Product Type: GiffGaff in Telecommunications Services
Newest Review: ... 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 che... more
Giffgaff - Honestly, Best Mobile Network in the UK!
Member Name: Shellshocker
Advantages: Very Cheap Calls, Texts and Unlimited Web for £10, Great Cover, Amazing Bonuses for Referals
Disadvantages: Based online for support
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!
Summary: Cheap and Good, Can't go wrong