Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Telegram has carved a nice niche for itself, and today, it is on the path to becoming a household name to be uttered in the same breath as WhatsApp. This is once again evident as the Dubai-headquartered firm expanded its monthly active user base to over 700 million.

With that milestone, Telegram became one of the top 5 downloaded apps across the globe this year. What makes it all the more exciting is that not a single dollar has been paid by the cloud-based instant messaging service to advertise its apps – Telegram said that this growth was solely from personal recommendations.

With a user base that is substantial, Telegram has now decided to monetize some of that user base by launching a premium tier for its users, which will come with additional exclusive features. The premium tier is being rolled out gradually, and you need to wait to get your hands on the update if your app is not asking you to update it just yet.

This comes after Telegram had announced earlier that its premium tier would roll out later this month so that users would subscribe to get access to the features put behind a paywall. The monthly subscription seems to fall in the range of $5-6 – for iPhone users in India, the premium version will come at $6.

Rest assured that you can continue to enjoy Telegram’s existing features for free. According to the company, 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.”

With Telegram Premium, users will be able to send files double the current limit – 4GB instead of 2GB – and even if you are not a premium tier subscriber, you will be able to download the files. You can download them at what Telegram says is the “fastest possible speed” and can access everything in your unlimited cloud storage as fast as your network can keep up.

While free users can follow up to 500 channels, Premium users will be able to follow up to 1,000 channels and create up to 20 chat folders with as many as 200 chats each. You can also add a fourth account to any Telegram app, pin 10 chats in the main list and save up to 10 favorite stickers. Speaking of stickers, Premium users will have access to those with full-screen animations, which are visible to all users.

If you are a Premium user then special and verification badges will appear next to your name in the chat list, chat headers, and member lists in groups as well. You can also add new icons to your Home Screen.

Premium users can also reserve up to 20 public links, have access to nearly 400 GIFs, avoid seeing ads, and add more characters to their media captions. They can also react to messages with over 10 new emojis, have access to animated profile pictures, as well as convert voice messages to texts, organize their chat list with new tools, and automatically archive and mute new chats.

The update also comes with a new feature called “Join Requests for Public Groups” which will enable all users to join a public group without needing an invite link, more fixes and optimizations to the mobile and desktop apps, better bots and improved chat previews for Android.