Giffgaff Review – Are giffgaff SIM Cards any good?

by Sandra Henshaw - , Last Updated on May 4, 2014, Reviews

The way people pay for their mobile phone usage is constantly changing and one of the main exponents of that change is giffgaff – a new type of network that’s quite quirky in the sense they focus solely on SIM only deals and rather than a customer you’re treated as a member of the family.

There’s no high street presence, no phone support and in fact any questions or problems you have are answered by other giffgaff members in their dedicated support forums. The benefit of this? Less overheads which means they pass the cost savings onto the customer who get better deals, special perks and ultimately save money.

Who are giffgaff and how does it work?

Giffgaff are no contract, pay-as-you-go, online only mobile network. They’re powered by the 02 network so customers benefit from a solid infrastructure and signal quality throughout the UK. We’ve trialled giffgaff here in the TigerMobiles.com office and got a strong signal and were very pleased with the download speed when using mobile internet.

Because giffgaff is essentially a pay-as-you-go network there’s no long term contract and all you need to do is order a SIM card (for free), top it up with what they call a goodybag and use it till it runs out (or one month passes). Once it’s run out you either use their PAYG rates or you can purchase another goodybag. Rinse and repeat.

It’s ideal for customers who don’t want to be tied down to a long term deal or don’t want to be paying an expensive monthly repayment on their mobile. At TigerMobiles.com we think it’s absolutely ideal for customers who have come to the end of a contract but are happy with their existing handset. If that’s you all you need to do is unlock your phone, get a giffgaff SIM and start saving money. You can even port your number across should they want to keep it.

How is giffgaff so cheap?

The reason giffgaff manage to keep their prices low is because they don’t have any overheads. Their business model is based on the “community” whereby support is only undertaken by other customers on public forums.

They encourage users to contribute to support issues and then reward contributors with “kudos” points, which they can then exchange for cash or credit at a later date.

With no phone support and virtually no staff there are far less wages to pay. There’s no fancy offices or call centres, it’s all run by the people for the people and that results in significant cost savings.

What top ups does giffgaff offer?

Giffgaff offers customers two ways to top up – they can either use a regular PAYG system where they buy airtime that’s reduced with each call and text etc. You can see the price list here. The other option comes in the way of what fiffgaff call goodybags, this is essentially a pre packaged bundle of data, minutes and texts much like you get with a regular SIM only or contract deal.

At the time of writing there are 6 goodbags to choose from:

  Calls (minutes) Texts Data
£5 Hokey Cokey 60 300 (+ extra minutes, see below) 20MB
£7.50 Goodybag 200 Unlimited 250MB
£10 Goodybag 500 (special offer, terms apply)* Unlimited 1GB
£12 Goodybag 250 Unlimited Unlimited
£15 Goodybag 500 Unlimited Unlimited
£20 Goodybag 2000 Unlimited Unlimited

When the goodybag expires (after 1 month, no rollovers) you fall back to your regular “credit” balance or you can buy another goodybag. You can even setup recurring billing so you’re not having to manually buy a goodybag every single month. Simple.

Is it really unlimited data?

Yes, kind of. Like most things unlimited is a little misleading as there is a “fair usage policy”. We’ recommend you read it but the main takeaway is that:

“if you use more than 1 GB of data per hour you may be investigated.”

That’s a fair amount of usage on a mobile phone so their policy is fair and unless you’re downloading masses and masses of data then the data is truly unlimited.

Can I tether internet on giffgaff?

Yes and no :D. If you have a goodybag with unlimited data, you’re not allowed to tether as you will break the fair usage policy. But if you have a goodybag with limited data (see the table above) you can tether until your data runs out. And then you will be revert to PAYG air time. If you are wanting to use giffgaff on your tablet see the gigabags section below.

I need a Micro-sim for my iPhone will giffgaff work?

Yes. giffgaff provide micro and nano sims so they are perfectly compatible with iPhones. They even work with O -locked iPhones since they are powered by the 02 network.

Can I use giffgaff on my tablet?

If you want to use in a Tablet you will want to use a Gigabag instead of a Goodybag.

Here are the current Gigabag data packages:

Price Data allowance
£5.00 500MB per month
£7.50 1GB per month
£12.50 3GB per month

Conclusion and Verdict

We have to say that we’ve been very impressed with giffgaff, we trialled it for a 2 month period here in the TigerMobiles.com office and had no real issues or downtime as some customers report on the support forums or review websites. It’s cheap and you benefit from great coverage thanks to it piggy backing off 02’s infrastructure.

If you’re a money conscious individual then giffgaff is a good choice, you’ll definitely save money in the long rum but you will have to buy the phone outright which can easily run up to around £600 if you’re wanting a new iPhone. So our recommendation is do the maths – work out how many goodybags you’ll need per year and then compare that to the cost of a contract phone.

Bad Points

  • There is no telephone support or customer service team
  • Itemised billing isn’t out yet
  • There’s no possibility of a free phone so if you absolutely must have a contract phone then giffgaff isn’t for you

Good Points

  • The main benefit is of course low prices. The PAYG prices are very fair and the goodybags are attractively priced
  • Great call quality and signal strength from the O2 network
  • There are no contracts and no lock in – you pay for what you use
  • £5 free credit if you order a free SIM today

Have you used giffgaff? Let us know what you like about it or don’t like in the comments below.