giffgaff is a low-cost mobile network with coverage from O2. Goodybags start from £5/month and are fully 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 members the choice of one-month goodybags from £5/month. It’s also possible to use giffgaff on a purely Pay As You Go basis with no monthly minimum spend and with no credit check required.
In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at the giffgaff service including the tariffs available and including the key features of giffgaff (such as 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 available and how to keep your existing phone number.
- 1 Pricing & Tariffs
- 2 Features
- 3 Comparison To Alternatives
- 4 Handsets
- 5 Credit Expiry
- 6 Network & Coverage
- 7 Keeping Your Phone Number
- 8 More Information
Pricing & Tariffs
On giffgaff, there are two main ways of paying for your usage:
- You can buy a 1-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 30-day allowance of minutes, texts and mobile internet. Giffgaff has a range of goodybag bundles from £5/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 £5/month. When using giffgaff on traditional Pay As You Go, there’s no need to top-up every month. Your credit also won’t expire providing you use your SIM card at least 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’re likely to use your phone more). You can also use Pay As You Go in addition to your goodybag allowance (only topping up with additional credit when your goodybag allowances run out).
30 Day Goodybag Bundles
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 internet.
Bundles start from £5/month for light users and increase up to £20/month if you want Always-On data. At present, there are a choice of seven goodybag bundles available to buy on giffgaff:
At the end of each month, you’ll receive a “recommended best plan” e-mail showing your usage over the past month and giffgaff’s recommended goodybag.
For convenience, you can decide to automatically renew your goodybag (if you do this, your account will topped-up automatically from a saved credit card or debit card). With this feature enabled, giffgaff will work in a very similar way to Pay Monthly SIM-only deals (i.e. you won’t have the hassle of needing to manually top-up your SIM card every month).
giffgaff’s £20 Goodybag comes with Always-On data. This gives you unlimited downloads, but 4G speeds are only available on the first 9GB per month. If you reach the 9GB limit, you’ll still be able to access the mobile internet but download speeds will be limited to 384kbps between 8am and midnight each day.
Pay As You Go Pricing
If you either don’t want to buy a goodybag bundle or have used up all your goodybag allowances, you can use giffgaff on a Pay As You Go basis at their standard rates.
On giffgaff, phone calls cost 15p/minute and texts cost 5p each. Accessing the mobile internet is 5p/MB (discounted to 2p/MB if you have an active goodybag but have used up your goodybag data allowance).
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|
|Mobile Internet||5p/MB (if you don’t have a goodybag)
2p/MB (if you have a goodybag but no data allowance remaining)
In general, we think giffgaff’s Pay As You Go rates compares fairly favourably against other major mobile networks. For instance, you can get slightly cheaper rates on O2 Classic Pay As You Go (5p/minute, 5p/text and 5p/MB) but this comes without free giffgaff-to-giffgaff calling and without the ability to buy a goodybag for the bulk of your usage.
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.
Another 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 is 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)||14p/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
If you’d like to use a giffgaff SIM card in a tablet or mobile broadband dongle, you can choose to buy a giffgaff gigabag (this is essentially a data-only goodybag bundle).
At present, giffgaff only offers one gigabag with 500MB of data for £5/month. If you’d like more than 500MB of data, you can buy a regular giffgaff goodybag to use in your tablet or dongle.
If you’re struggling to work out which gigabag you should buy, see our guide to mobile download allowances.
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 preceding 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 rates (15p/minute if you don’t have a goodybag allowance). You can, however, hang up and re-dial to continue talking for as long as you like 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 deciding not to buy a goodybag in a given month and using normal Pay As You Go pricing instead of a goodybag). You can also decide 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 for your usage, giffgaff will send you a personalised e-mail at the end of each month. The e-mail will show you how much you’ve used your phone over the past month and will highlight the best value plan you should be using (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. This means, unlike on Pay Monthly 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 will 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 and Huawei.
When buying a handset from the giffgaff phone store, you can either pay the full price of the handset upfront or alternatively, you can split up the cost over a period of between 6 and 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 between 18.9% and 21.6% APR on the remaining amount. You’ll need to be 18 or older to qualify for the handset financing plan 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 if you buy a handset from giffgaff (so 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 other 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 with other members often racing to answer it 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 typically takes up to 24 hours to receive a response from a giffgaff agent.
Another unique feature of giffgaff is their 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 subject to 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).
In the UK, giffgaff is fairly unique in offering a tariff that gives you unlimited downloads (apart from giffgaff, only Three also offers unlimited downloads through their all-you-can-eat data plans).
On giffgaff, Always-On data is available when you buy the £20 goodybag. This gives you unlimited downloading so there’s no need to worry about running out of data mid-month. However, with Always-On data, you’ll only get 4G speeds on the first 9GB 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 limit of 9GB/month for roaming data usage inside the EU. Further usage beyond the 9GB limit will be charged at 0.78p/MB.
Comparison To Alternatives
£5 per month bundles
On the £5/month goodybag, giffgaff currently offers 150 minutes, 500 texts and 100MB of data.
If you’d like slightly more data, ASDA Mobile’s £5 bundle is also worth considering as a possible alternative. It comes with twice as much data but 25 fewer minutes (you’ll get 125 minutes, 2000 texts and 200MB of data). ASDA Mobile makes use of 4G coverage from the EE network.
£7 per month bundles
For £7.50/month, giffgaff offers a goodybag with 250 minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of data. For 50p less each month, you can get 300 minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of data on ASDA Mobile’s £7 bundle.
£10 per month bundles
giffgaff’s £10 goodybag comes with 500 minutes, unlimited texts and 3GB of 4G data. For the same monthly price, most other mobile networks offer less than half as many minutes and half as much data.
£15 per month bundles
For £15 per month, giffgaff offers 1000 minutes, unlimited texts and 6GB of 4G data. This compares against other mobile networks as follows:
£20 per month bundles
For £20 per month, giffgaff offers unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and Always-On data (unlimited downloads with 4G on the first 9GB per month). Alternatively, you can get giffgaff’s £18 goodybag which comes with 2000 minutes, unlimited texts and 9GB of internet.
giffgaff’s £18 and £20 goodybags compare as follows to rival mobile networks:
If you choose to use an existing smartphone or a smartphone you’ve purchased elsewhere, you should ensure that’s it unlocked for use on giffgaff. You can buy an unlocked smartphone from various online retailers (at present, our recommendation is the Moto G). If you’re using a handset that was originally provided by another mobile network, it might be necessary for you to first unlock it. For more information, 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, they have a selection of unlocked smartphones from Apple, Samsung, Sony and Huawei. You can choose to either 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 78% coverage on 4G.
Before joining the giffgaff network, we strongly recommend checking the coverage in your area through the giffgaff 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.
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 on-the-go (e.g. for working on the train or for surfing 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 £20 goodybag where your speeds will be slowed down after the first 9GB per month.
Many other low-cost networks prohibit the use of tethering and portable hotspot (particularly on Pay As You Go tariffs). This is therefore a strong benefit of choosing giffgaff over alternative networks.
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 giffgaff’s 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’ve got the PAC Code from your old network and once your new handset or SIM card has arrived from giffgaff, you can 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 your remaining credit 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: