giffgaff is a low-cost mobile network with coverage from O2. Goodybags start from £6/month and are flexible with no credit check required.
In the UK, giffgaff is a low-cost mobile network using coverage from O2. The network, which is a fully-owned sub-brand of O2, offers a choice of goodybag bundles from £6/month. There are no contracts to sign and no credit checks to undergo, giving you flexibility to change at any time. It’s also possible to use giffgaff on a pure Pay As You Go basis, with no monthly minimum spend.
In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at the giffgaff service including the bundles available and other key features of giffgaff (such as the 1GB of extra data, free calls to other giffgaff members, online community-driven support and Always-On data). We’ll also compare the prices on giffgaff to other major mobile networks before looking at the level of coverage you can expect and how to keep your existing phone number.
- 1 Bundles & Pricing
- 2 Features
- 3 Comparison To Alternatives
- 4 Handsets
- 5 Credit Expiry
- 6 Network & Coverage
- 7 Keeping Your Phone Number
- 8 More Information
Bundles & Pricing
On giffgaff, there are two ways of paying for your usage:
- You can buy a one-month goodybag bundle to cover your usage. This is normally the best value option for regular mobile users and smartphone owners. Your Pay As You Go credit is converted into a one-month allowance of minutes, texts and mobile data. Giffgaff has a range of goodybag bundles starting from £6/month.
- You can Pay As You Go at 15p/minute, 5p/text and 5p/MB. This is normally better value for light users who’d spend less than £6/month. When using giffgaff on a traditional Pay As You Go basis, there’s no need to top-up every month. Your credit won’t expire providing you use your SIM card for a chargeable activity once every 6 months.
It’s possible to combine the two methods of paying for your usage (for instance, only buying a goodybag in the months when you use your phone more). You can also use Pay As You Go in addition to your goodybag allowance (for instance, topping up with additional credit when your goodybag allowances run out).
For most giffgaff members, the best value way to use giffgaff is to buy regular monthly goodybag bundles. With goodybags, you’ll convert your Pay As You Go credit into a one-month allowance of calls, texts and mobile data.
At present, there’s a choice of seven goodybag bundles available to buy on giffgaff. Bundles start from £6/month for light users, increasing up to £25/month if you want Always-On data:
On the £10, £12, £15 and £20 goodybags, you’ll receive 1GB of additional data each month from your third goodybag purchase onwards. This boosts your inclusive allowance, so you’ll get 7GB of data for £10/month, 11GB of data for £12/month, and so on.
At the end of each month, you’ll receive a “recommended best plan” e-mail showing your usage over the past month. You can use this information to change your goodybag (e.g. moving upwards or downwards to a different goodybag which better suits your usage).
For convenience, you can decide to automatically renew your goodybag every month. If you do this, your account will be topped-up automatically from a saved credit card, debit card or PayPal account. With this feature enabled, giffgaff will work in a very similar way to Pay Monthly SIM cards (i.e. without the hassle of you needing to manually top-up your SIM card every month).
giffgaff’s £25 goodybag comes with Always-On data. This gives you unlimited downloads, with 4G speeds on the first 40GB per month. If you reach the 40GB limit, you’ll still be able to access the mobile internet but download speeds will be capped to 384kbps between 8am and midnight each day.
Until the 9th May 2019, giffgaff sold a £5 and £7.50 goodybag. These goodybags have now increased in price up to £6 per month and £8 per month respectively.
Pay As You Go Pricing
If you don’t want to buy a goodybag bundle, or if you’ve already used up all your goodybag allowances, you can use giffgaff on a Pay As You Go basis at their standard rates.
On giffgaff, standard UK phone calls cost 15p/minute and texts cost 5p each. Accessing the mobile internet costs 5p/MB.
giffgaff’s standard Pay As You Go rates are as follows:
|Voice Calls||15p/minute to other networks (free to giffgaff*)|
|Calls to Voicemail||8p/call|
|Text Message (SMS)||5p to other networks (free to giffgaff*)|
|Picture Message (MMS)||16p|
giffgaff’s Pay As You Go rates are reasonably expensive compared to rival mobile networks. For instance, you can get cheaper rates on O2’s Classic Pay As You Go (just 3p/minute, 2p/text and 1p/MB). However, this comes without some of the other benefits like free giffgaff-to-giffgaff calling.
For more information, our guide to Pay As You Go mobile networks has a full side-by-side comparison of Pay As You Go rates on different networks.
One key benefit of giffgaff is the ability to make low-cost international phone calls. You can call abroad to countries like China and India from just 2p/minute (bizarrely, this makes it a lot cheaper than calling a phone number in the UK!). You can also send international text messages for 8p each.
The following table shows the cost of calling abroad to some other selected countries using giffgaff:
|Country||Calls to Mobile||Calls to Landline||Text Message|
|Sri Lanka (+94)||22p/minute||14p/minute||8p/message|
|United States (+1)||2p/minute||2p/minute||8p/message|
For more information, see our full comparison of international calling rates. This includes a full side-by-side comparison of the international calling rates on EE, giffgaff, Lebara Mobile, Lycamobile, O2 and Vodafone.
Gigabags & Mobile Broadband
In the past, giffgaff offered a separate range of gigabag bundles (data-only goodybags) for members who wanted to use a SIM card in their tablet or mobile broadband dongle.
As of July 2018, gigabags (or data-only goodybags) are no longer available for purchase on giffgaff. However, you can still use a standard goodybag to get connected on your tablet or mobile broadband dongle.
1GB of Extra Data
Members who’ve been on giffgaff for three months will receive 1GB of additional data from their third goodybag purchase onwards. This is available on the £10, £12, £15 and £20 goodybags. The 1GB of additional data has the effect of boosting your data allowance as follows:
At the time of writing, the 1GB of extra data is not available on the £6 or £8 goodybags. It also doesn’t apply to the £25 goodybag, as this already includes Always-On data.
Free Giffgaff-to-Giffgaff Calls
Members of giffgaff are able to call and text each other free of charge providing they’ve topped up at least once in the last 3 months.
Free giffgaff-to-giffgaff phone calls can last for a maximum of 60 minutes, after which you’ll be charged the normal UK rate (15p/minute if you don’t have a goodybag allowance, or it’s deducted from your goodybag minutes if you have some remaning). You can hang up and re-dial after 60 minutes if you’d like to continue talking free of charge.
Flexible Goodybags & No Credit Check
giffgaff’s goodybag bundles are fully flexible. This means you can change your goodybag bundle on a month-by-month basis (including choosing not to buy a goodybag in a given month and using normal Pay As You Go pricing instead). You can also choose when to start your next one-month goodybag (including renewing it early or leaving a gap before your next goodybag starts).
To help you choose the most appropriate goodybag, giffgaff will send you a personalised e-mail at the end of each month. The e-mail will summarise your usage over the past month and will highlight the best value plan for you (including when regular Pay As You Go will be cheaper than buying a goodybag).
Another benefit of giffgaff is it’s a fully pre-paid option, with no credit facility available on the SIM card. This means, unlike on Pay Monthly contract providers, there’s no need to undergo a credit check before you can get a SIM card on giffgaff. This makes it an ideal option for under-18s and for others who aren’t able to pass a credit check (e.g. students and visitors to the UK).
Traditionally, most users have ordered a free SIM card from giffgaff which is designed to slot inside any unlocked smartphone.
However, since 2013, giffgaff has also sold their own unlocked smartphones on an unbundled basis. At present, they’re offering a selection of handsets from Apple, Samsung, Sony, Huawei and more.
When buying a handset from the giffgaff phone store, you can either pay the full price of the handset upfront or you can split up the cost over 6 to 24 months.
If you decide to split up the cost of your handset, you’ll be taking out a P2P financing plan provided by RateSetter. Typically, you’ll need to pay £25 upfront and then an interest rate of 18.9% APR on the remaining amount. You’ll need to be 18 or older to qualify for the handset financing option and will undergo a soft credit search during the application process. No credit check is required if you pay the full cost of the handset upfront.
Alongside the cost of your handset, you’ll be making separate monthly payments for your goodybag package. The good news is your goodybags will remain flexible even when you buy a handset from giffgaff (you can change or cancel your goodybag at any time or you can even move to another mobile network whilst continuing to pay for your handset).
For a full list of available handsets, see the giffgaff phone store. You can also read our in-depth review of giffgaff’s handset offering.
Online Community Support
As giffgaff is a low-cost online-only offering, they don’t offer in-store or telephone support. Instead, all customer support is handled online and is available 24/7 through one of following three methods:
- Knowledge Base. giffgaff provides an online knowledge base with answers to frequently asked questions about the service. The knowledge base is maintained by members of the giffgaff community.
- Community Forums. For non account-specific queries, giffgaff provides an online forum where questions can be asked around the clock. According to the giffgaff, the average response time is 90 seconds for questions posted in their forum. Members are incentivised to answer other people’s questions so they can earn Payback rewards.
- Ask an Agent. For account-specific queries, giffgaff provides an e-mail support service known as ‘Ask an Agent’. Common reasons to contact an agent might be account-related issues, balance queries or payment-related questions. It can take up to 24 hours to receive a response from a giffgaff agent.
giffgaff operates a Payback rewards system. This gives members the opportunity to earn cash or free credit by introducing friends to giffgaff or by posting in the giffgaff online community.
Members will earn £5 for each friend they introduce to giffgaff (friends must activate their SIM card and top-up by at least £10 for you to qualify for the bonus). If you introduce more than 15 people to giffgaff, you’ll move to the Super Recruiter programme where you can earn up to £22 per introduction (subject to volume and your friends topping up their SIM card three times).
In the community, you can earn payback for answering support queries and by submitting and voting on new ideas for the giffgaff network. The exact formula used to calculate payback is described in a forum post here.
Accumulated Payback is sent out to members twice per year in June and December. To qualify, you’ll need to have used your phone at least once in the preceding three months. You can elect to have the money added to your credit, or you can have it paid out as cash via PayPal (subject to a £10 minimum). It’s also possible to donate your Payback to charity (in which case, it will be matched by an equivalent donation from giffgaff).
giffgaff offers Always-On data with their £25 goodybag. This gives you unlimited downloading so there’s no need to worry about running out of data mid-month. With Always-On data, you’ll get 4G speeds on the first 40GB per month. After this, your download speeds will be restricted to 384kbps between 8am and midnight each day.
When you’re travelling to other European countries and taking advantage of giffgaff’s inclusive EU roaming, there’s a fair usage limit of 40GB/month for roaming data usage inside the EU. Further usage beyond the 20GB limit will be charged at 0.47p/MB.
Comparison To Alternatives
£6 per month bundles
On their £6/month goodybag, giffgaff currently offers 300 minutes, 500 texts and 500MB of data.
The following table shows a comparison of alternative Pay As You Go deals around the £5 per month price point:
£8 per month bundles
For £8/month, giffgaff offers a goodybag with 500 minutes, unlimited texts and 2GB of data.
£10 per month bundles
giffgaff’s £10 goodybag comes with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 6GB of data (increased to 7GB once you’ve been a customer for 3 months). For the same monthly price, most other mobile networks offer much fewer minutes and data.
For an alternative deal, customers joining VOXI can get unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 6GB of data (VOXI uses 4G coverage from Vodafone).
£15 per month bundles
For £15 per month, giffgaff offers unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 15GB of data (increased to 16GB once you’ve been a customer for 3 months). This compares against other mobile networks as follows:
£20 per month bundles
For £20 per month, giffgaff offers unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 40GB of data. This compares as follows to other Pay As You Go networks around the £20 per month price point:
£25 per month bundles
For £25 per month, you can get Always On data from giffgaff (unlimited downloads with the first 40GB per month at full 4G speeds). This compares as follows to other mobile networks:
If you’d like to use an existing smartphone that you’ve purchased from elsewhere, you should make sure the handset is unlocked for use on giffgaff. You can buy a new unlocked smartphone from various online retailers, with the Moto G currently being one of our favourite unlocked devices. If you need to unlock your existing mobile phone, see our guides to unlocking an iPhone and unlocking a Samsung Galaxy smartphone.
If you’d like to buy a new handset directly from giffgaff, you can order one through the giffgaff phone store. At present, giffgaff have a selection of unlocked smartphones from manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung, Sony and Huawei. You can either choose to pay the full cost of the handset upfront or you can split up the cost over up to 24 months.
On giffgaff, your Pay As You Go credit won’t expire providing your SIM card remains active. To keep it active, you’ll need to make a phone call, send a text message, access the internet or top up your phone at least once every six months. This is stated in clauses 13.3 and 13.4 of the giffgaff terms and conditions.
If you’re converting your Pay As You Go credit into a goodybag bundle, the allowances on your goodybag will expire one month after the goodybag purchase.
For more information, see our full guide to credit expiry on UK mobile networks.
Network & Coverage
2G, 3G & 4G Coverage From O2
giffgaff uses O2 as its network coverage provider, so members of giffgaff will get the exact same coverage as customers on O2.
At the time of writing, giffgaff offers 99% population coverage, including 98% coverage on 3G and 97% coverage on 4G.
Before joining the giffgaff network, we strongly recommend checking the coverage in your area through giffgaff’s online coverage map:
For more information about the coverage on different mobile networks in the UK, please see our in-depth guide to mobile coverage in the UK.
At present, giffgaff doesn’t yet offer 5G coverage. They’re planning to a small invite-only trial at the end of 2019, with the view of rolling out 5G to other members in “early 2020”.
giffgaff’s parent mobile network, O2, will be launching their 5G network in six cities during October 2019 (Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, London and Slough). It will then roll out in other UK towns and cities as follows:
|Now Live||21 towns and cities are live on O2 5G (January 2020)|
Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Derby, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Leicester, Lisburn, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Nottingham, Sheffield, Slough, Stoke-on-Trent
|21 towns and cities planned|
Aberdeen, Birkenhead, Brighton, Cambridge, Hove, Luton, Milton Keynes, Newbury, Northampton, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Southampton, Sunderland, Warrington, Wolverhampton (Summer 2020)
Blackpool, Bournemouth, Eton, Guildford, Reading, Windsor (January 2020)
Tethering or portable hotspot refers to the process of sharing your mobile internet connection with other devices (e.g. with your laptop or tablet). It’s typically used to get your other devices connected to mobile broadband internet whilst you’re on-the-move (e.g. for working on the train or for surfing the internet in a coffee shop where wi-fi isn’t available).
On giffgaff, it’s possible to tether using the data allowance on your bundle. The only restriction worth watching out for is on the £25 goodybag where your speeds will be slowed down after the first 40GB per month.
Keeping Your Phone Number
If you’re changing from another mobile network to giffgaff, it’s a straightforward process to keep your existing phone number.
Firstly, you should order your new phone or SIM card from the giffgaff website. Once you’ve done that, contact your old mobile network to ask for a PAC Code. This is a nine-digit code that authorises the transfer of your phone number to giffgaff and it’s a legal requirement for your current mobile network to provide it within 2 hours of your request.
Once you have the PAC Code from your old network, log in and fill out this form on giffgaff’s website. After you do this, your phone number transfer will normally be scheduled for the next working day (or for two working days time if you submit it after 3pm).
Until your phone number moves over, you’ll continue receiving coverage on your old network. Be aware that it’s not possible to transfer credit from your old mobile network to giffgaff so you should try to use it up before the phone number transfer.
For a step-by-step guide on transferring your phone number to giffgaff, please select your current mobile network from the drop-down menu below: