The Telegram messaging app, used by a wide range of Russian and Ukrainian officials during the war, only needs a small number of paid subscribers to cover its costs, founder Pavel Durov said on Tuesday.
Telegram Premium service users will get a higher limit for chats, media and file uploads, Durov said on June 10, noting that paid subscriptions would ensure the app remains funded primarily by users and not advertisers.
“The beauty of Telegram Premium is that if just 2.5 percent to 3 percent of our users sign up for this subscription, Telegram will cover its costs, supported purely by its users,” he said on Telegram on Tuesday.
“This will herald a new, user-centric era in the history of social media services.”
Telegram and Signal have signed up more messaging users due to growing concerns about privacy on larger rival WhatsApp, owned by Meta Platforms. Telegram has 500 million monthly active users and is one of the 10 most downloaded apps in the world, according to its website.
Telegram Premium — the paid subscription that brings additional features to the messaging app — has started rolling out to users. The premium tier enables users to access up to 4GB file uploads, faster downloads, and the ability to convert voice messages into text. Alongside the launch of the paid subscription, Telegram has introduced a list of improvements for all users on the platform, including the ones who are not purchasing the premium tier. The Dubai-based company has also announced that now it has over 700 million monthly active users.
In India, Telegram Premium is available at Rs. 469 a month on the iPhone. Pricing of the premium subscription on Android is yet to be announced. It is likely that the company would go with a country-wise phased approach.