Messaging app Telegram has rolled out a premium tier that gives paying users access to extra features for a price of P259 a month, the platform announced Monday, after its monthly active users crossed the 700 million mark.
Touted to be first for any instant messaging app, Telegram premium adds a range of additional and improved features to the messaging app including bigger uploads (up to 4GB from the standard 2GB), faster downloads, and exclusive stickers.
Limits for almost everything in the app are also increased for paying users as they will be able 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 favorite stickers.
Premium users can also make their bios longer and include a link, Telegram said, adding they can also convert voice messages into text and that sponsored messages in public channels are removed under the paid tier.
Telegram assured users that even with this expansion, "all existing features that users have come to expect and rely on for nearly a decade remain free", and that it won't stop developing features for free users.
Non-premium users will be able to enjoy some of Premium's benefits like being able to download extra-large documents and view stickers sent by premium users, it added.
"The contributions of premium subscribers will help improve and expand the app for decades to come, while Telegram will remain free, independent and uphold its users-first values, redefining how a tech company should operate," the company said.
Unlike most of its competitors, including Facebook-owned Whatsapp, the Dubai-headquartered firm owned by Russian brothers Pavel Durov and Nikolai Durov said its growth over the years is driven "solely [by] personal recommendations" and that it never paid to advertise its apps since launching in 2013.