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Telegram Premium is official and you won't need to pay to benefit

Telegram Messenger
Telegram Messenger (Image credit: Luke Filipowicz/iMore)

What you need to know

  • Telegram founder Pavel Durov has confirmed that a premium subscription is in the works.
  • No pricing has been given but a $4.99 per month fee is expected.
  • Even people who don't subscribe will benefit from some features by association.

Popular instant messaging platform Telegram is getting a premium subscription tier, with founder Pavel Durov also confirming that even those who don't pay will still benefit by way of association.

Telegram has long been a big competitor to the likes of WhatsApp but it'll be the first to get a premium paid-for tier that won't be aimed at businesses. Telegram Premium has been confirmed by Durov via his own Telegram channel, although details are still sparse — we don't know what it will cost or exactly when it will be available — we just know it'll be this month at some point. But we do know more than we did yesterday.

That includes the fact that Telegram sees its subscription option as a way to give power users access to "additional features, speed, and resources." Durov also confirmed that Telegram Premium subscribers will get "new features first." However, no existing features will be placed behind the paywall.

Notably, it also sounds like those who don't pay for Telegram Premium will benefit in some ways and all they need to do is be in touch with someone who does. Durov explains:

Not to worry though: all existing features remain free, and there are plenty of new free features coming. Moreover, even users who don't subscribe to Telegram Premium will be able to enjoy some of its benefits: for example, they will be able to view extra-large documents, media and stickers sent by Premium users, or tap to add Premium reactions already pinned to a message to react in the same way.

While Durov didn't say how much the subscription would cost, we've already heard from various reports that it will be around $4.99 per month, but that could change when everything is official. Telegram is already one of the best iPhone apps for staying in touch with people who can't use iMessage — that's you, green bubbles — and added features are only going to improve its value proposition. Even if that value involves paying up.

Oliver Haslam
Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.