giffgaff was founded in 2009 as a largely alternative network. They operate under O2 as a virtual mobile service provider, meaning that they use O2’s network rather than their own independent one. This means that, right from their inception, they’ve had superb 3G and 4G coverage across the UK. giffgaff was created to serve the community, operating under the idea that the customer is the boss rather than company executives. All of their pricing schemes are based on suggestions given via their community forums and all big decisions are too ran through the customer community first.
This “customer first” way of thinking has won giffgaff several rewards, such as being named the best MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) in the Mobile Industry Awards, June 2012. Again in 2014, they won the Which? best telecom services provider award. They’ve also won the uSwitch best pay as you go network in 2013, the Forrester groundswell award in 2010, the lithium social CRM excellence award and several more. As well as major company decisions being ran through the community, services such as product reviews are all performed by users. giffgaff sell mobiles on their website, available either as one upfront cost or monthly instalments (along with a goodybag) across a 6 to 24 month period. These handsets are sent non network locked, meaning that you don’t have to stay on giffgaff once the contract is up; another example of putting the customer first.
giffgaff do not offer contracts, instead they operate entirely on a pay as you go basis, with monthly “Goodybag” package offers, ranging from £5 per month for 300 UK texts, 20MB of 3G data to £18 per month for 1000 UK minutes, unlimited UK texts and 5GB of 4G data. All giffgaff users are able to text and call others on the network free of charge, provided they have more than £2 credit or an active goodybag. Alternatively you can purchase a “gigabag” for use in tablets, iPads or internet dongles that allow you to pay £5 or £7.50 per month for internet access only.
On a plain pay as you go package, without a goodybag, GiffGaff offer one of the cheapest price points compared to any other network provider. Calls, texts and video calls to other members on giffgaff are absolutely free, while calls to UK mobiles and landlines are 10p/minute, texts 6p/text and internet 20p/day for 20MB, 20p/MB thereafter. Calls to freephone numbers starting with either 0800 or 0808 are free.
With a free pay as you go sim you’re able to take out a 30 day goodybag whenever fits you best, set up to be either recurring or last just the month. A goodybag is similar to a contract, except it lasts 30 days from the time of purchase. For £5 to £20 a month you’re given up to 2000 UK minutes, unlimited UK texts and unlimited 3G or 5GB 4G internet, as well as “free to giffgaff” allowing free calls, texts and video calls to other giffgaff users. These are flexible plans that can be changed after each month, so you’re never paying any more than you actually need.
All of giffgaffs sim cards are free to be both ordered and delivered from their website. When ordered you decide whether you’re wanting a NanoSIM or a standard SIM, with the ability to pop out the centre to convert it into a micro SIM.