service completely free of charge. Users who downloaded the English app even received the message that it would be “forever” free.

However, users who don’t want to pay for the additional features will still be able to use the app free of charge. It seems that this might include ads in some channels though.

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Users without subscription will also be able to tap into some premium features. If, for example, a premium member sends extra-large images, they will be able to view them, promised Durov.

Telegram one of the fastest growing messaging apps

Telegram currently has over 500 million monthly active users. This might not seem like a lot, compared to WhatsApp’s two billion active users. However, Telegram is one of the fastest growing messenger apps. In the past year alone, its usage has tripled. This has sparked a discussion around plans to monetize the app.

In fact, founder Pavel Durov had already talked about the introduction of ads and subscriptions in 2020. The new premium subscription model, is said to launch in June.


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