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Telegram, a cloud based messaging application, has added an encrypted one-on-one video call option for its Android and Apple's iOS users.

This Russsian made application boasts of its 400 million users and is in the top ten of the most downloaded applications around the world.

In Africa, Telegram is the third most popular messaging application after WhatsApp and its sister messaging application, Facebook Messenger, according to Hootsuite and We are social’s Digital 2019 report.

Telegram messaging application is the most popular in Ethiopia where there are State backed internet restrictions. The advent of the global pandemic, forcing people into lockdowns around the world, has seen a surge in the number of people who are using video calls to communicate with friends and families.

Now people can make use of this secure application for face to face communication, an alternative to other applications such as Zoom, Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp. “2020 highlighted the need for face-to-face communication, and our alpha version of video calls is now available on both Android and iOS,” Telegram announced in a blog post on Friday.

“You can start a video call from your contact's profile page, and switch video on or off at any time during voice calls. Like all other video content on Telegram, video calls support picture-in-picture mode, allowing you to scroll through chats and multitask while maintaining eye contact.”

Telegram said all video calls are protected with end-to-end encryption, a security system that prevents third parties from accessing messages between the sender and the receiver. 

“To confirm your connection, compare the four emoji shown on-screen for you and your chat partner–if they match, your call is 100 percent secured by time-tested encryption also used in Telegram's secret chats and voice calls,” reads part of the blog.

This messenger application, which was founded in 2013 by Russian entrepreneur Pavel Durov, will have group video calls option in the next few months. Telegram is super-fast and being a cloud based messaging application users can use it on several devices at the same time and the messages sync seamlessly across any number of phones, tablets or computers.

Durov’s messaging application allows group chats that can accommodate up to 200 000 people which is useful for small to medium enterprises in Africa that might want to collect feedback or to interact with their customers or potential customers. WhatsApp chat groups can only accommodate less than 300 people.

In Ethiopia, Telegram is popular because internet bundle consumption is cheaper and Telegram is also considered to offer secure connections in a country where the State monitors citizens’ activities on the internet. Other than that it has end to end encryption, there is also a self destruct timer tool that can remove messages without trace.

In the east African nation, Telegram has over the years proved to be a marketing tool for entrepreneurs as its ability to share large files of up to 2 Gigabytes enable locals to advertise and promote their products.

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