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Telegram plans premium service after topping 700M active users

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Telegram, the privacy-focused messaging app, will be offering users a new premium service in the future, in a bid to monetize its sizable user base.

Telegram is free for its users to send messages to others, but doesn't currently offer any premium features. In a change currently being worked on by the service, Telegram Premium will provide subscribers with enhanced features to make it more useful.

The premium tier was initially confirmed by the company to TechCrunch, but didn't go into great detail about the revenue-generating plan at the time. Pricing for the premium tier is $4.99 per month.

As for what users could expect for the fee, a blog post explains Telegram Premium will offer an increase for sending large files, growing from a 2GB limit to 4GB, as well as prioritizing faster downloads for paid users. Users will also see the number of channels they could follow upgraded from 500 to 1,000, and produce up to 20 chat folders with up to 200 chats held in each one.

Premium users will also be allowed to add up to four accounts to an app, pin up to 10 chats for easier reading, write a longer bio, and reserve up to 20 public links. There's also voice-to-text conversion, full-screen animations for stickers, unique reactions, chat management options, animated profile pictures, and a special badge.

In some countries, ads won't display in public channels for Premium users.

Telegram says it will be the first time an instant messaging app with hundreds of millions of users will roll out a premium tier of service. It also insists the development is "driven primarily by its users, not advertisers," with founder and chief executive Pavel Durov commenting earlier in June that Premium is in response to user demand relating to storage and bandwidth.

The move will also help Telegram stabilize its income sustainably while it continues to grow. After reaching 500 million monthly active users in January 2021, it has now reached 700 million users.