The driving force behind Telegram’s decision to go premium is apparently user requests for more features and, the company claims in its blog post, a desire among users to help financially support the service. While the company is more than happy to deliver additional features, it couldn’t do so in a feasible way for free. It doesn’t want to go completely paid, though, as that would lock out millions of users who embraced the service because it is free. The middle ground, Telegram says, is to offer the features that these users demand at a price while keeping already existing features free of charge.
What Telegram Premium offers is basically an extension and expansion of what’s already available on the free tier. This includes the ability to follow 1,000 channels instead of only 500, create up to 20 chat folders with as many as 200 chats each, the ability to convert voice messages to text, and, of course, exclusive premium stickers. Paying users will also be able to avoid seeing ads, which is not something that all users see anyway.
The price for Telegram’s premium tier hasn’t been disclosed yet and the update will roll out “gradually,” according to Telegram, but TechCrunch claims it may fall between $5 and $6 per month. Given that Telegram will be the first of its kind to offer a premium subscription, it’s not yet clear whether that price is too high or too low. In the meantime, however, the company promises that it won’t be abandoning free tier users once this subscription plan rolls out, adding more features that everyone will enjoy, whether you paid for it or not.