back to article Telegram adds paid tier as it cracks 700 million users

Messaging app Telegram, which came to prominence for offering end-to-end encryption that irritated governments, has celebrated passing 700 million active monthly users with a pastel-hued announcement: a paid Premium tier of service. A Sunday post celebrates the 700 million user milestone by announcing a $4.99/month tier. The …

  1. JoWill


    Telegram basically isn't encrypted. It's "cloud-based" unless you explicitly tell it not to be, i.e. a private chat between exactly two devices. It's always cloud-based for channels. Any "cloud-based" encryption they talk about (contacts, IP addresses, messages, images, anything else they can get from you) isn't end to end- it's decrypted at the closed-source server and re-encrypted there. The company hosts servers in a lot of jurisdictions. Conveniently this means governments can snoop at will with court orders or otherwise.

    Then there's the thing where if you can control someone's SMS, you can get into their Telegram account. Pro tip: any government can do this. And an awful lot of other people besides. It's called SIM-swapping and is used in bulk for stolen credentials bank fraud.

    Telegram's response to this is "oh you gotta click the private button and turn on two-factor auth". Their idea of two factor auth is sms and a password. And this article clearly indicates that most people don't realise these things and don't do either of them anyway.

    Telegram is no longer threatened by governments because governments no longer need to threaten them. They no longer talk about encryption because everyone already thinks it's secure.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Encryption?

      Telegram's USP is that it's unblockable.

      1. JoWill

        Re: Encryption?

        Well if it is, it must be on the same basis as people thinking it's encrypted:

  2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Why charge?

    All of which suggests Telegram is focussed on competition with WhatsApp and TikTok and satisfying investors

    Possibly, but at the moment it's just the owner. In 2020 growth on Telegram and Signal accelerated for two reasons: people waking up to WhatsApp data grab and a "safe" place to discuss Covid. The growth took hosting costs beyond simple hobby, especially for the increasingly popular channels and the owner said he would have to look at ways for charging for premium users, which is just what he's doing.

  3. Korev Silver badge

    I'm curious

    > The Premium tier distinguishes itself from the freebie plebeian tier with the ability to upload 4GB files

    I'm curious what people are doing to need to send 4GB files from their phone.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: I'm curious


    2. CommonBloke

      Re: I'm curious

      You'd be amazed at the things you can find in some channels

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