How Telegram Makes Money? Telegram Business Model Explained

How Telegram Makes Money?

Telegram, which is among the most downloaded apps worldwide with 800M users, provides its services for the users for free since its launch in the market. One application that is free of users to download it, access it and use it.

The app’s commitment is to provide fast and secure messaging service to its users without compromising on quality and services. 

With remaining in the market from quite a time now, Telegram has become one of the famous  name now.

How Telegram Makes Money?

Be it using for business purposes, downloading movies, getting latest updates about events, using it for creating bots, accessing it for getting latest news, and more of it by joining various channels. 

(A) Telegram Company Overview 

One of the most unique features that set’s telegram apart from other apps is that it offers its users with a bundle of services which are absolutely free to use and access. 

Company name Telegram 
Founded 2013 
Founders Nikolai Durov and Pavel Durov
Base of the company London, United Kingdom
CEO of Telegram Pavel Valeryevich Durov 
Global presence It is available in over 155 countries 
Largest markets to operate Based on downloads, largest markets for
Telegram to operate is India, Russia, &United States 
Industry Social networking 
Operation space B2C & SaaS Space in mobile segments 
Business Type Private 
Annual users count 800 million (2023)
Company Profile of Telegram

Telegram remains among the top most downloaded messenger apps worldwide based on the numbers for the same year. It has left behind apps like WhatsApp and Snapchat in the race. 

The largest markets for the app to operate in India, Russia, and the United States, based on its downloads.

Telegram is a free messaging and open source software which offers free services like end-to-end encryption, free messaging, downloading, cloud based instant messaging services, etc. 

Telegram Company

According to the CEO of the company, “Telegram does not believe in selling ads for promotion because the personal data shared with advertisers could go against its ethos, and the app will remain free forever for the users”.

However with time the app will offer additional features and services which can be accessed with paid subscriptions. 

Let’s see how telegram was founded? 

(B) Major Events Of Telegram 

Aspects Reason 
2006 Launched VK (formerly known as VKontakte, an app like Facebook). The app became widely popular in Russia and Europe. 
2010s VK’s base grew to 100 million users. 
2013 Caught the attention of the Russian Govt. and was asked to shut down the business. 
2013 The brothers founded Telegram.
2018 Telegram announced its own plans to launch its own blockchain network, Telegram Open Network (TON), with a cryptocurrency token called Gram
2019 SEC intervened, declaring that the scheme unlawful and alleging that Telegram’s Gram tokens were unregistered securities, which violates the securities laws.
2020 The founder, Durov announced that this public Telegram channel has decided to introduce monetization to maintain Telegram’s continued growth.
2023 Witnessed a notable amount of downloads of 1 billion. 
Major Events Of Telegram

As we can see in the above Telegram has an impressive as well as an up down tale of its founding. The founders originally founded VKontakte in 2006, an app like Facebook.

However, the app got shut down in 2013 due to government rules and regulations. The founders then founded Telegram, which gained success with time, and as a result in 2023, it witnessed a notable number of downloads of 1 billion. 

(C) Telegram User Base 

Let’s look at the telegram user base over the years. 

Year User Base 
July 2023 800 million 
November 2022700 million 
April 2020400 million 
March 2018200 million 
December 2017180 million 
Telegram User Base Over the Years

Telegram’s user base has evolved with time and currently Telegram is one of the top applications in the free messaging industry. 

Now let’s begin with Telegram Business Model & How Telegram Makes Money?

(D) Telegram Business Model 

Like other messaging apps, Telegram operates on a free model, but in 2022, it shifted its business model on a freemium base. Under which users are free to access the services and features of Telegram, and can join any channel for free.

Along with that Telegram will be introducing some additional features and services which will be available on a subscription basis for the users who want to get access to premium services for Telegram. 

Telegram Business Model

The company founded in 2013, has not generated much of the revenue in its early days and till 2022, as the basic core of the app was to provide free services to its users and not advertising and promotional content on their app, as it involves selling users data to third parties which is against the company’ ethos. However, in 2022, the company reported a revenue of $1.6 million

Therefore the company has to implement other practices for generating revenue, and therefore introduced a freemium service model.

Let’s see the key elements of Telegram Business Model which helps it set apart!

(D.1) Working Strategies of Telegram Business Model

Operational AspectsReason 
Lock Chat feature Telegram provides its users with the lock chat feature, under which users have the facility to protect any chat with a password and ensure an extra layer of privacy. 
Interactive chat availability The user gets options like hashtags, replies, and mentions to increase the engagement and effectiveness of their chats.
Access from any device Telegram offers a seamless flow of messaging and cross connection, i.e. it can be accessed from any device. 
Notifications settings Here groups and chats can be muted to avoid unnecessary notifications. 
Timer on media One of the most highlighting features of Telegram. It offers its users with a self-destructing timer on media. Under which media can be set with a timer, which results in automatic deletion of the media after a specified period of time.
Message editing option The user here gets the feature of editing the message even after it is being sent and can also be deleted from both sides. 
Working Strategies of Telegram Business Model

(E) How Telegram Makes Money?

As we discussed above that Telegram initially used to offer free services to its users worldwide, and has not implemented various promotional activities on its platform.

As according to the CEO of the company they, “believes in fast and secure messaging that is also 100% free” and thus hasn’t generated any revenue till 2020. 

How Telegram Makes Money

However, Telegram in 2022 switched on a freemium model, which incorporates making additional and high services available at a paid model to users who wish to access those services. 

Let’s see some of the factors of how telegram makes money, one by one!

( E.1) Free Service Model 

Telegram still provides its users with the free service access model which helps in attracting a wider base of users towards it. The founders of Telegram believes that its users privacy is essential and thus does not allow any third party to promote their services in their platform.

However later on to find more ways to generate revenue, the company introduced a subscription model which helps them in attracting a good base of users as well as generate more revenue. 

(E.2) Telegram Subscription Model 

Till 2020, Telegram hasn’t generated any revenue as it prohibits the display and promotion of any advertisement on its platform and does not sell users data to third party advertisers, as it is against their core principles. Until then it was funded by the founders of the company. 

Telegram Premium Services

Therefore in 2022, they introduced the “Telegram Subscription Model” for accessing other additional services. This helped them turn in a good revenue amount. 

Year Revenue 
September 2022 $0.84 million 
October 2022 $1.01 million 
November 2022 $1.4 million 
December 2022 $1.5 million 
January 2023$1.6 million
Telegram Revenue Through In-App Purchases Over the Years

It is pretty clear from the above table that Telegram after introducing its subscription model has turned in good numbers for its revenue, as before that it hasn’t generated any amount for its revenue. 

(F) Summing Up: How Telegram Makes Money?

Telegram, the free messaging and open source software have become an globally acknowledged app and has recorded its annual user base of 800 million users. The globally recognized app involves a user centric approach and different revenue earning modes. 


By implementing a more user centric approach, using freemium model, in-app purchases, into its operations, Telegram continues to evolve into its business and excels in business model by staying true to its user security and privacy. 

Note: Want to explore business models of other notable players like,

Visit them to know more about them in detail!

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Published By: Aashita Singh
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