Telegram’s Premium plan coming later this month

Telegram will soon begin putting some features behind a paywall (via TechCrunch† In a post on the platform, founder Pavel Durov announced that the messaging service is launching a paid Telegram Premium subscription later this month, giving users “extra features, speed, and resources.”

Durov refers to some of the features that come with the subscription, including early access to new features, the ability to upload larger files, and Premium stickers and comments (which were recently previewed in a beta version of the app).

But Durov also makes it clear that Telegram’s existing features will remain free, and that the paid features will not impact the experience for free users of the app. Non-subscribers can still view the larger files uploaded by Premium users, as well as view and use Premium stickers and comments.

As Durov explains, a Premium subscription should help the service cut some of the costs associated with raising what Durov calls the “already crazy” limits on file sizes, chats, and media — something Durov says ” unmanageable” would be if it were offered to all users. A paid subscription has been in the works for a while, with Durov first mentioning the possibility in 2020.

While the full range of Premium features is still unclear, it seems that the plan is suitable for Telegram’s power users, kind of like the way Twitter Blue offers extra features to the people who use the app the most. Data gathered from the beta version of the app suggests it will cost $4.99 per month and will come with faster downloads, voice-to-text messaging, tools to customize your chats, and more

The beta also indicates that Premium users will not have ads in one-to-many channels, something Durov introduced last year. This is in line with Durov’s earlier promise that he would give users a way to disable ads, although it seems like you may have to pay to access it.

Durov appears to have no plans to expand advertising beyond public channels, despite the initiative being “more successful” than he initially thought. “I believe that Telegram should be funded primarily by its users, not advertisers,” Durov said in his post. “In this way, our users will always remain our number one priority.” Of course, this outlook probably also depends on whether Telegram can entice a large enough portion of its 500-plus million users to buy Premium.

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