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Giffgaff pay-as-you-go review

Giffgaff pay-as-you-go (PAYG) gives the freedom to switch or trial a mobile service without being tied into a contract. As well as standard pay-as-you-go rates, giffgaff offers SIM-only plans (known as goodybags) to use over 30 days.

Giffgaff’s pay-as-you-go rates are at least as good as its rivals, and calls and texts to other giffgaff users are free. However, there is no formalised customer support service, with users relying on other customers for advice and information online.

Cable.co.uk overall rating

Giffgaff is a popular provider that offers a variety of bundles at a competitive price. Its pay-as-you-go rates for calls and texts are fairly cheap when compared to those of O2, Vodafone and EE. However, data usage is charged at 5p per MB, so If you regularly use the internet you may find yourself eating through your credit faster than expected.

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Coverage & data speed



Giffgaff is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). This means it doesn’t have its own network and instead uses another company's – in this case O2's. O2’s 3G network covers 98% of the UK. This means you should be able to get online in most parts on the country. On the other hand, O2’s 4G network is only available to 97% of the country. Check the coverage in your area before ordering a free pay-as-you-go SIM card.

Although giffgaff operates on O2 this doesn’t mean that you’ll get the same coverage or speed as O2 – it will vary. According to Ofcom’s average speed test, O2’s 3G service came to 5Mbps. This is more than enough for browsing online, emailing and social networking. Its 4G speed averaged 18Mbps. This is better suited for video calling, watching videos, TV and movies.

It's worth noting that all SIM-only plans include 4G. However, if you don't have 4G coverage in your area, you can still go online using its 3G service.

3G coverage
4G coverage
Average 3G speed*
Average 4G speed*
18Mbps *
Call allowance
Bundles; or 15p per minute
Text allowance
Bundles or 5p per text
Data allowance
Bundles or 5p per MB
PAYG handsets
*Ofcom statistics for the O2 network, which giffgaff uses to operate its services. Giffgaff coverage and speed may vary.
Prices from
3G coverage 98%
4G coverage 97%
Average 3G speed* 5Mbps*
Average 4G speed* 18Mbps *
Call allowance Bundles; or 15p per minute
Text allowance Bundles or 5p per text
Data allowance Bundles or 5p per MB
PAYG handsets Yes
Prices from Free
*Ofcom statistics for the O2 network, which giffgaff uses to operate its services. Giffgaff coverage and speed may vary.

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Data usage



With its pay-as-you-go deals, giffgaff mobile data is charged at 5p per megabyte (MB) - that’s £25 per 500MB of use (around 30 minutes of streaming Netflix) . Ergo, if you regularly go online you’ll end up using the majority of your credit on internet browsing. If that’s the case you may be better off purchasing a goodybag.

Goodybags come with a set amount of calls, texts and data, and the mobile data allowances range from 100MB to unlimited. However, traffic management applies on giffgaff's 4G £20 goodybag. This means that the speed is restricted to 256 kilobits per second after 6GB of data usage. Gigabag plans are also available. These bundles are specifically designed for tablets, iPads, and internet dongles; they don’t include calls or texts. Giffgaff’s goodybags and gigabags come on 30-day contracts.

Calls & texts



Giffgaff’s pay-as-you-go standard rates are cheaper than those of Vodafone and EE. If you make a call, you’ll be charged 15p per minute, and each text will cost 5p. Calls and texts to other giffgaff numbers are free. If you love texting, it may be worth considering a giffgaff goodybag. Although these plans come with a 30-day contract, you’ll get unlimited texts.

Giffgaff’s standard international call rates start from 2p per minute, to destinations such as the USA, India and China. These rates are currently cheaper than those offered by Lebara and Lycamobile.

Extra features



Giffgaff doesn’t offer many extras. However, it has the unique feature of an online community forum that provides answers to any customer issues you may have, in place of a tradition customer service centre.

In addition, if you recommend your friends and family to giffgaff or contribute to the online forum, you can receive payback points twice a year (June and December). The points can be used as airtime credit for your mobile, to donate to charity or pocketed as cashback. You can only get cashback if you’ve earned more than 1,000 points. You can also earn with Super Recruiter; if you encourage new members to join giffgaff you could get up to £8 for each person that joins.

If you’re looking to unlock your phone, giffgaff’s Unlockapedia service offers free advice on how to unlock your phone. This advice is available on giffgaff’s website.

Value for money



Giffgaff’s pay-as-you-go tariff is fairly cheap in comparison to other popular mobile networks, including EE, Vodafone and O2. Calls cost 15p per minute, texts costs 5p each and mobile data costs 5p per MB. If you want a set number of calls, texts and data, you could purchase a goodybag. These are available on a 30-day contract from £5 per month.

The minimum top-up is £10 and the maximum is £30. You can top up online by using a debit or credit card. Or you can purchase a voucher and activate it online or by dialling 43430. You can also set up auto top-up. This will automatically top up your account once a month.

Giffgaff also provides a number of PAYG mobile phones like Samsung Galaxy S7 and HTC One Mini 2. These are available to purchase on giffgaff’s website.

Overall Rating


Giffgaff’s pay-as-you-go rates are pretty cheap in comparison to O2, Vodafone and EE – but they’re far more expensive than Three. Many people like giffgaff's unique approach to customer service and troubleshooting, but it's certainly not for everyone.

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Comments (1)

5th May 2015

Two constant issues with Giffgaff - group texts keep failing and the answer service doesn't offer notifications on Android. Assumed it was the phone/Android and then noticed that using a Three SIM the issue disappeared.

Massively frustrating from a service that is basically just cheapo O2, right?

GiffGaff is decent value but Three is cheaper and works.

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