* Prices may differ from that shown
I have been with the mobile phone company giffgaff for just over 8 months, I chose them after realising that I was never using all my minutes, but was still going over my contract, and as I had recently been given a new smartphone I wanted a better deal for data. I therefore looked around for a better deal and chose giffgaff.
**Why did I choose them?**
Well the best mobile phone plan is something that is really personal to you as it depends on your usage. I was looking for something that offered data, texts and a little bit of talk time, but I'm also awkward in that my brother lives in france and I like to text him without having to take out a mortgage :) I also didn't want to be tied to a contract. As I said I looked at various pay as you go and 1 month contract call plans online before deciding that giffgaff offered the best deal for my needs.
**How to join**
Joining giffgaff is really as easy as ordering a free sim online. This can be done in a variety of ways; you can go to their web site and order one, if you have a friend already using giffgaff you can get them to order you a sim and they will get payback (like a referral bonus), or you can do like I did and go through a cash back site like topcashback and earn money for requesting a sim. Topcashback will also give you cash back for activating the sim.
Giffgaff are a bit different to other mobile phone sim providers in that they are a mixture of pay as you go and call plans. Their basic offer is calls for 10p a minute, texts at 6p and up to 20mb of data a day at 20p a day. Should I need to phone my brother in france it's only 5p a minute (he gets free calls and normally calls me), and 8p a text. I've actually only just realised the strange quirk that it's cheaper to call france then the uk :) This is their basic pay as you go offer and any credit you put on lasts until you've used it. Worthy of noting is when you top up you also get free giffgaff to giffgaff calls and texts for 3 months, Free phone numbers are also free on giffgaff :)
Giffgaff's main offer though is in the form of their goody bags these last 30 days, and is giffgaff's offering to compete with phone contracts. These aren't a contract though and you can choose whether or not to buy one. The current goody bag offering is from £5 to £20 with varying amounts of minutes, texts and internet use included in the bag. These can be bought online using your existing credit or from your card.
My first purchase was a £10 goody bag which at the time offered unlimited texts, 1000gb of internet and I think 250 minutes. I chose it as the call plan I had been on with o2 had been £10.50 and I wasn't sure how much internet I would use. At the end of the month I was surprised to receive an email from giffgaff showing my usage and recommending that I buy a £5 goody bag as I would be about £4 a month better of even taking into account me spending 20p a day on the internet as my usage really isn't that much.
Since then giffgaff have reviewed their goody bag offering and I now get an even better deal as my £5 hokey cokey bag has 60 minutes (plus more if someone rings you), 300 uk texts, and 20mb of data. This is actually more then enough to suit my needs and means my phone bill has gone down to between £5 and £6 a month depending on if I text my brother.
For heavier uses their top plan of £20 for 30 days comes with 1200 minutes, unlimited texts and unlimited internet.
**A phone company that listens**
Giffgaff's byeline is "The mobile network run by you", and since joining I have really felt a difference to other phone companies I've used in the past. The main difference is their community forum, here members can get advice, service updates, or even find out a bit more about giffgaff from people who already use it. This can also be done before joining them. Here you can probably find everything you wanted to know and if not you can ask a question yourself. Once a year giffgaff also ask for opinions on changing their goody bags so that people can have a say about what's important to them (this is how the £5 bag had data added). You can also privately message other members, and from time to time you will get a message about something that is happening from a giffgaff agent.
Finally as I have already touched on giffgaff offers payback, this is money for recruiting new members or for actively taking part in their community and helping new members. This is paid out around once every three months and you can choose whether to add it to your phone, give it to charity or have it as paypal. I don't really do much within the community but still have 20p from the last 3 months which I will get in December, incidentally if you recruit someone you get £5 in payback, I recruited my husband when I first joined :)
Currently they don't sell phones but they are working on selling them in the near future.
I did recently use my phone abroad for texts and calls and this worked well and giffgaff charge 24p a minute to call, 7p a minute to receive and 8p a text, I don't know but I suspect because of EU rules this is fairly comparable with other networks.
**Problems or anything else**
I don't think I've ever really encountered a problem, a look on the forum shows others have but for me and my husband there's not really been one. I will say neither of us bothered to port our phone numbers as I always think I'm going to have to tell people my temporary number anyway so just give them a new one, apart from anything I like the idea of losing people who I don't actually get in touch with. Giffgaff runs on the o2 network so you would need either an o2 phone or a sim free, mine was sim free as was the phone I bought my husband. Probably the biggest thing worth a mention is that your giffgaff account is ran online, and while you can buy and use a top up voucher from a shop I don't think you can then use it to buy a goody bag without either having the giffgaff app or going online, this isn't a problem for me but could be for some. If you are happy with your goody bag you can set it to recur each month so that you don't have to worry about running out, you can also set auto top up which will top up your account automatically if it reaches below £3.
**So what do I think?**
I love giffgaff, they actually do feel to me like a phone company that cares, yes things aren't perfect as a look through the forum shows but for me they've brought down the cost of my mobile phone whilst giving me everything I want as well as great service. I love the fact that each month they email me and my husband to tell us what the best deal is :)
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.
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!
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!
I joined giffgaff a while back, as one of my friends recommended me to it and it seemed to have some of the cheapest deals around. It uses the O2 Network, so the phone lines are relatively fast and you get fast service. Its motto is "the mobile network run by you", which is partly true; you can order your own sim cards, give them to friends and for everyone who tops up at least £10, they get an extra £5 credit, and you also get an additional £5 added to your account simply for referring them. You can withdraw this money inside your giffgaff account after a certain period of time whether by PayPal or other giffgaff merchandise (hoodies, etc.). This is one of the best, highest earning referral schemes I have come across in a long time, so you can earn quite a little bit if you have a lot of friends willing to try giffgaff out.
It costs 8p per minute and 4p per text- cheaper than most mobile networks.
A main attraction to giffgaff is its variety of gift bags; you choose which one you want on the giffgaff website and the amount of that goody bag is deducted from your phone credit. These goody bags have saved me quite a bit of money on my monthly bill so far (each goody bag lasts for a month).
FOR £5 YOU GET:
- Unlimited Texts
- 60 Minutes
- 300 Texts
- An extra minute for every Inbound minute received
FOR £10 YOU GET:
- 250 Minutes
- Unlimited Web
- Unlimited Texts
FOR £15 YOU GET:
- 400 Minutes
- Unlimited Web
- Unlimited Texts
FOR £20 YOU GET:
- 800 Minutes
- Unlimited Web
- Unlimited Texts
FOR £25 YOU GET:
- 1500 Minutes
- Unlimited Web
- Unlimited Texts
FOR AN EXTRA £3 YOU CAN GET BLACKBERRY SERVICES WITH YOUR GOODY BAG (so you can get Blackberry Messenger for only £3 if you have a Blackberry).
I find that these goody bags are very useful, as they are cheaper than normal contracts, and you can start your goody bag month any time you like.
Giffgaff like to send you friendly text and email alerts about choosing your giffgaff goody bag plan for the coming month, and it is always handy when they text you to let you know that your phone time is incorrect.
However, there are some downsides and inconveniences of deciding to use giffgaff as your mobile network. For example, it is a small company and everything is managed online so that you cannot just pop into a store and ask if anything is wrong. You can only buy goody bags logged onto your giffgaff account which may be a hindrance if you cannot access the internet. There was one day when the whole mobile network shut completely down, due to unforeseen circumstances- we were sent apologetic texts after it; but still, it was a whole day without being able to contact anyone via mobile.
Otherwise than that, I have had no real problems with giffgaff and have been pleased with its pricing and goody bags. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a cheap deal for their mobile phone.
Giffgaff are part of the 02 Network and was launched on launched on 25 November 2009. It was founded by Gav Thompson, the head of brand strategy at O2. The Gigggaff offices are based in Slough and employ around 20 people. They have won a couple of industry awards for their brand. The biggest thing about the Giffgaff network that separates it from it's competitors is that it's a little different from other more well known networks in that users of the service may also participate in certain aspects of the company's operation, e.g. sales, customer service and marketing for this they offer a payback system which allows users to receive free minutes and even cash via paypal.
It's really easy to join the network, you can either receive one from a friend or relative who is already on the Giffgaff network or if not all you need to do is request a sim card from the website and when your card has arrived you need to register it online and top up with your debit or credit card or a top up voucher like any other network. I had a slight problem joining though as they were having problems but it was soon rectified and you then have the option whether you want to change your number to bring your old number to the sim. That took ages for me and I ended up being sent a new sim and it was then sorted out and they gave me some free credit as a goodwill gesture. I thought this was particularly good.
I recently moved to Ilminster from Taunton and the signal with my Orange sim card was very bad, so much so that I had to stand at the window to be able to make a call or use the mobile internet. My Dad who also lives in Ilminster mentioned that O2 was pretty good here so as I had a Giffgaff sim Card I decided to register it as I knew it was on the 02 network. The signal is very good and although there are moments of cut outs for a few seconds it is much better than the signal I had. If you live in a strong mobile signal area then the sim card will really come into it's own with the goody bags which I will go into more detail about next.
If you are on a Pay as You Go Sim I'm sure you will be receiving free minutes, texts or internet every month with your top up. Well with the Goodybag's that is basically what you get and more. The Goodybags range from £5 up to £25 and last a month. For example with a £10 goodybag which I have got you get 250 minutes, unlimited texts and unlimited mobile internet plus free giffgaff to giffgaff calls. These are excellent deals and are some of the best pay as you go deals that I have seen around. You can find more minutes individually but you'd struggle to find the Total Package like this. The Goodybags last a month from the day you top up with one. The £25 Goodybag gives an amazing 1,500 minutes which will be enough for pretty much everyone. You can also buy goodybags for ipads, Laptops and PCs for use with mobile broadband dongles etc.
The network has no Customer Service phone number so all queries and problems are dealt with online which can be a bit difficult sometimes. You send a message on the website with your problem and they will reply with a response within a day or two. It can take a while when you are waiting for a message back when if they had a call centre it could usually have been sorted within a few minutes. There is a community page where users can comment and recommend what to do about a problem someone may have with the service. For their help they can receive payback points which they can use for cash via paypal or airtime or charity. Giffgaff has paid out over £700,000 to its customers as part of the payback scheme.
This is the hub of your Giffgaff experience and everything you need to know will be on here. As I mentioned earlier this is where you will need to go to sign up and also if you have any issue with the service or want to change something. I have found the Website to be helpful and since I have properly been up and running I haven't needed to contact them again about anything. You can view all the data plans and goodybags here as well as all the information needed if you just want to use it as a pay as you go sim without a monthly goodybag. If you choose to do that you will be able to view your balance and everything on your profile page.
I was a little sceptical about the network after I experienced some problems when I first signed up but after that period it has been absolutely fine and I am now enjoying a decent signal and a fantastic deal on the Goodybag which I will continue to purchase every month. I would recommend the network for anyone looking for more from their phone credit but don't want to be tied down to a contract as with the goodybags you purchase them when you need to and won't be charged every month whether or not you update. Giffgaff has it's faults but thankfully they are not as serious as they might be and can be sorted out relatively quickly. Just be aware of the possibility of problems with transferring your number as I was left without use for a week or so, looking back it wasn't really necessary that I transferred my number. The good far outweighs the bad though and the Giffgaff network represents great value for their customers.
GiffGaff if you are unaware of the firm, are a new Mobile Telecommunications network offering stunningly cheap deals and a seemingly flawless support system. I currently pay £10 a month for 250 minutes, unlimited texts and unlimited data allowance; this, on paper, seems like a great deal, but its the stuff behind the scenes that will justify the cheap as chips price tag.
The support system is largely based on community support, if you have a problem you post it on the giffgaff blog and the idea is a member solves your problem. This system works great, and all credit to the members who support each other on these forums. However, if you have a problem that requires attention from giffgaff themselves, i.e. a technical problem then they are near enough non-existent. Around 10 days ago my SIM card stopped being recognised by my phone, rendering my phone useless (no service means no texts/calls/internet etc.), I might as well not have had the phone.
Needless to say, I contacted one of giffgaff's 'agents' and was told it was a minor technical issue and to wait a few days. 10 days later, and still nothing has happened, no updates on the situation whatsoever and no information as to what has gone wrong. I am not alone in my troubles either, a quick glance down the giffgaff community blog reveals members without any service for anything between 2 days and a month plus. In one thread alone there are multiple users with no service for up to 12 days and counting: a quick search on the giffgaff community website for 'no service' will reveal these issues.
This is only one thread of hundreds and I am far from alone in the problems.
There are literally hundreds of users with the same issues and after close to 2 weeks since I became aware of the problem there is still no solution or any information from the network for that matter. As of today, I have sent 6 messages to customer support, posted 3 messages on their facebook page, posted two threads on the community blog (and numerous messages) and contacted a senior member of the giffgaff comunity.
All of this to no avail. It begs the question how much longer I am going to be left stranded with no service, its not funny anymore and becoming a major problem.
Just remember, if you find yourself being lured in by their seemingly great deals, if you run into any trouble you will be talking to a wall. The customer support is quite simply, dire.
Please Note: You may find this review also posted on eBay Guides, I am the sole author of this review. I posted it through my eBay account as well to give it more visibility.
Well this is really a different network, no call centre, a community lead support system and some agents if you have an account related issue. Infact this network is so different, you can end up making more cash than you spend, one guy took over 3k last payout which is paid every june and november. So price wise whats it like? Calls to standard uk numbers are set to rise to 10p per minute and texts to 6p per minute, but calls and texts to other giffgaff users are free if you top up a tenner every 3 months. They do packages called goodybags which have a variety of stuff depending on your useage level and cost between a fiver and twenty five pounds that include texts, calls, data or all 3. Giffgaff run on the o2 network which is good if you just have a 2g phone but can be bad if you want 3g. But overall giffgaff is a great cheap network with deals to suit most pockets, and discuss things like price rises with its customers unlike other networks.mmunity lead support system and some agents if you have an account related issue. Infact this network is so different, you can end up making more cash than you spend, one guy took over 3k last payout which is paid every june and november. So price wise whats it like? Calls to standard uk numbers are set to rise to 10p per minute and texts to 6p per minute, but calls and texts to other giffgaff users are free if you top up a tenner every 3 months. They do packages called goodybags which have a variety of stuff depending on your useage level and cost between a fiver and twenty five pounds that include texts, calls, data or all 3. Giffgaff run on the o2 network which is good if you just have a 2g phone but can be bad if you want 3g. But overall giffgaff is a great cheap network with deals to suit most pockets, and discuss things like price rises with its customers unlike other networks.
Giffgaff is a different network to the big ones, it has generous tariffs, competitions with big prizes, Payback and a friendly community. I think it has something for everyone with their low standard rates and generous Goodybags with unlimited internet with no FUP. There's no customer service line which keeps costs low and they have the community to help with problems; the community it made up of other giffgaff members who want to help and get paid for doing so (through Payback). If they can't solve your problem, they have several giffgaff staff, called 'Educators' on the forum who are usually online and ready to help. The only hassle you'll have joining giffgaff is unlocking your phone and transferring your number. There seem to be lots of problems when it comes to transferring numbers, but I didn't transfer mine from Orange so I haven't had any problems with giffgaff before. Overall, giffgaff's a great network for anyone who's stuck on pricey PAYG rates and uses O2's signal, so has pretty good coverage.
When I came to the end of my contract last time I - like many people - look for a better deal next time. My upgrade options with my phone company would be leaving me worse off than if I were to begin a new contract. By chance, I happened to read an article online which directed me to GiffGaff and instantly knew that this was the company for me.
-- About GiffGaff --
GiffGaff is a sim only, pay as you go phone network. They pride themselves on being a lot more simple than the larger networks and let customers have a stronger say in how things are run. They do not have any call centres or expensive stores to take care of, and so they pass the savings on to you, the customer. They manage this by having an online community. If you have any issues, from joining to using to leaving, you can ask in the community and receive some helpful advice from its members and staff. I should point out, that they do employ about 16 people, its not completely run by members. But, there is a lot more consumer involvement than other networks which is enjoyable. You can also make money by posting on their forum which is paid out periodically throughout the year. It may not be huge sums but it is a nice little incentive to keep the community aspect alive.
Ethically, they liked to keep waste to a minimum (for example, when you receive your sim, the welcome letter is origamied into an envelope and only one bit of extra card). They also like to get involved with charities. To me, the lack of waste was the most impressive. Normally when you receive a SIM you get loaded with marketing material about how great the company is which ends up being thrown out.
It should be noted, that the company does not sell phones. They state that they believe that there are already enough handsets out there. Even as someone who likes to keep relatively up to date with phones, I still agree with this completely.
Being pay as you go means that you do need your own phone. Phones these days, especially smartphones, can be expensive which can put people off joining the site. However, even if you buy your own smartphone it can still save you money.
-- Prices --
I think one of the most attractive part of joining GiffGaff is the money you can save. They have a price comparison on their site, but as an idea, here are the prices you can expect to pay:
Calls/ video calls/ texts to other giffgaff users: free
Calls to other mobiles: 8p (per minute)
Mobile internet (up to 20mb/day): 20p
On their own, these prices are great. But, it gets better! They also offer 'goodybags'. These are like bundles where you pay a certain amount and get things such as free minutes, texts and internet. From just £5 you can get unlimited (and thats truly unlimited, there are no caps) texts for a month.
The goodybag I am currently using is £10. For this, I receive 250 minutes, unlimited texts and unlimited mobile internet. Yep, unlimited texts and internet and no, there isn't a sneaky fair usage policy. A great plus to the company, when they say unlimited they mean it!
On comparison to my old deal:
18 month contract at 35/month (free phone, unlimited texts (3000/month) some minutes) - £630 (not including extra charges)
£300 phone + 10/month (over same time frame) - £480
That is a saving of £150 in a year and a half while getting more for my money.
Other goodybags follow the same unlimited texts and internet, with increasing minutes up to £25 which offers 1,500 minutes.
There are prices for everyone, from those that use their phone for a few texts per month or thousands. Though you may not get a phone it is a great deal. So, if you're expecting the newest phone that is minimally improved from your last phone this may not be for you. But if you want to save some money and perhaps go for a cheaper phone, this could be great for you.
I am using the money I am saving to pay for a perfectly decent, second hand phone. Which I am more than happy with.
-- My experience --
Once I found the company, I ordered a SIM from their website on the Sunday evening and it came through the post on Tuesday. I wanted to transfer my number over from o2, so once I had activated my SIM (you have to top up £10 - I got myself a £10 goodybag) I filled out the form to transfer my number the next day. So far, switching over to giffgaff had gone swimmingly. The next day, my old sim became inactive, and within a few hours my number had transfered over (though it can take up to 6pm).
Giffgaff run on the o2 network, so you get the same reception as you would on o2. In my case, this has always been great and was an improvement from when I was on vodafone. This includes a remote town near me, in which you can only get a reception on o2.
I have been on the community, and made an introduction post. I haven't had to ask anyone for any help but I look around just in case I can help someone. I do love the community feel and you can get help from a range of people who may have different ideas. Which is better than someone in a call-centre reading a script, in my opinion. Obviously, this isn't great for those that are not computer savvy which is a bit of a letdown. Not a personal letdown as I manage fine. But I can imagine others possibly having a problem with this.
My experience on giffgaff has been great and there have been no problems. Joining was easy (a case of ordering the sim and activating it online). The community is great and people are really helpful.
-- Joining and Using --
To join, visit their website at: giffgaff.com and order a SIM. Once you receive it, go back to the website to activate it. This is also when you will register to the site which allows you to post to the community. You can top up online or by purchasing top up cards in store (you can also use o2 cards).
You can use the SIM in any unlocked phone or a phone locked to o2. You can get microsims from some members of the community (you can sign up before you activate your sim).
If you want to transfer your number, ask your current provider for a PAC (pronounced 'pack') code. Once you have this: sign in, go to 'My giffgaff' and select transfer my number. They will then take you through the process.
-- Payback --
On top of the above perks, you may be thinking it can't get better, or wondering about the company using its members to help. Well, they do offer those who help members with rewards such as money or phone credit. Which I believe is a great way to reward members. I like the whole concept.
They also run competitions from time to time.
-- It may be for you if... --
You want great value on your phone usage. With great prices and the option of 'goodybags'. Especially for those that use their mobile internet a lot. Also, if you like to consult the internet with your problems and receive help from members rather than dealing with a call centre.
-- It may not be for you if... --
You need a phone with your package and are not prepared to wait or save up for one. Or if you are not great at using the internet.
-- Overall --
I would definitely recommend this network. They may not be for those looking for the latest phone but if you are looking to save a bit of money and get a great deal, they are definitely worth considering. I have had no issues with them and if I did have any problems I can just go to their community and ask and get some helpful responses. I prefer this to phoning up a call centre and dealing with them. The business concept to me just suits me perfectly.
With cheap prices, no issues and a nice ethical outlook... I can't recommend it enough.
I joined giffgaff about 6 months ago. It seemed a good deal (and in fact it is a good deal). Standard payg service that undercuts the rest, plus 'goodybags' offering monthly packages of free calls, texts etc even cheaper. Many goodybags are further discounted, and I find them hugely convenient.
I'm retired and disabled and mainly carry a mobile for safety and security. I average 3 or 4 calls and a couple of texts a day, so overall monthly cost is more important than individual charges. So even when their auto-assessment service told me I would probably be better off on their straight tariff as with goodybags, I stayed with the latter simply because they're convenient, and I don't have to depend on my failing memory to watch my call charges. To date I've averaged about £5 to £6 a month - as much as I care to pay given my limited need.
So - in every respect - giffgaff should be unbeatable.
Unfortunately, life is rarely that simple.
The major problem with giffgaff is that they don't have their own network - they use O2's.
I have to say right away I do NOT like O2 and would never again do direct business with them, after they thoroughly shafted me a few years ago over a yearly contract, in which my (then) mobile phone sat on the hall table for a year rarely able to obtain the signal they'd promised - I had to go out into the garden to make a call and even that didn't always succeed. O2 were offensively unsympathetic and simply threatened to take me to court if I didn't fulfil the contract. Which for me basically meant about 400 quid for a year's worth of dead mobile phone. They even expressed surprise when I declined to renew!
I thought long and hard about giffgaff being on the O2 network -which I'd sworn never to use again. But I gave in to financial temptation - after all, I told myself, my subs weren't going directly to O2. And for a few months I have to admit it paid off. In financial terms I found giffgaff unbeatable.
But lately, the O2 signal has again deteriorated to the point that - in a small southern Scottish town, I have to walk outside my house to use the phone - and sometimes even that doesn't work. As my mobile is important if I have a medical emergency (BT can't be 100% relied on around here), I've been obliged to buy another phone on the Orange network just for the sake of safety.
Another problem is that while giffgaff is undeniably cheap, it's at its cheapest when most people you know are also on giffgaff (in which case calls are usually free). To be fair they provide free simcards to anyone you recommend. But the fact is that most of the people I know prefer to stay - for a variety of reasons - with their established networks, so the savings are often hard to realise.
The last problem - and it's not necessarily a huge one - is that there is no official support. The whole giffgaff concept is open source, so support is via a website forum. Which - to be honest - I've found to be far more help than most mobile providers' support lines. But this - and the fact that giffgaff subs and goodybags are hugely more efficient when done online - mean that giffgaff's benefits are really only practical if you have an internet connection - and even these days, not everyone has that.
The end result is that I thoroughly recommend giffgaff, while admitting I might soon - perforce - have to let them go. I'm no teenager, madly texting every minute of the day. I have medical priorities that demand a reliable mobile phone signal and - in my area at least - giffgaff simply cannot guarantee that while they rely on O2.
I wish giffgaff the best of luck. I think it's an amazing and very promising concept - and a huge change from the mainstream providers whose every move seems to be aimed at screwing over the consumer.