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How to develop an app like Telegram in Singapore?

Messaging apps have been around for years now and today it is impossible to imagine our lives without one, so much is the dependency on these messaging apps for everyday affairs. The craze for messaging apps first begun in a full-fledged manner with Whatsapp, the technology which had the entire world by storm and there was no stopping to its popularity. So much so, that the one of biggest social media platform Facebook chose to acquire Whatsapp paying a hefty sum of money. In fact, this acquisition was one of the biggest deals of 2014, and it is said to have made Facebook all the more prominent among the people. This big deal suddenly said to have brought Telegram application back in demand – earlier it was operating as one sidelined app.

A number of users who were unsure of using Facebook, in terms of how it will use their data, made the switch to Telegram – after all, it offered end-to-end encryption of messages. In no time, sans any single marketing effort, Telegram’s download rate went on by 1.8 million users.

Ever since Telegram continues to enjoy being a top player in the messaging game and today many businesses are looking to build a chat app like Telegram, even in Singapore. Ever since its flagship incorporation of Chatbots, Telegram’s popularity is soaring, and then also there is encryption architecture that makes the app impossible to be hacked.

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The founder of Telegram, Pavel Durov declared the year 2019 as the most significant in the history of the firm and he plans to expand further with newer features. In March 2018, the firm crossed 200 million monthly active users, whereas Telegram’s active competitor, Line has 165 million monthly active users in four key countries, not to forget WhatsApp with 1.5 billion. However, developers continue to choose Telegram as a role model.

Now in order to create an app like Telegram in Singapore, there are a number of factors to be taken care of, which will be discussing here in this article in detail, so let’s explore:

How to create a chat application like Telegram?

As it comes to the development of the Telegram-like app, you would need to rewrite the whole coding or can create it with the help of online tools, libraries, APIs & protocols. Also, you need to decide whether you are keen to create your own app, or outsource it to an app development agency. There are a number of Messaging app development firms in Singapore, whose services can be utilized for app creation. Meanwhile, the key factors that app development will consist of are:

• Back-end
• Timeline
• Design
• Features
• Support
• Security
• Cost

Also, you need to decide on the platform for which you look to create an app, whether it will be iOS, Android, or Windows.

An app’s basic functionality mainly depends on infrastructure in the form of databases, storage servers, RestFul API, messaging protocols, like notification services, XMPP, etc.

Key features of Telegram-like app:

To begin with, let’s find out about the key features that need to be integrated into an app like Telegram.
Now the features can be divided into two categories:

• User-Panel
• Admin-Side

Features of the Admin Panel:

• Login
• Manage Profile
• Manage Users
• Reporting & Analytics
• User Privileges
• Push Notifications

Features of User-Panel:

User-Side Features of Telegram Application

• Signup
• Verification Process
• Messages
• Groups
• Channels
• In-app filter for pictures
• Self-destruction
• Support all media
• Support multiple file types
• Turn-off notification
• Activated Notification
• Cloud Storage
• Syncing with Contacts
• Export Data
• Plenty of Stickers & Email
• Block Users
• Smart Search
• Manage Privacy
• Multi-language
• Calls
• Themes
• Multiple Profile Pictures
• Sharing Live Location


Additional Features of Telegram-like App:

Messaging: To use this functionality, internet connectivity is required. However, the texts will be delivered/received by the other users as soon as they are back online. Additionally, the texts can even have statuses like seen, delivered, edited, failed. Also, a feature can be added, which allows a person sending a text to keep track of his message. So, in case you’re keen to make your app unique then you can provide your users with both types of chatting options: Public & Private. In public chats, a user can become an admin and create a group of friends to converse with and share files, pictures & videos. Within groups, subgroups can also be created to chat with specific persons.

Voice Messaging: One another exciting feature to be integrated into your app is Voice messaging. This functionality allows the users to send messages via voice media, so the friends can exchange the messages within them without the need to type anything.

Video & Voice Call: It is voice and video calls that make these apps much more interactive, and they give users an option to interact with their friends without spending any extra penny on calls. Some of the important video & voice options that your app can offer are:

  •  Voice Calls: Voice Calling enable the users to stay connected with their friends for free, even when living in another continent. Here, the users can speak to each other, but can’t see each other’s faces.
  • Video Calling: In kind of calling consists of Visual communication. In case of a video call, it requires a speedy internet connection & Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), and this consists of a video of the user making the call.
  •  Group Calls: Here the users can hold both audio & video group conversations.

Media file transmission: Apart from texts & emojis, people also like sharing several other types of media consisting of photos, stickers, & GIFs. These can be shared with the other users in real-time. Meanwhile, stickers are even a source for monetization for the messaging apps.

Delete Message: At times we end up sending accidental texts. To ensure that the other person doesn’t read that text, the ‘text deleting’ option can be integrated to undo some texts.

Security: Security is the main concern of this kind of apps, hence while developing the app this is one aspect that you must ensure. It is advised to invest in protecting texts and data encryption.

Search: Using this functionality, the users can search for texts & important files within the messenger.

Alerts: The app can timely alert to the users whenever there is a new text in the group or the app. Here, everything takes place in real-time.

Push Notifications: This is a functionality that can be integrated into the app during the time of MVP development. This technology is useful to keep the users connected to the app by letting them know each time a text appears.

Group Calls: Group calls functionality enables the members to hold a group call conversation without exiting the app.

Payment Integration: To ensure easy and hassle-free payment, payment functionality features, such as QR-Scan code, Online Direct Payment & Native In-app payment technology can be integrated.

Contact Integration: Here the user can import their contacts from the address book to the Telegram app.

Make own GIF: This functionality enables the users to create their own GIF and then share it with the other users.

Lock Chat: This feature allows one app user to secure his conversations with the other app users. The user requires to provide a password each time he logs-in from a new device.

Two-step verification: This feature is quite useful to make a particular account secure with two-step verification. Here, it is necessary to provide the password each time a person logs-in.

Video Streaming: This functionality enables the users to stream videos as per their liking, as there is no requirement to download the videos just to view them.

Multiple Groups Creation: There are two types of groups that can be created on the Telegram app:

  •  Normal Groups: These are the groups where the user can add people from their contact list. These groups can have 200 bots & members.
  •  Super Groups: In Telegram, each of the group chat can be promoted to a super-group by the creator of the group. In the case of Super-groups, they enable the users to pin an important message. At the same time, here they’ve more advanced moderation tools. The admins of Super-groups are able to ban & report the spammers as well as delete all the messages from a specific user. The app users can also establish ordinary groups comprising of up to 200,000 members, which is twice the number that was previously allowed by the messenger.

This feature blurs the line between Telegram’s ordinary groups & super-groups. Additionally, Telegram even updated group management options, where the group admins will be able to limit other members from posting a particular type of content. Besides, a group admin can even change a group to a one-way broadcast channel. Also, the admins can authorize some other group members to be a group admin.

Also Read: How to create a chat app like Snapchat and how much does it cost?

File Type & Size: Here, the maximum data size to be easily transferred within the app is 1.5 Gigabytes. This app doesn’t stop its users from sending a specific type of file. And this way this platform is a go-to messaging platform for people who use rare file types.

Multiple Accounts: Telegram app enables the users to log-in from the multiple accounts and they can use the app from different numbers. This way its usage is not restricted to one specific number like it is the case with WhatsApp.

End-to-End Encryptions: As mentioned above as well, Telegram is one of the first messaging apps to have started the use of end-to-end encryption to safeguard information shared on this platform.

Multi-Platform Availability: The app is not just active on iOS & Android, but even on the Web. So, in order to get one developed, you can get in touch with an iPhone app development company or an android app development firm.

Cloud Storage: This feature is quite useful for the ones who usually switch between a smartphone, tablet, and desktop. With Telegram being cloud-based, it allows users to sync their messaging data across all the devices, and they can begin typing a message on one device & continue on another. Where cloud service gives limited storage space, Telegram enables storing unlimited files online and they can get them as and when needed. Users can even create a Telegram bot that will store the files sent to it. These bots keep the files private so that no one can see other users’ files.

Chatbots: Telegram is the first messaging platform to launch their own platform. Though now the technology has been integrated by others as well, the Bot platform on Telegram is most up-to-date till date. Chatbots on Telegram can perform a number of tasks, from reporting the latest news to managing the finances.

Instant View: This feature enables the users to post links to news that instantly opens within Telegram. Within this feature, the users are able to read the articles and blogs from media sources. This technology has been updated by the Telegram team for the faster web page browsing and now Instant View 2.0 offers support for the right-to-left languages, new page formatting, and links to images elements. Resultantly, the sites having complex designs are displayed correctly.

Channels: Some top 100 Telegram channels have around tens of thousands of post views. Telegram Channels support a number of convenient publishing features, comprising of posts to links, and these enable the users to share a message with the non-users, there are silent messages sent without any notifications – in case it is late at night, and there are admin signatures, allowing the users to identify post owner.

Sponsorship: Here the app owners can get in touch with the advertisers to give away rewards to users upon completing some of the in-app actions. This way advertisers are creating a great opportunity to keep the users connected to the app by giving them rewards, as here the users are earning rewards by using the app more often. Here the app earns money by taking a share in the revenue earned. For instance, branded stickers can be used by companies to promote stuff, like upcoming movies or new shows. The reason why this strategy works wonder is that its main purpose correlates with the app’s motive.

Next, let’s find out how the Telegram app makes money and what is it’s business model?

Business Model of Telegram app:

The revenue model is certainly the core structure of any business and this holds an equal prominence both in online as well as mobile space. Every business needs an inflow of funds in order to flourish. However, Telegram, on the contrary, didn’t have any single source of revenue planned and thus revenue model never ever even existed in their books. The founder of Telegram, Pavel Durov didn’t start Telegram with the motive to earn money. Instead, the aim here was to offer a safe and encrypted platform where people can freely interact. Thus, the brand never had funding come in from only source or any other means of revenue generation. Even today Telegram functions on the money received by Pavel upon selling his social media platform.

Also Read: Top 10 Mobile App Development Companies in Singapore

However, as any business rule goes, a business can’t grow forever until there is a balance between expense and revenue. So, the first step towards monetization was taken by Telegram around three years back, when its team created & released paid stickers on iMessage and the money that’s earned via this medium is used to pay the developers & designers. Even though the money that is earned via this Telegram revenue model is not sufficient, still the brand assures that it may introduce some non-essential options, but will never use the advertising option to make money as profit is still not their end goal.

Now, the Telegram founder has financial support, but you don’t. Hence, you would require to ensure multiple ways to make money through your Telegram-like app. So, let’s explore what are your options.

How to earn money with an App like Telegram?

There are four tried-and-tested ways that are part of the chat app monetization model, integrating which the messaging apps can earn revenues. These ways are:

Gaming: Just as in-app money transfer, this mode also allows require you to expand your business further. Here, your users get the ability to play games within the app by paying a sum, which is either to play the game or to jump to the next level.

In-app Money Transfer: Now this mode would need you to expand your messaging app business, however you can go ahead and create a structure for your app users where they can transfer money to the other users from within the app. Thus, not only you will receive a portion of the transaction fee, but your users will also not leave your app to perform this task.

In-app Purchases: Here the elements can be added in your apps, such as GIFs or Stickers. As the users make purchases for GIFs and stickers, you can earn money.

Advertising: Here you can partner with the brands to display their ads on your messaging app. This is a sure-shot means to earn money. So, each time a user clicks on the ads, you will get money in return from the brand.

How much it costs to create a Telegram-like app?

Now the factors affecting app development cost of the Telegram app are the same as with any other app, but still, the cost of making the Telegram app is way higher than the development cost of other messaging apps as WhatsApp & Facebook Messenger. The reason why the development cost of Telegram is much greater is because of the backend technologies used here. These technologies work to make the data secure & unhackable. Also, this app has millions of users who are active on this platform in real-time, performing multiple actions, such as messaging, making in-app payments, shopping, making calls, etc. Due to all of these factors, the development cost was a lot higher for Telegram as compared to other apps in this category.

Also Read: Why your Small Business needs a Mobile App to be Successful?

Meanwhile, in case you are keen on developing an app like Telegram, then here we have discussed the actual mobile app development cost that is measured in dollars/hour. The average cost will differ as per markets in USA, UK, Western Europe, Eastern Europe & India, they are:

• United Kingdom: $60-150/hour
• North America: $60-250/hour
• Eastern Europe: $20-$100/hour
• India: $10-$80/hour

Calculating the above costs, the final development cost will be somewhere around $20000-$25000 for one specific platform, whether iOS or Android if you choose Indian developers. To develop the app for both the platforms and with additional features, then the cost will be $50000.

Arun Goyal

Managing Director @ Octal Info Solution, Arun Goyal is a tech-enthusiast and visionary entrepreneur. He loves to talk about technology, and expresses his views about the trends in tech-world through this blog.