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Giffgaff reviews

Giffgaff’s name (an ancient Scottish term for mutual giving) isn’t the only quirk about this innovative company. You can get SIM-only deals, pay-as-you-go plans and contracts with a new phone, but that’s where any similarities to mainstream mobile phone providers end.

Customers help each other with issues in a bustling online forum and earn money by actively contributing to the giffgaff community. Giffgaff offers new phones on credit through a third-party lending platform and members are consulted on all business decisions. It’s a popular approach, but it doesn’t suit everyone.

All provider package

Giffgaff SIM-only

3.2

£5

Giffgaff SIM-only
Giffgaff pay-as-you-go

3

Free

Giffgaff pay-as-you-go

About giffgaff

Giffgaff entered the mobile phone market in 2009. Its novel take on consumer telecoms has earned it an army of loyal followers, known as giffgaffers. It uses the O2 network to operate 3G and 4G mobile broadband services, which are increasing in coverage throughout the UK. Prices are competitive and start from £5.

Plans and payment options

Giffgaff SIM cards are supplied free. You can buy a bundle of calls, texts and data or top up with pay-as-you-go. Either way, there’s no need to commit to a contract and you can buy credit online, over the phone or in a range of nationwide retail stores.

The bundles are called goodybags and run for 30 days, after which they expire. You can buy a fresh bundle each month or set your account to auto-renew. You can activate your SIM by going onto giffgaff's website.

You can buy a new phone outright or on credit

Giffgaff offers a good selection of phones, including the latest Apple and Android models. You can pay for one upfront or take out a credit plan over six to 24 months. Finance is provided by a P2P (peer-to-peer) lending firm called RateSetter. You choose the repayment terms, and application does not affect your credit score, as only a soft search is carried out to confirm your affordability.

Availability

Giffgaff piggybacks on the O2 network, which currently has 98% coverage for 3G and 97% coverage for 4G. This is fair but not the best mobile coverage in the UK, and customer reports suggest giffgaff may even have less coverage than O2. It all comes down to your location. Follow the link below to check giffgaff coverage in your area.

Speed

Like coverage, giffgaff’s internet connection speeds should echo those of its parent network O2, but they may vary slightly in practice. O2’s 4G speed is around 18Mbps, according to Ofcom, while its 3G speed is 5Mbps. This compares to the industry averages of 33Mbps and 6Mbps respectively.

Extras

Giffgaff doesn’t offer extras in the traditional sense, like freebies and perks, but it does have interesting features that will appeal to some customers.

Tethering is permitted on all plans

Using your phone as a personal wi-fi hotspot, known as tethering, is permitted on all giffgaff SIM-only plans. The maximum tethering allowance is 6GB on the £20 goodybag (Always on UK data). The speed is restricted on this plan after 6GB of data usage.

Tethering is useful for those with more than one device, such as a tablet. It functions well as a temporary or quick-fix rather than a long-term mobile broadband solution as it can eat through a lot of data.

Earn money with payback and Super Recruiter

Community forums take the place of traditional customer service, although there is a helpline for billing and account enquires. If you’re a frequent and helpful contributor, it’s possible to earn money in the form of payback, which is paid out twice a year in June and December.

Giffgaff also runs a referral programme called Super Recruiter for those who spread the word about giffgaff and encourage new members to join.

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