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Telegram messaging app to introduce paid services in 2021, existing features remain free

Encrypted messaging app Telegram is expected to launch new paid-for services come 2021. The app’s Russian-born founder Pavel Durov said on his Telegram channel that the decision was made as the company required a few hundred million dollars per year to maintain its services to its users.

Telegram is popular in a number of countries such as the former Soviet Union and Iran where it is mostly used for both private communications and the sharing of information and news. It has attracted nearly 500 million active users since its launch seven years ago.

Durov shared that he has mostly paid for the company’s expenses using his personal saving. He believes Telegram is on track to welcome billions of new users and this means the app would require adequate funding and generate revenue.

The Telegram founder assured users that thanks to the app’s current scale, it will be able to do so in a non-intrusive way such that most users will hardly notice any change. He claims that all existing features that are currently free on the app will remain free.

According to him, all parts of Telegram that are devoted to messaging will remain ad-free. He said the reason for this was because he believed that communication between people should free of advertising.

Telegram plans to monetise the app by adding some new features for business teams or power users. Beyond what was said, Durov offered no additional details on Telegram’s ‘paid-for’ services. Durov said “Some of the features that require more resources will be paid by these premium users. Regular users will be able to keep enjoying Telegram – for free, forever.”

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Durov said in a statement:

If Telegram starts earning money, the community should also benefit. For example, If we monetize large public one-to-many channels via the Ad Platform, the owners of these channels will receive free traffic in proportion to their size. Or, if Telegram introduces premium stickers with additional expressive features, the artists who make stickers of this new type will also get a part of the profit. We want millions of Telegram-based creators and small businesses to thrive, enriching the experience of all our users.

The 36-year-old said he has no plans to sell the company. “The world needs Telegram to stay independent as a place where users are respected and high-quality service is ensured. Telegram must continue to serve the world as an example of a tech company that strives for perfection and integrity. And, as the sad examples of our predecessors’ show, that is impossible if you become part of a corporation,” he said.


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