The move to monetize its services come as the Telegram userbase is exploding worldwide, it has 700 million active users according to its own latest statistics and made the top five most downloaded apps of 2022.
The new service, dubbed Telegram Premium, will give paying users a host of new features while “preserving free access” to the basic app.
What do users get?
Telegram Premium users will be able to upload and share files of up to 4GB, whereas free users will be capped at 2GB.
All Telegram users can download these extra-large documents, regardless of whether they are subscribed to Telegram Premium
In addition to the company’s entry into the file hosting space, Telegram Premium subscribers will also apparently be able to download media and files at “the fastest possible speed” from their unlimited cloud storage.
Premium users are also set to get increased limits for almost everything in the app, including the ability to follow up to 1000 channels, create up to 20 chat folders with up to 200 chats each, add a fourth account to any Telegram app, pin 10 chats in the main list, and save up to 10 favourite stickers.
Telegram Premium will also enable voice messages to be converted to text and will allow users to be able to rate the quality of transcriptions.
Telegram Premium is already available for iOS users who have the latest 8.8 version of the app installed, but doesn’t seem to have been rolled out to Android users just yet.
The cost of Telegram Premium is set to vary between depending on the location but will be $4.99 for US users.
The updates also feature a host of purely aesthetic updates, including Animated Profile Pictures, new emojis, and premium badges.
In some countries, Sponsored Messages are shown in large, public one-to-many channels. These advertisements will no longer appear for subscribers of Telegram Premium.
The growth of Telegram has not been without unwelcome participants, however.
Experts have warned users to beware a malware downloader pretending to be an installer for popular communications platform Telegram.
According to cybersecurity researchers Minerva Labs, someone is distributing two files in a single download – one is a legitimate Telegram installer, while the other one is an AutoIT program, also a downloader, but for the PurpleFox malware.