Telegram tops 700 million users, launches premium tier – TechCrunch

Telegram has amassed 700 million monthly active users and is rolling out a premium tier with additional features as the instant messaging platform makes a push to monetize a portion of its user base. Telegram did not disclose how much it is charging for the premium tier, but the monthly subscription appears to be priced in the range of $5 to $6.

The premium tier adds a range of additional and improved features to the messaging app, which topped 500 million monthly active users in December. Telegram Premium will allow users to send files as large as 4GB and support faster downloads, Telegram said.

Paying customers will be able to follow up to 1,000 channels, up from 500, and create up to 20 chat folders with as many as 200 chats each. Telegram Premium users will also be able to add up to four accounts in the app and pin up to 10 chats.

Premium users will also have the ability to convert voice messages into texts, gain access to unique stickers and reactions, and set animated profile pictures. Paying customers will also be able to avoid seeing ads. (In some markets, sponsored messages are show in large, public one-to-many channels.)

The move is the firm is Dubai-headquartered firm’s attempt to keep its developed “driven primarily by its users, not advertisers,” said the firm. “Today is an important day in the history of Telegram – marking not only a new milestone, but also the beginning of Telegram’s sustainable monetization,” the firm said in a blog post.

Telegram founder and chief executive Pavel Durov said earlier this month the move to launch a premium tier was intended to respond to user demand for additional storage/bandwidth.

“After giving it some thought, we realized that the only way to let our most demanding fans get more while keeping our existing features free is to make those raised limits a paid option,” he said.

In India, the premium version is priced at $6 for iPhone users. Alex Barredo, a Spain-based technology commentator, reported seeing €5.49 ($5.77) as the monthly cost. A Telegram spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This is a developing story. More to follow…

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