GiffGaff Telecommunications Services
GiffGaff Telecommunications Service Reviews
There are a few ways of using the O2 network, not all of them by signing up for O2 itself. One is to use the Tesco service and another is Giffgaff. I'll be frank and say that I'm not a prime user of any of these, but have always been grateful that O2 does seem to have good coverage when others, like Three, my main network for ... a contract lets me down, usually in rural areas. I've yet to be stranded in the middle of nowhere by my car, but you can bet your life that when it happens, the nearest Three mast will be 'over the hills and far away' purveying unlimited data to those who are within spitting distance of their transmitter.
IT'S THE GLOVE-BOX FOR YOU MY LAD!
Coming out of one contract and into another puts me in the fortunate position of having a spare phone; rather a nice one as it happens, a Samsung Galaxy S2. To press it back into service, my first two ports of call were:
a) Get a SIM from Giffgaff.
b) Put the SIM into your phone to see if it needs unlocking. If it's a Tesco or O2 phone, it won't, but chances are that if it was supplied by any other network, it will. If so...
c) Get the phone unlocked.
Unlocking was a doddle. Find someone on E-bay who provides an over-the-web service. Supply them with your IMEI number and current network, and by return of e-mail, get a new unlock code. You then 'provoke' an error message by putting the 'foreign' (Giffgaff in this case) SIM into the phone and when prompted, use the unlock code. No trudging the High Street on market day for those 'we do unlocking' signs on iffy-looking stalls that won't be there next week.
Inserting a Giffgaff SIM into your smartphone and having it register itself for first use prompts them to send you a new set of internet parameters (APN settings), after which, you're good to go, for voice, text and mobile web.
Incidentally, the SIM I received was the normal 'mini' SIM size, but came with a punch-out section to turn it into a micro SIM.
Now all you need is some call credit!
There are several ways to achieve this, one of which is to use the top-up number now added to your Contacts list. Another, and easier to control way, is to sign-up with the www.giffgaff.com web-site. This gives you access to a very useful list of facilities.
Obviously, you can top-up your phone, either by PAYG, where the credit lasts until you've used it up (assuming at least one chargeable call per 6 months otherwise it expires!), or you can buy 'Goodybags' with a one-month life. There are several of these to suit a wide range of needs, with differing amounts of data, call and text allowances.
However, if you go down the 'Goodybag' route, you need to consider a few things, the most obvious of which is that they expire whether you've used them or not, and they are about as much use as a chocolate teapot if you take one out, and then promptly go off on a four-week foreign holiday. Of course, a canny user will let one expire and take out a straightforward PAYG top-up just before such occasions, getting back into the monthly routine of Goodybags straightaway afterwards. It's a bit like the perennial argument as to whether an annual travel season ticket is actually worth it if you have six weeks holiday per year.
You can even have (and probably should have) both kinds of credit running at the same time. As most mobile users with a contract will know, there are certain things that are still outside of the normal monthly allowance, one evergreen example being the sending of MMS (e.g. text+picture) messages.
With a PAYG credit lurking in the background, this is how you do this with Giffgaff - they don't have any machinery for billing you more than the stated amount at the end of the month simply because you're billed in advance by buying a Goodybag. You do however get a reminder after every 'not included in Goodybag' use as a message pops up to tell you how much PAYG credit you have left. If you find being told this after every use annoying, you can turn it off back at the web-site on your own account page.
Under these 'hybrid' conditions with a Goodybag also running, the PAYG top-up can be expected to last yonks.
To be fair to Giffgaff, after accidentally signing up for a £15 Goodybag from my Nexus tablet, failing to scroll down far enough to spot the ordinary PAYG top-up section, they did advise me as the Goodybag expired that I'd be better off with a PAYG top-up at my current rate of use, i.e. practically nil!
HOORAY, NO OFF-SHORE HELP DESK!
(Subtitled "Boo-hoo, no on-shore one either")
Giffgaff is entirely run over the internet. Since you're expected to bring your own phone to the party, there's no need for a High Street presence either. However, given some people's experiences dealing with "Mike and Maria" in Mumbai, this may be a blessed relief. I've looked their site over and it seems pretty easy to get such things as a PUK code (if you've locked yourself out from your phone), and even obtain a PAC code for moving to another network whilst retaining your number. The lack of someone trying to talk you out of leaving could be a massive blessing. This of course presupposes that you have web-access at the same time as having a problem. You may want to consider that before you throw all your eggs into Giffgaff's basket.
The charges for a PAYG-only set-up or for going over your Goodybag allowance are as follows:-
Calls, texts, call forwarding and video calls to giffgaff Free
Calls to other UK mobiles, landlines (starting 01, 02, 03) 10p per minute
Texts to other UK mobiles and landlines 6p per text
Voice mail 8p per call
Mobile Internet (up to 20MB) 20p per day
Picture messages (MMS) to giffgaff and other mobiles (max 300KB) 16p per MMS
Video calls to other mobiles 50p per minute
Call forwarding to other mobiles and landlines 10p per minute
Free phone numbers (starting 0800, 0808 & 0500) Free
It's nice to see that Freefone Numbers really are free.
Beware - whilst 20p for 20mbytes of data per day sounds promising, going over the 20mbytes is going to set you back a further 20p for every extra mbyte that day!
Goodybags are defined by monthly price, set at £10, £12, £15 and £20. They all have unlimited texts and calls to other Giffgaff numbers, and vary to suit your needs. For instance the £10 jobby gives you 500 minutes but only 1gbyte of data, whereas the £12 tariff gets you less minutes (250) but unlimited data.
Once you shell out £20/month, you'll be getting a robust 1200 minutes of talk time with everything else unlimited!
If you can't bear the thought of running out, you can have your Goodybag renewed automatically, charged to a card of your choice. Personally,as I said before, I'd keep an eye on any upcoming holidays abroad and let them lapse until I got back but that would mean a bit more 'micro-management' on your part.
There's a viral feel to being a Giffgaff sign-up. Often you'll have been referred there by an existing customer. There's no need to be too impressed by your friend's altruism. They're getting £5 per sign-up assuming your new SIM is topped-up. Kikewise, you will too if you are successful at getting a friend sigend up. This along with other ways of earning points is added to your PAYG credit every month or so. Somehow I've already earned 20p-worth of 'kudos' for having been thanked on the community forum, which incidentally is a very good place to start. Giffgaff have their own moderators and experts patrolling the forum, there to help out newbies.
IS IT FOR YOU?
If you want what is tantamount to a contract that you can turn on and off at monthly intervals, then Giffgaff could be right up your street. Their basic PAYG prices are none too shabby either. All you'll miss is the biennial phone upgrade and talking to someone 6,000 miles away.
It does after all carry the weight of the O2 network behind it, so coverage is as good as any although some system outages have been reported by long-term users.
If you're wary of letting your mobile web costs mount out of control, there's a bit of self-help you could deploy. If you have a smart-phone, turn off the access. If it's anything like mine, it's still useable as soon as you come in reach of a 'friendly' wi-fi zone anyway. Likewise, don't use Google Maps for sat-nav purposes. A lot of people don't realise that it downloads more map (i.e. kerching - up go your data charges) as you move along. Better to get a dedicated sat-nav app that downloads all of its maps via wi-fi before you set off.
My Giffgaff phone is probably going to sit back in my car's glove-box only coming out for emergencies and once every 6 months to keep the credit alive. Despite that, I rate it pretty highly. Of course, I'll probably be blissfully unaware of those system crashes.
Read the complete review
Back a couple of months ago, I was looking for a new network as Vodafone was being a bit useless because of the location of my college being in the middle of nowhere and I could never receive any texts or calls resulting in a massive barrage of texts and calls coming in the second I set into signal. Also I found the Freedom Pack a bit ... expensive for what you get.
So I was going to go onto o2 due to the fact that I could get signal anywhere in the college and at home and work at all times. But being me, I did some research before committing to anything, and during this, I found out about Giffgaff.
===What is Giffgaff?===
Giffgaff is a Mobile Phone Network in the UK just like o2, Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile and 3 are, they provide you with a mobile service.
Giffgaff was created by Gav Thompson who was a Senior Member at o2, and decided to go and create Giffgaff one day (True Story). Giffgaff is owned by o2 in great percentage as they provide them with the infrastructure to operate by using their Mobile Network. Giffgaff actually have only 16 members of staff.
Giffgaff are what is known as an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) compared to an MNO, basically they can't function by themselves as they don't have their own equipment to run a Mobile Network, hence have to use o2 as 'transmitter'. This is why on iPhones and some other phones the Giffgaff SIM shows up as o2 as they are connected to o2. Basically you get signal wherever o2 gives you signal and o2 is the best in the UK for coverage, can't go wrong.
===How to get Giffgaff===
This is the biggest issue for many people, as a very big majority of people are locked to a network on their mobile phones. I was lucky to have an unlocked Blackberry when I got it, so I just slip it in and it works.
But if you are locked to o2 on your phone, the SIM will work just as good. Any other network locked phones will reject it.
A mentioned above, Giffgaff is pretty much o2 when it comes to signal and coverage, and their website redirected users to the o2 coverage website.
O2 is known to be the best in the UK for coverage, and personally it is the only company which covers my college which is in a remote area and also give me good signal at work which was a dead zone when I was with Vodafone and Orange (no idea why).
Basically the coverage is amazing and I have signal about 98% of the time I am out and about around the country.
===Contract and Pay As You Go===
Giffgaff doesn't offer the user a contract plan and you can see why below and probably because they don't have the facilities to offer a contract plan. This basically means that you can get a contract phone from Giffgaff or pay monthly for your calls. Personally I've been avoiding binding contracts all my life and I've done well so far as I've got an iPhone off contract and thanks to Giffgaff have a better deal than the majority of my mates.
===Prices and Goodybags===
Apart from the whole coverage thing, the main thing which attracted me to Giffgaff like a maggot to a sweet rotting apple was the ridiculous prices for calls and texts. They are literally the cheapest in the UK. Have a look yourselves.
ormal Rates -
Calls to Mobiles and Landlines - 8p Per Minute (Compared to 20p on other networks)
Texts - 4p (Compared to 10p on other networks)
Text and Calls to Giffgaff -FREE!
Goodybags (Packages bought in advance to offer better deals on calls/texts) -
This is the current prices and packages in January 2011.
These last a month and can be updated at any time for have more.
£5 Goodybag = Unlimited Texts
£10 Goodybag = 250 Minutes & Unlimited Texts & Unlimited Web
£15 Goodybag = 300 Minutes & Unlimited Texts & Unlimited Web
£20 Goodybag = 600 Minutes & Unlimited Texts & Unlimited Web
£25 Goodybag = 1500 Minutes & Unlimited Texts & Unlimited Web
Honestly when I saw these I thought there had to be a catch, even contracts don't offer rates this amazing, you have to pay around £30 a month for the £10 Goodybag on a normal contract (with a phone)! Unlimited web is actually unlimited, unlike the other networks who have a fair use policy attached stating unlimited really means 100mb a month or so.
Oh and 0800 number, the ones that pretty much all mobile networks charge for.....free on Giffgaff!
If this amazes you, keep reading it only gets better!
Giffgaff Labs is something slightly different to the Goodybags, this is where Giffgaff try out something new which other networks don't do.
For instance their newest experiment is called "Hokey Pokey", basically for £5 a month; you get 60 minutes and 300 texts, however, every time YOU get called, the duration you stay on the phone for, you get back in your minutes.
So you had 60 minutes, you mum calls to talk about pizza and your dads nose hair, which is a typical 20 minute one sided conversation, you come of the phone, and you have 80 minutes at no cost to you.
Giffgaff update their labs pack every few months to give us something new and interesting and I look forward to seeing what craziness comes next time.
To keep costs down as much as possible, Giffgaff is heavily based on their website (Giffgaff.com), you NEED to go on it to get full use of Giffgaff, as you can't buy Goodybags by calling them up as they don't have a number and topping up is easiest via the website rather than tracking down a voucher which only a few shops sell in the UK.
Basically, you need to be able to have regular access to a computer (at least once a month) and a bank account to top up your Giffgaff SIM.
But personally I don't mind it at all as I am on the computer every other night and I like to go on Giffgaff and sometimes help out in the community which gives you points (check Rewards section of review below).
I guess this can be a downside for some people who may not want to place in their bank details into a website (although security is good), and being able to call someone and speak to an actual person can be a big benefit, but as I have found, problems can be solved via email communication as easily.
===Warning - Don't get Giffgaff SIMs of eBay===
I thought I'd be clever and got myself a decent offer of £10 for a Giffgaff SIM wit £15 on it in credit. Unfortunately found out later on that it was a fraudulent SIM, had to go through a lot of hassle in order to get my number working again. Saving that £5 was NOT worth it. Go direct to Giffgaff and order the SIM, they are FREE.
One of the coolest things about Giffgaff is that they give and give to their customers, not only offering the cheapest tariff and packs of any network in the country, but they also reward their customers for mediocre things like helping other people and referring them to the network.
SIM Card Referral - This is how I guess they get the majority of their customers as a high majority of people won't have heard of Giffgaff as they don't have expensive ads and only advertise online , so to get the word out, they need people who are using their service, and I reckon about 99% of us are happy. You can ask Giffgaff to send you about 4 SIMs and you can give these to your mates or family and once they've topped up, they get an additional free £5 and you get points (500 points), and they are worth £5 and you can get this into your PayPal or use it as credit.
Community Participation - This one I stumbled across by accident. Giffgaff is very community based online, before going to Giffgaff about your troubles its recommend you go to the Forum and they will try to help you out, and do a good majority of the time. For being part of the community and helping, you get points and these again are used for cash or credit. I like to hang around forums when I am bored, and this is just an added bonus!
Crazy offers - Since I've been a member, Giffgaff have had loads of offers on to get people promoting their network by offering £20 of credit free per referral! As well as many others, so it's always good to check out their website to see if you can get some free credit or bonus somehow.
This was my main worry when joining Giffgaff as I like many people like to talk to someone in person when things start going wrong. Joining Giffgaff things went pretty smoothly, transferring my number was easy and I got up and running on Giffgaff within 2 days (because of number transfer, so I kept my original number).
But just around Christmas I got into some hassle. My phone won't allow me to send texts or call, in fact use any service. I went on the forums and they told me to go and talk to an Agent (which is the Giffgaff employee support person) and I emailed them. I got a reply and they took me through some standard troubleshooting, basically for 2 weeks I was unable to call people as the Agents were 'looking into it' which got me a little mad. But I found out it was my fault and the SIM I enquired (as mentioned above) was fraudulent, I tried to get them to move my number to a new account or give me my PUK code to move to another network (as I had enough by this time).
Instead, I was told that they'll restore my account and credit as it was, even though it was fraudulent. I was amazed that they'd do this, as I doubt any other network would just wave it off.
Moral of the story is, even though it may take you a couple of days/weeks to get something sorted via Agent support, they'll eventually sort you out.
===Future for Giffgaff===
Honestly, I see Giffgaff as a little secret network that a few Internet 'geeks' discover by accident and use, but no one else seems to want to move from their networks as they don't want to lose their number (although you can easily move it) or are worried about something new like this, or their phone is locked to a non-o2 network, and getting a new one or getting it unlocked they don't want to do.
Basically there are many factors stopping Giffgaff from growing to the ultimate power!
I am happy to say that I managed to convert 1 person to the church of Giffgaff and they don't regret it at all. Hopefully the network will grow and will provide us users with more awesome offers and deals!
Read the complete review
I joined GiffGaff a few months ago after being a loyal O2 PAYG user. The first thing that struck me was the incredibly competitive price structure, at 10p/min calls and 4p texts. Alongside the great value goodybags (which I will discuss in a bit) and great marketing campaign, I wondered what, if anything could go wrong! Once ... I'd gotten comfortable with the network, I realised that the network coverage was not skimped on at all either. Giffgaff use O2's network, which as a former O2 customer I have never had any complaints with.
So on to the deals or 'goodybags'. For £10 you get all you can eat data, unlimited texts and 250 UK minutes and free giffgaff-giffgaff calls. The only downside to this is that unlike O2's rewards, you do not get to keep your credit however against the most comparable tariff, O2 Simplicity, giffgaff walks all over the much larger company. You also have the option to increase calls up to 1500 minutes for up to £25/month.
Giffgaff also allow you to earn 'points', just like DooYoo! For referring friends, creating adverts and spreading the word you can earn Giffgaff points where 100=£1 credit. Everyone loves a freebie!
Overall, Giffgaff is a crowdsourced network, unfortunately they do not have a customer service centre but for all but the most extreme of problems the user forums are suitable enough!
In my opinion, Giffgaff is the way all mobile PAYG tariffs should look towards. Much cheaper than the big guns, and you aren't skimping on any coverage or service!
Read the complete review
GiffGaff Telecommunications Service
Company: GiffGaff / Telecommunications Service / Type: Mobile telephone network
|GiffGaff Telecommunications Service Recommendations 1|
|dooyoo Results 1 - 1 of 1|