Telegram, on June 19, announced the official rollout of its paid “Premium” subscription service marking the first big step towards what the WhatsApp rival is calling sustainable monetization. The paid tier will cost $4.99/month and will give users access to up to 4GB of file uploads, faster downloads, exclusive stickers and reactions, and more.

Premium subscribers will get double the limits “for almost everything in the app” over non-paying users. They can follow up to 1,000 channels, create 20 chat folders with 200 chats each, and add a total of four accounts to Telegram instead of three. They can also pin up to 10 chats in the main list, and put up longer bios with a link and animated profile pictures that can, now, show up throughout the app. A premium special badge will set these users apart “showing that they help support Telegram and are part of the club that receives exclusive features first.”

Send files of up to 4GB size with Telegram Premium

All Telegram users can already upload files of up to 2GB in size and get unlimited storage of these files on the Telegram Cloud for free. But with Telegram Premium subscribers will have access to an increased file size limit of 4GB. All Telegram users will be able to download these bigger files, irrespective of whether they are Telegram Premium subscribers or not.

Faster downloads for Telegram Premium subscribers

Telegram Premium subscribers will have access to the fastest possible download speeds from Telegram servers. “You can access everything in your unlimited cloud storage as fast as your network can keep up,” says a company blog post that announces the new service.

Almost all limits increased on Telegram Premium

Almost all limits placed on standard accounts will be increased for Premium users. For example, Telegram Premium subscribers can follow up to 1,000 channels, create up to 20 chat folders with up to 200 chats each, add a fourth account to any Telegram app, pin 10 chats in the main list and save up to 10 favorite stickers.

Telegram Premium users can also write a longer bio and include a link in it. Also, Premium will allow users to add more characters to media captions. They can also reserve up to 20 public links, which can help make groups and channels stand out with a short and concise link.

Voice-to-text feature

Telegram Premium users will be able to convert voice notes to text in case they would prefer to read instead of listening to a voice note. These transcriptions can be rated by the user so that they can be improved over time.