Home Telegram will offer free Premium subscriptions – but there’s a catch

Telegram will offer free Premium subscriptions – but there’s a catch


  • Telegram offers free premium subscription via P2PL.
  • Users share phone numbers to send OTPs, raising security concerns.
  • Risk of exposing personal info outweighs subscription benefits.

A new method to earn a free premium subscription to Telegram has been discovered, but it comes with the risk of providing your phone number to issue one-time passwords (OTP) to other users of the messaging service.

If you are surprised at what you have just read then you’re not alone.
Telegram is known for its increased level of security and encryption so it is a significant move to open up users to unwanted contacts, and something of a departure from a company that boasts of its “revolutionary privacy policy.”
A user on X, formerly known as Twitter, unearthed details of the new offering on the English-language version of a popular Russian Telegram info channel. When you dig a little bit deeper, the detail of concern is hidden in plain sight.
Within the terms of service of the new peer-to-peer login (P2PL) functionality, if you opt in you must agree to let Telegram utilize your phone number to send up to 150 texts with OTPs to fellow users to log into their accounts.
As long as your number is used to send a minimum number of OTPs each month, you will earn  gift code for a one-month premium subscription to Telegram.
At present, P2PL is only available on Android and restricted to certain (unspecified) locations.

What is the risk from the OTP service on Telegram?

In plain terms, your phone number will be visible to any other user, each time it is used to send a OTP.
The concerning aspect is Telegram has effectively washed their hands of any responsibility if there is any unwanted or dangerous actions initiated in the process. Telegram’s terms are as follows:
Accordingly, you understand and agree that Telegram will not be liable for any inconvenience, harassment or harm resulting from unwanted, unauthorized or illegal actions undertaken by users who became aware of your phone number through P2PL.
The messaging service states participants of the P2PL program should not text the recipients of OTPs, even if they texted first, but there’s no realistic way for Telegram to enforce any kind of security on this.
All things considered, is it worthwhile to get involved for the sake of saving $5 on the price of premium access to Telegram? The risk appears to significantly exceed the reward.
Image credit: Telegram

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The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Graeme Hanna
Tech Journalist

Graeme Hanna is a full-time, freelance writer with significant experience in online news as well as content writing. Since January 2021, he has contributed as a football and news writer for several mainstream UK titles including The Glasgow Times, Rangers Review, Manchester Evening News, MyLondon, Give Me Sport, and the Belfast News Letter. Graeme has worked across several briefs including news and feature writing in addition to other significant work experience in professional services. Now a contributing news writer at ReadWrite.com, he is involved with pitching relevant content for publication as well as writing engaging tech news stories.

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