Telegram and user authentication costs

More about changes in the authorization mechanism and why it’s needed.

Information has been found on the official translation platform that in some countries, Telegram will provide Premium subscribers with the ability to reset their email address to receive one-time authorization codes.

A source close to Telegram commented on this change:

The email address for login is only required for users who log in via SMS in Telegram several times a month. Since operators in Russia have raised prices for SMS for Telegram to 25 cents per SMS and higher (which is about 10 times more expensive than the cost of SMS with a code in Western Europe, and 30 times more expensive than in the USA), sending an infinite number of SMS in Russia, as before, Telegram cannot afford it economically – no revenue from this market will pay for it. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that bot farms are being created to request an infinite number of SMS codes from Telegram (possibly done to increase the revenue of SMS gateways or even telecom operators). Nevertheless, by taking a step towards limiting the SMS codes that one user can request per month,

Telegram minimized the inconvenience to premium users – they do not need to wait to receive a code via SMS when resetting their email, as they have already paid for their SMS codes.

Thus, this measure is a necessary response to the cartel conspiracy of telecom operators in Russia and attempts to abuse SMS codes.

In recent times, Telegram users have regularly noticed changes in the authorization mechanism:

  • In September 2022, Telegram provided the ability to receive an authorization code to an email address. At the same time, users did not have the ability to choose the authentication method: the platform itself decided who to switch to the new method. We wrote about this in detail in February.
  • In January 2023, the official Android client received support for a new method of delivering authorization SMS codes – through Firebase, a service from Google.
  • In February, Telegram banned requesting a phone call or SMS message to users of unofficial applications.
  • In March 2023, Telegram removed the ability to authorize users of old versions of Telegram for Android, which do not support authorization through Firebase.

The number of messenger users has increased over the past year, and, probably against the backdrop of unreasonably high prices for sending SMS messages and calls for authorization, Telegram is trying to optimize costs. This is also indicated by data on the messenger’s expenses for delivering authorization codes: 2 years ago, that is, before the price increase, they amounted to 25% of the cost of issued bonds.