Telegram was rumoured to come out with a premium paid tier late last year after it introduced ads into the platform. Details of the subscription then leaked last month, followed by its founder Pavel Durov actually confirming that the plan was coming, teasing some of its features but leaving out its pricing and availability.
Now, Telegram has officially rolled out the Premium tier and it comes with an arsenal of interesting features to monetise its gigantic base of worldwide users. It introduces all the previously leaked tools and improvements and more while keeping all the existing features free, meaning that the app is not changing for those not interested in paying for the subscription.
One of the main benefits of Premium is the increased file size limit from the standard 2GB to a whopping 4GB per file, which Telegram calculates is big enough for a four-hour 1080p video. Subscribers also get to download files at faster speeds but regardless of this, even free users can download 4GB files sent by Premium users, albeit at slower speeds.
Premium subscribers also get double limits for everything else, including the ability to join up to 1000 channels and groups, 10 pinned chats, 20 public links, 10 favourite stickers, and 400 saved GIFs. You can also write a longer bio for yourself and even include a link.
Next up, Telegram Premium is introducing a voice-to-text transcription tool that will transcribe voice messages into text, something that WhatsApp is similarly working on. There is also a chat management tool that lets you make custom folders and set your default folder, with an additional feature that automatically archives and mutes new chats from non-contacts.
There are, of course, some cosmetic advantages such as a badge so you can show off your Premium status as well as animated profile pictures. You also get exclusive stickers and reactions which you can share with free users and new app icons that you can add to your home screen
Paid users also don’t have to deal with seeing sponsored messages that may appear in large public channels. But to make sure free users don’t feel left out, there are also improvements that all users can enjoy, such as the ability for public groups to add a join request button, verification badges for public figures and organisations, automatic saving on Android, and improved chat previews on Android.
Telegram Premium costs RM22.90 per month on iOS with the latest update but as of writing, the update is not available for Android phones yet. Telegram said that it wants sustainable monetisation, justifying the subscription as a means to steer development towards being driven primarily by its users instead of advertisers.
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