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.
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.
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