Hey everyone! I’m back with another review – this time about GiffGaff, a UK mobile service provider.
As you guys know, I have an entire series of posts about Three (another UK provider) who I got a contract with at the end of 2019 when I broke my Samsung Galaxy S7 and couldn’t afford to buy a new phone so I was looking for a contract and Three had what looked like a really good deal (at the time).
The rest of that story is available in the Three saga – but long story short, it didn’t go well. It eventually ended well (luckily for me) thanks to the Communications Ombudsman, but the contract itself was a disaster. Following that disaster, I went back to the carrier I had for many years before Three – GiffGaff.
GiffGaff’s their main offering is the SIM-only and Pay-as-you-go (PAYG) deals:
This is a network that does things differently – I really like the flexibility. With their 30-day no-contract system, you buy “packages” (called Goodybags) every 30 days. You can buy one manually every month, or you can instruct GiffGaff to automatically renew it for you.
Their PAYG system is also reasonably priced, unlike some other UK providers. Plus, if you so desire, you can set it to automatically top-up up to 5 times per month when you fall below £3 credit.
On all of their goodybags, minutes & texts are now unlimited! So for as little as £6 / month you can call & text to your heart’s intent!
My Opinion on Service Quality
When referring to mobile networks, “service” has 2 separate meanings. Signal coverage, and customer service.
Let’s talk first about signal coverage – GiffGaff actually uses part of the O2 network, which is generally said to be one of the most reliable (in terms of signal strength) and expensive networks in the UK. Thanks to that, I’ve never had any issues with coverage around my area (South Yorkshire).
I have heard some people say that coverage is a little bit worse in more rural areas, though. So please note that coverage quality depends on where exactly you use your phone regularly.
This part is where things get interesting: let’s discuss customer service now. First thing’s first, GiffGaff have no physical stores and they’ve openly stated that they aren’t interested in changing that. This isn’t unusual in 2020, but it can put some people off.
There are actually 2 main ways you can contact giffgaff, one is to talk to other users and ask for help via the forums. Some of the users are extremely helpful, and network staff do also use the forum to answer customer questions. The other is by directly contacting a customer service agent via their website, who’ll then send you an email usually within 24 hours.
Personally, I think this system is a little bit lacking compared to other networks. However, that said, when you do get help it’s usually much higher quality than other networks. So I suppose it depends on your opinion. My only suggested improvement would be to allow users to message an agent directly from the app, instead of needing to dig through the website for help.
Firstly, let me clarify that when I say “side-features” I’m referring to things that GiffGaff do that aren’t so much about mobile service as the community, little additional niceties, if you will.
For example, GiffGaff has a system called Payback – which is literally what it says it is 😆 GiffGaff will pay you back for some things in the community that you can do. There are lot’s of things you can do to earn Payback, but the main one is helping people via the forums.
When you earn payback, you can choose several things to do with it, you can convert it to credit (for PAYG), donate it to a charity, or (if you have more than 1,000 Payback) redeem it to your PayPal wallet. The conversion rate for Payback is 100 points = £1.
Additionally, as a GiffGaff customer, you have access to the WiFi Extra network. What this means is if you leave your WiFi enabled when you leave the house (IE, don’t turn it off in settings) and pass a WiFi Extra point, your phone will connect to WiFi Extra for you and theoretically save you some data.
However, to be honest, I’ve only ever found 1 of these WiFi points – in my city’s train station. Plus there’s concerns about public WiFi to consider and more. So, pick your poison there, I suppose. But the effort from GiffGaff is there, at least.
Finally, a feature you WON’T find on any other network, if you’re receiving a lot of spam or whatever problem you might have, GiffGaff allow you to generate a new number for your SIM card for absolutely free! Officially, they say you can do this one per account – but I’ve done it twice with my account, so… Apparently not 😆
I’ve tried many other networks in the UK:
Some of them outright SUCK, while others have some inconveniences but aren’t generally ‘bad’. But every time I’ve ended up going back to GiffGaff just for the convenience, flexibility & reliability.
However, GiffGaff’s major shortfall is it’s smartphone sales. Yes, you can buy smartphones direct from GiffGaff and they can provide contracts for the phones themselves (not the SIM card), but your options are severely limited in terms of which models are available.
It’s probably clear to you by now why I also choose to get an Affiliate link with them – now that you’ve seen my review, if you want to give them a try, by using this link you’ll earn 500 payback (£5) when you activate your new SIM card. Full disclosure – I will as well.
If you don’t like what you get, you can delete your giffgaff account easily. Simply take the SIM out of your phone and then remove all payment cards and PayPal accounts from your settings – after 6 months, so long as you have no payment methods listed, GiffGaff will remove your account automatically.
Thanks for reading! I hope, if you do try GiffGaff, that your experiences are as good as mine! Had problems with them before? Please tell me in the comments!