Telegram goes premium to register service for users

Telegram adds a new subscription plan called Telegram Premium.

Glimpses of a Telegram Premium have been circulating for weeks, while the company tested a beta version on iOS. Telegram CEO and founder Pavel Durov confirmed the rumors this week, visiting his official channel (here's a picture if you don't want to join) to reveal the new level.

Larger files and faster speeds

Officially, the subscription plan, which will coexist with the free service, will add new features (such as sending "extra large documents") and resources, and improve the speed of the application. Premium members will also receive the first information about these new features.

Durov clarifies that none of the free features will suddenly launch behind a paywall and expect new ones later. There will also be better interactivity between Premium and Free users. For example, free users will be able to read large files sent to them by paid members or tap Premium reactions on pinned messages.

Not much can be gleaned from Durov's statement, but there are potential leaks. According to a leaked Telegram channel, the new Premium tier may include an increased download size of up to 4 GB, animated avatars, new chat management tools, and speech-to-text conversion.

We contacted Telegram and asked if they could confirm any of these details, along with the price. Unfortunately, the official Telegram line did not answer us.

Analysis: Funding Need

Monetization has been a sticking point for the company. For the last nine years, Telegram has been a free service, but that had to change because, as Durov explained on his channel, Telegram needs money.

He reveals that when people asked Telegram to add more features, the company ran into sustainability issues. If Telegram added whatever people wanted, the server costs would become totally "unmanageable" and could have forced it to shut down the app, according to Durov. The Premium tier is a way for users to directly support the app.

Telegram has experimented with various crowdfunding methods in the past. Some, like sponsored posts, were retained and integrated into the app's advertising platform. Others have been more disastrous like his billion dollar blockchain platform, TON. The SEC eventually found out about TON, with Durov quickly jumping ship and abandoning the project.

It will be interesting to see if Telegram Premium is the source of income that the company wants it to be. Compared to something like the failed blockchain project, a Premium tier is more practical. If you're interested in encrypted messaging apps, TechRadar has a list of the best ones for 2022.

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