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Telegram to roll out premium tier as it tops 700m daily users

The company has remained tight-lipped about pricing but is launching a paid-for tier ahead of rivals

The instant messaging platform Telegram has amassed over 700 million monthly active users and will soon be rolling out a 'premium' tier as it looks to monetise a portion of its user base. 

Exclusive new features will be added to the paid version, though no pricing has been disclosed for the monthly subscription. 

Telegram, which was founded in 2013 by Russian brothers Nikolai and Pavel Durov, famously states that its end goal is not to "bring profit" and even has a non-profit organisation structure. This is largely down to its resistance to deploying targeted in-message advertising, though that stance has softened a little with the company testing non-targeted advertising in public channels.  

As such, the premium tier appears to be a way for the company to monetise users that it is comfortable with, in that it keeps it user-driven, rather than based on targetted advertising. The premium tier will include the ability to send large files (4GM up from 2GB) and will support faster downloads as well as capacity for up to 1,000 channels - standard users can only have 500. 

Telegram also appears to be the first of the large messaging platforms to roll out a premium tier with none of Signal, Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp having any kind of higher paid-for offering, though, there are unconfirmed reports that WhatsApp is working on a premium tier. 

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Founder and chief executive, Pavel Durov, had previously said that the premium tier was in response to user demand for additional storage and bandwidth. 

​​"After giving it some thought, we realised that the only way to let our most demanding fans get more while keeping our existing features free is to make those raised limits a paid option," he said.

While pricing hasn't been specified for the US and Europe, a premium version in India is available for $6 (US dollars) on iPhone, so the tier could likely be between £4 and £5. 

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