(Pocket-lint) – On the back of the announcement that it had reached the 700 million active users milestone, and became one of the most-downloaded apps worldwide in 2022, Telegram announced a new premium tier for its super-users.
For years, Telegram has been a fee-free and (mostly) ad-free messaging service, offering convenient and secure messaging that doesn’t make any money from its users’ data.
Instead, it ran solely on investor money. But with its user base growing, and the cost of running the service ramping up, Telegram has announced a new monthly subscription offer that adds more features for its super-users.
How much does it cost?
- £4.99/month in the UK
- $4.99/month in the US
- €5.49/month in Europe
This is the all important question, and the answer is: not a lot. In the UK, at point of the service going live, a monthly subscription is £4.99. In the US, it’s $4.99. In Europe, it’s €5.49 per month.
What extra features do I get?
As with any premium subscription like this, you get a mix of really useful features for those who use the service a lot, and other nice little fun perks. Here’s what Telegram has annnounced so far:
1. 4GB Uploads
Any free tier user can upload files up to 2GB, but with the premium tier, you can upload files as large as 4GB. It’s worth noting, if you’re not a premium user, you can still receive and download these 4GB files. The restriction only applies to uploads.
2. Faster downloads
If you have a premium account, you’ll be able to download content, files and media on to your device at the fastest available speed. It’s not limited in any way apart from what your network can handle.
3. Doubled limits for pretty much everything
This is where you start to see the super-user coming into play. With a premium account you can follow up to 1000 channels, create 20 chat folders with up to 200 chats each, you can add a fourth account to your Telegram app, save up to 10 favourite stickers and pin 10 chats in your main list.
Other increases include being able to write a longer bio, reserve up to 10 public t.me links for sharing your favourite groups and channels, plus you can have up to 400 favourite GIFs.
Sending voice notes is a very popular way to communicate in any messaging app, but it’s not always convenient to listen, so with a premium account, Telegram is going open up voice-to-text transcriptions. This means you’ll still be able to see what the message says, even when you can’t or don’t want to listen. You can also rate the transcriptions to improve the quality of the service.
5. Unique stickers and full-screen animations
Like iMessage, you’ll be able to take advantage of full-screen animations for stickers when you’re a Telegram Premium subscriber. The collection will be updated every month, and even free users will be able to receive and view them (just not send them).
6. Unique reactions
Premium users also get access to a selection of new reactions. This is in addition to the usual reactions, and some of those include pop-out animations too.
7. Animated profile pictures
It won’t be the only way you can tell you have a premium account, but it’ll be the most obvious: animated profile pictures. This allows you to have a short video as your thumbnail rather than a static image.
8. Chat management
Again, for super users with lots of chat groups to organise. For istance, you can set a group of chats to be the default that opens instead of the catch-all inbox list with all of your chats in. If – as an example – you want to set family or work colleagues as your main folder, you can. Or you can have it just open up a list of your unread messages first.
9. Premium badges
Like the animated profile picture, this will give others the indication that you are a premium user. Each premium tier member gets a little premium icon badge on their profile, which appears in the chat list for all to see.
10. Premium app icons
Premium users will also be able to change their app icon to one of the newer premium-only app icons, rather than just one of the preset few. This includes the premium ‘star’ icon.
11. No Ads, at all
Currently, ads generally don’t show even for free users. However, in some circumstances they do, like in big groups organised by one person. In these instances you might see what Telegram describes as ‘minimally designed sponsored messages’. If you’re a premium subscriber, you won’t even see these.
How do I get it?
Like most apps with premium services, it’s a simple in-app purchase. Download the latest Telegram app upate for iPhone, iPad or Android and then open ‘Settings’. You’ll see an option for ‘Telegram Premium’ in the main settings list, tap it and then confirm your monthly subscription on the pop-up window.
Writing by Cam Bunton.