From 10th to 1st: How Telegram became the most downloaded app in the world, thanks to India

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Four months is a long time especially in the world of technology where trends change in a jiffy. Instant messaging apps aren’t a new trend and which is why Telegram’s leap to become the most-downloaded app in the world is quite a story. Not that Telegram was an unknown app but thanks to WhatsApp — and the role India played — the app is numero uno. A new report by Sensor Tower reveals that Telegram overtook TikTok to become the most downloaded app in the world in January.
Downloads from India gave Telegram a big push
In January Telegram saw 63 million installs which made it the most downloaded app in the world. “The countries with the largest number of Telegram installs were India at 24 per cent, followed by Indonesia at 10 per cent,” stated the report by Sensor Tower. Close to 15 million downloads were from India alone, which is a big chunk. Telegram used to be on the periphery of messaging apps with most people relying on WhatsApp as their preferred mode of communication.

Looking at the numbers for the last three months and Telegram was always in the top 10 downloaded apps. In December 2020 and November 2020, it was the ninth most downloaded app in the world. Curiously in November, it was WhatsApp that was the downloaded app with 58 million installs. Here again, 24% of the downloads for WhatsApp had come from India. Both in October and September 2020, Telegram was the 10th most downloaded app in the world. WhatsApp, incidentally, is the fifth most downloaded app in the world in January.
The role WhatsApp played in Telegram’s rise
All was hunky-dory in the fiefdom of WhatsApp till the Facebook-owned app decided to update its privacy policy. Sometime in January WhatsApp issued an ultimatum to users that they will have to accept its updated privacy policy or on February 8, their accounts would be deleted. More than the ultimatum it was the contents of the privacy policy that made users uncomfortable. WhatsApp had stated that it will share a lot of data with Facebook and some third-party developers as well.
This clearly didn’t go down too well with people jumping ship to Telegram as well as Signal. WhatsApp put on a charm offensive trying to explain that the user data would remain as secure as ever. Moreover, WhatsApp postponed the date for accepting privacy policy by three months. However, it looks like some damage has already been done with Telegram’s numbers swelling up considerably.

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