Telegram will soon start 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 “additional features, speed and resources.”
Durov hints at some of the features coming with the subscription, including early access to new features, the ability to upload larger files, and Premium-only stickers and reactions (which were recently previewed in a beta version of the app).
But Durov also makes it clear that Telegram’s existing features will stay free, and that the paid features won’t affect the experience for free users on the app. Non-subscribers will still get to look at the larger files uploaded by Premium users, and will also get to view and interact with Premium stickers and reactions.
As Durov explains, a Premium subscription should help the service mitigate some of the costs associated with bumping up what Durov calls the “already crazy” limits on file sizes, chats, and media — something Durov says would be “unmanageable” if offered to all users. A paid subscription has been in the works for a while now, with Durov first mentioning the possibility in 2020.
Although the full range of Premium features is still unclear, it looks like the subscription will cater to Telegram’s power users, sort of like the way Twitter Blue brings additional 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 / month and will come with faster downloads, voice-to-text messages, tools to customize your chats, and more
The beta also indicates Premium users won’t have ads in one-to-many channels, something Durov introduced last year. This is in line with Durov’s previous promise that he would give users a way to turn ads off, though it looks like you might have to pay to gain access.
Durov doesn’t seem to have plans to expand ads beyond public channels, despite the initiative being “more successful” than what he initially thought. “I believe that Telegram should be funded primarily by its users, not advertisers,” Durov says in his post. “This way our users will always remain our main priority.” Of course, this outlook probably also depends on whether Telegram can entice a large enough chunk of its more than 500 million users to buy into Premium.