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giffgaff mobile plans explained

One of the UK’s most unique mobile networks, giffgaff works by giving you a SIM for your phone that you can add 30-day bundles to. It’s powered by its community of users - and when you take part, you get rewards. Here’s how it all works.

What can I get from giffgaff?

Giffgaff doesn't do contracts. Instead, when you sign up to giffgaff, you get sent a pay-as-you-go SIM card - though for better value, you can add on a giffgaff 'goodybag'.

Sadly, they're not the kind of goodybag you get to take home after a kid's party, but they're almost as good. Each one gives you a bundle of calling minutes, texts, and data to use over the next 30 days - it's just like taking out a one-month SIM plan, only with far less hassle.

Goodybag tariffs range from a 100MB data, 125 minutes, and 500 texts bundle, all the way up to 'always on' unlimited everything. You can also get data-only 'gigabags', which give you a data allowance to use but no minutes or texts - they'll cost pay-as-you-go rates.

Since all goodybags last just 30 days, you're able to switch around your allowance - and how much you pay - whenever you like. That's perfect if you know you're in for a heavy month, or if you're on a budget and want to cut down for a while. You can also set them up to automatically recur every 30 days, or queue one up ready for when your current goodybag runs out.

You can also pick up a handset from giffgaff, either by buying one outright or taking out a 'contract' - which is really a peer-to-peer loan. Loans are very flexible: you can choose how much you want to pay upfront and how many months you're happy to keep paying for, and find a rate that suits you. Watch out, though, as interest rates on peer-to-peer loans can be quite high.

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Giffgaff Payback

Giffgaff likes you to get involved, and it rewards you for doing so. You can earn 'Payback' points when you do things like helping people out in the forums or referring a friend to the network. Then, twice a year, you can redeem your points as either a PayPal transfer, airtime credit, charity donation, or just roll them over to the next Payback period (though you can only do this once).

Giffgaff mobile coverage

It uses O2's network to deliver its services, so coverage is very good. 99% of the population can get basic signal; more than 85% can get 3G; and more than 70% can get 4G. Most major towns and cities are covered nicely.

Read more about mobile coverage.

What's good about giffgaff?

  • Offers some of the cheapest 30-day plans around
  • 'Goodybag' system means you can change your monthly allowance (and cost) whenever you want
  • Wide range of goodybags to choose from
  • Data-only 'gigabags' available
  • No need for a credit check if you're just getting a SIM
  • Payback system gives you free money for helping other giffgaff users

What's bad about giffgaff?

  • No dedicated customer support team
  • No long-term plans available
  • Handset contracts are loans, and have high interest rates
  • 'Always on' data plan isn't truly unlimited
  • Goodybags don't include a slice of cake or any sweets


  1. How do I check network coverage?

    All networks have a coverage checker on their websites, so check there as your first port of call. These give a good indication of whether you will get a signal in different parts of the country. It’s worth noting that these offer a simplified view of coverage and aren't necessarily 100% accurate, but they give you a good indication all the same.

    See our guide to mobile coverage for more info

  2. If I switch, can I keep my mobile number?

    Yes you can. All you have to do is ask your old network for your Porting Authorisation Code (PAC) before your contract is up. Then give the PAC - likely a nine-digit number - to your new provider and you’ll usually be able to use your old number within a working day.

    For more info, see our guide: Can I keep my mobile number?

  3. How do I switch mobile contracts?

    First, pick a new mobile contract by comparing different packages on our site, and click through to sign up to one that looks good.

    Then, simply contact your current provider to cancel, and switch to the new contract. Providers should walk you through the process when you sign up.

    Compare mobile deals here

  4. Can I use my mobile phone abroad?

    It is possible to use your phone abroad, but before you can do so you may have to activate roaming with your network operator. Different countries incur different charges, but your operator should send you a message about roaming prices upon your arrival. And remember, unlike at home, you may be charged for receiving calls as well as making them.

    If you're travelling within the EU, you can use your usual monthly allowance at no extra cost - whatever network you're with.

    See our guide to using your phone abroad for more info.