Home Startups Telegram Business Model | How Telegram Make Money?

Telegram Business Model | How Telegram Make Money?

by Tarun Pal
telegram business model

In the field of messaging applications, Telegram has secured its position as the third most downloaded app worldwide, leaving behind WhatsApp and Snapchat. The key markets for the app as determined by download figures in 2023 are India, Russia, and the United States, reflecting its global popularity. Notably, Telegram has a huge user base of 800 million monthly active users.

What sets Telegram apart is its notable status as free and open-source software, which offers a range of features including cloud-based instant messaging and end-to-end encryption. Users benefit from a ton of features, including personalized sticker sets and the ability to create bots. Additionally, Telegram allows users to participate in or set up various channels, each of which offers engaging content to subscribe to.

Unlike other platforms, Telegram follows the principle of not selling advertising space for promotion. This approach is rooted in the platform’s commitment to protecting user privacy, as sharing personal data with advertisers is contrary to its ethos. As a result, all funding for Telegram comes directly from Pavel Durov. In pursuit of revenue growth, Telegram is considering introducing user donations or a freemium model.

In a strategic move in June 2022, Telegram transitioned to a freemium model by introducing paid subscriptions. Paying users gained access to additional features, such as the ability to follow double the number of channels, faster download speeds, and premium stickers. Notably, the platform’s in-app revenue exceeded $1 million in October 2022, with iOS users contributing the largest share, despite efforts to reduce fees and taxes.

Telegram Introduction

About TelegramStatistics
Monthly Web Traffic of Telegram335.76 million visits
Number of Paying Customers1 million
Main Age Group of Users25-34 years
Share of Male Users58.6%
Largest Market by App DownloadsIndia
Monthly App Downloads34.8 million
Leading Global Region by DownloadsAPAC (Asia-Pacific)
Average Time Spent on Telegram2.9 hours per month (Android users)

Telegram, a widely adopted open-source messaging application, offers its users a number of features including file sharing, VoIP, end-to-end encryption on video calls, and many more. Founded in August 2013 by Nikolai Durov and Pavel Durov, the company is headquartered in London, United Kingdom, and has an operational presence in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Telegram has secured its position as the most preferred messaging application in Uzbekistan and Iran, with a substantial user base of over 700 million active users.

By 2023, Telegram has achieved a notable milestone of almost 1 billion downloads, making it the 7th most popular non-gaming app on Google Play based on worldwide downloads. While Telegram is fundamentally an open-source application, its server remains closed source. Impressively, this platform facilitates the transmission of over 15 billion messages per day.

Telegram’s infrastructure consists of a server distributed across five data centers strategically located in different regions, a measure implemented to reduce the company’s data load. The operational centers are strategically located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, while the legal center operates from London, United Kingdom. This decentralized structure reflects Telegram’s commitment to efficient and secure global communications.

Business Model of Telegram

Telegram’s business model is completely focused on user convenience and features. Although founded in 2013, the company has not generated significant revenue. In 2018, Telegram unveiled ambitious plans to launch its own blockchain network, Telegram Open Network (TON), with a cryptocurrency token called Gram. It aimed to revolutionize online communications by offering a secure and decentralized platform for various applications, including payments. Through an initial coin offering (ICO), Telegram successfully raised over $1.7 billion. However, in 2019, the SEC intervened, declaring the scheme unlawful and alleging that Telegram’s Gram tokens were unregistered securities, which violated securities laws.

Subsequently, co-founder Durov maintained the company using funds received from the sale of his VK stake.

In response to these challenges, Telegram has recently grown substantially, prompting the company to monetize its services. In 2020, Durov announced on his public Telegram channel the decision to introduce monetization to maintain Telegram’s continued growth.

Importantly, Telegram is committed to the user experience by refraining from charging users or displaying advertisements in private or group chats. Instead, the company searches for alternative ways to generate sufficient revenue, which reflects its dedication to providing a user-friendly and ad-free communications platform.

What differentiates Telegram’s business model?

Telegram works on a unique user-centric business model, with its main objective being to enhance messaging convenience rather than making profits. The messaging application, established with the intention of providing a feature-rich messaging experience to users, stands out from other applications due to its unique features.

Key features that set Telegram apart include:

  • Message editing and deletion: Users can edit or delete messages sent from both sides as per their convenience.
  • Cross-platform accessibility: Messages can be accessed from any device, ensuring a seamless cross-platform experience.
  • Interactive Chat Options: Users can use options like replies, hashtags, and mentions to increase the effectiveness of their conversations.
  • Notification management: Groups can be muted to avoid unnecessary notifications.
  • Message Pinning: Users have the ability to pin important messages, ensuring visibility at the top of the chat screen.
  • Large file sharing: Files with maximum size of 2 GB or more can be shared easily.

Despite these robust features, Telegram does not make direct profits from its applications and services. In 2020, the company reported zero revenue, as its founder prioritized providing fast and secure messaging rather than making profits. Telegram strongly avoids selling advertising to maintain user privacy, believing that sharing personal data with advertisers is against its principles.

In response to emerging needs, Telegram introduced Telegram Premium in June 2022 – a subscription model that offers extended limits, faster download speeds, and larger file uploads. While Telegram remains committed to providing essential features for free, it has diversified its revenue streams through in-app purchases, including premium stickers and emoji packs. These purchases, available on the App Store and Google Play Store, contribute to Telegram’s revenue, along with funding from its founders and potentially non-essential payment options being explored for financial stability.

Key Features of Telegram

Telegram offers a myriad of features designed to enhance messaging convenience for its users. Some notable features include:

  • Lock Chat: Users have the option to password protect any chat, adding an extra layer of privacy.
  • Self-destructing media: Media files can be assigned a timer, causing them to be automatically deleted after a specified period of time.
  • Two-Step Verification: Enhance account security by implementing a two-step verification process to protect against unauthorized access.
  • Delete sender’s messages: Users can delete messages or entire chats from both the sender and recipient sides, providing control over communication history.

Telegram Premium

  • Telegram Premium is a subscription-based version that offers exclusive additional features, including:
  • High upload size: Convenience to share large files.
  • Fast Download Speed: Quick download capabilities for a better user experience.
  • Premium stickers: Access to a curated collection of high quality stickers.
  • Advanced chat management: Additional tools for efficient and organized chat management.
  • And much more: Exclusive features for premium users.

Telegram’s target audience

Telegram caters to the needs of a diverse audience with its myriad features and user-friendly options. Designed specifically for individuals aged 16 and above, the Telegram app operates without parental controls. The messaging application strategically targets the younger demographic, offering a range of end-to-end encrypted features to ensure secure communications.


In summary, our discussion has provided a brief overview of Telegram’s business model, supported by relevant data. The core philosophy of the company focuses on prioritizing user satisfaction over adequate revenue generation. Telegram has established itself as a privacy-focused and secure messaging application, experiencing significant growth in recent years.

The platform’s commitment to user privacy and its emphasis on providing a feature-rich experience have contributed to its remarkable success. Although there is a lot to know about Telegram, the information presented here provides insight into its business model and its dedication to serving its users honestly.

You may also like

Leave a Comment