Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

This is not a great idea.

Telegram is one of the most popular chat apps out there, and in its current form, it’s a lot more than just a messaging service. Telegram is a bit of a social network living inside a messaging app, and it keeps adding new, interesting features every so often. It recently added Telegram Premium, which lets users get access to even more stuff, but the one bad part of it is that it’s paid. Well, Telegram wants to give you a pathway to have free Telegram Premium—if you’re willing to make some uncomfortable compromises.

Telegram is rolling out a program in some countries to offer users a free Premium subscriptions. All you need to do is loan your phone number to Telegram. Not in the literal sense, but sort of that. In exchange for a transferable code to use Telegram Premium, Telegram wants to use your phone number as an OTP relay—Telegram will use your phone number to send one-time password (OTP) codes to users who require them. OTP codes are currently sent out by Telegram using OTP service providers, so in theory, just using peoples’ phone numbers will greatly save the company money while also giving them something in exchange.

A win win for everyone, right? Not exactly. Telegram says that it will only send up to 150 text messages per month from your phone, and the complimentary Telegram Premium subscription will be awarded only after you hit a quota of sent text messages each month. Sending these messages, however, may incur charges from your carrier—even if you have a cell phone plan with unlimited SMS texts, Telegram might message some foreign numbers, which would incur charges for some people. Depending on what country you live in or what carrier you have, it might actually be cheaper to just pay for Telegram Premium—it’s about $4.99 per month, after all. All of this is without getting into the potential privacy nightmare you’d be in for if you loan your number out to message strangers, which seems especially bad considering Telegram is often marketed as a more private messaging service.

While you have the option to do this, we definitely don’t recommend it. Also, maybe try Signal.

Source: TechCrunch

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By John P.

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