Home  /  giffgaff Review 2022: Contract-Free and Super Flexible 5G Plans

giffgaff Review 2022: Contract-Free and Super Flexible 5G Plans

Owned and powered by O2, giffgaff provides the UK’s most flexible SIM only deals with competitive prices. Read our review to learn more.

Latest Offer: 15GB Golden Goodybag with 5G for just £10!

GiffGaff is offering a new Golden Goodybag and it has 50% more data with 15GB of data for just £10 a month. You get unlimited minutes & texts as well as access to superfast 5G data speeds!

What is giffgaff?

giffgaff is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) owned and powered by O2. The carrier stands out with its unique approach to the UK’s mobile market; giffgaff’s SIM only plans are dubbed as “goodybags” and they offer unrivaled flexibility combined with competitive prices. These ‘goodybag’ plans aim to satisfy all customers; from the ones who are looking for a low-cost option to data-hungry users. The mobile network’s customers get identical 5G and 4G coverage as O2 customers.

The O2 powered carrier doesn’t ask for a credit check since they don’t offer any contract deals, all of their SIM only deals work on a prepaid basis. What makes giffgaff unique is you can renew your goodybag even if you finish up all of your mobile data before the 30-day period is over. All their SIM only plans include unlimited UK minutes and texts.

Being a low-cost network, giffgaff also offers a traditional pay as you go service, which is commitment-free. You can mix and match their goodybags with this PAYG service.

Pros

  • Unique flexibility with goodybag deals
  • Easy to switch between SIM only plans and PAYG
  • 5G coverage and speeds
  • Unlimited plans
  • No credit checks

Cons

  • No WiFi Calling or 4G Calling
  • Smaller plans are at the more expensive end of the market
  • Data cap on Always-On plan

Network Coverage & Speeds

giffgaff 4G Coverage

giffgaff is an MVNO running on the O2 Network. This means their customers get the same network coverage O2 customers do on 5G and 4G. The main network, O2, provides 99% population coverage on 4G, but the carrier is behind EE and Vodafone in terms of landmass coverage, which is more important. O2 (And therefore) scored 83.6 for 4G availability in Opensignal’s September 2021 network test. EE scored nearly 94, meanwhile, Vodafone scored 86.4.

Half Cooked strongly recommends you to use giffgaff’s online coverage checker to make sure your frequent areas have good coverage before you buy any SIM plans.

giffgaff 4G Speeds

O2 ranks as the slowest 4G network in the UK with their download speeds averaging around 17Mbps, per the same network test Opensignal published in September 2021. They also offer the slowest upload speeds averaging around 5.4Mbps.

These data speeds are not ideal, but you usually get a stable enough connection to stream high-quality video content on platforms such as Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime, and more. giffgaff’s Always On data plan offers unlimited data, but after 80GB of data is used you’ll experience a reduced data speed of 384kbps from 8 am to midnight.

Keep in mind that the average speeds you get may differ depending on many factors.

giffgaff 5G Coverage

5G coverage was a unique proposal for giffgaff’s golden goodybag customers in the past, but this has changed. Now, all giffgaff goodybags include 5G at no extra cost, provided your handset supports 5G.

O2’s 5G network is live and available in 193 cities and towns across the UK, and the number is increasing. This means O2 has 5G in parts of most major UK towns and cities, as well as lots of smaller towns and villages, but it’s still less than 25 percent of the country covered.

Make sure to check either O2’s or giffgaff’s 5G coverage map before you invest in a 5G plan and device.

giffgaff 5G Speeds

Per Opensignal’s September 2021 test results, giffgaff’s average 5G download speeds are around 111Mbps, and their 5G upload speeds average around 9.3Mbps. giffgaff 5G is quite fast, in fact, it’s the second fastest UK 5G network at the moment. However, the network’s 5G upload speeds are slower than all the other carriers, being measured at around 9.3Mbps.

5G hype is turning into reality across the UK, and wherever you have access to 5G you’ll get ultra-fast data speeds. These average internet speeds are more than enough to stream 4K videos on any streaming platform while doing other heavy tasks on the web.

WiFi Calling and 4G Calling

There were various reasons why WiFi Calling and 4G Calling were unique features a year or two ago, but nowadays pretty much all the MVNOs offer these two perks to their customers at no additional cost. giffgaff is a major player, but sadly they still don’t offer WiFi Calling or 4G Calling (VoLTE).

WiFi Calling lets you use an available WiFi connection for making calls and sending texts, and it can keep you connected even when you don’t get any cellular signal from your carrier. 4G Calling significantly improves your voice call quality while eliminating many indoor blackspots. These two features are becoming a standard, and we expect giffgaff to propose these features soon.

Alternatively, you can check out Sky Mobile’s SIM only plans, if you want coverage from O2 and also benefit from 4G Calling & WiFi Calling.

Personal Hotspot

Your mobile device can turn your into a personal hotspot, tether other devices to it, and share your mobile data with them. However, giffgaff isn’t the best network for regular tethering. First of all, the network limits your sharing to 12 devices. You also need a big data plan, because tethering will burn through your data allowance at a fast rate. We usually recommend choosing an unlimited data plan or at least a big data plan for tethering. While giffgaff has two unlimited plans, neither are truly unlimited.

giffgaff Features

Flexible Goodybags

When it comes to flexibility giffgaff is, hands down, the most unique network. Goodybags may not be the best value option anymore, given how networks like SMARTY and iD Mobile are offering better value, but giffgaff’s SIM only deals still stand out as they are almost unmatched in flexibility.

With giffgaff you can use multiple plans in a single month, i.e. utilise one or two goodybags & then use any leftover credit balance.

On top of that, you can decide when the next bag will be activated once the current one you are using is done with. This means you can renew your goodybag early on, or leave a gap before the next one starts. Your SIM will stay active for another 6 months, even if you don’t use it all and at no cost.

Also, giffgaff will send you an email showing a detailed usage summary and will highlight the best goodybag for you to continue with the following month.

Golden goodybags

These are giffgaff’s special SIM only deals that have more data than their regular goodybags. To get a goodybag deal you must set up a recurring payment method. Don’t worry, it’s still contract-free.

1GB Extra Data Boost

The 1GB extra data is available on all the Golden goodybags, as well as £10, £12, £15, and £20 goodybags. To activate this boost customers must be on giffgaff for at least three months. After the third goodybag purchase, giffgaff members get 1GB of additional data added to their plans. This perk doesn’t apply to £6/month and £8/month goodybags.

Always-On-Data & Unlimited Data

At the time of writing, giffgaff has two unlimited data plans to choose from, but neither deal is actually truly unlimited. Always On data comes with speed restrictions after 80 GB of data is used. Golden goodybag unlimited data has a data cap of 650GB. If you spend more than this amount twice in six months, the network will consider it commercial use and will take action.

You can tether to a maximum of 12 devices with these plans. You can roam abroad with them, but you can only use up to 20GB per month.

No Credit Checks

The MVNO offers commitment-free, no contract, no credit check SIM only deals. There is also giffgaff PAYG, which is also contract-free.

giffgaff Payback Rewards

Thanks to their ‘Payback Time’ program, giffgaff offers a unique option to its customers. giffgaff users get rewarded with ‘Payback Points’ when they bring their friends and family onboard, give helpful advice on giffgaff forums, or suggest ideas to make giffgaff’s network better. If you refer a friend/family member to giffgaff and they top up at least £10 of credit you earn £5. Twice a year giffgaff customers can convert their ‘Payback Points’ to cash, credit, or a donation to charity. These payouts are in June and December.

Online Community Support

To offer the competitive deals that giffgaff does the carrier had to stick to an online-only customer support model. This involves asking questions via an agent who will reply via SMS/Email which can leave customers frustrated with long wait times. Alternatively, giffgaff has developed an online community that can help bridge the gap. Giffgaff has a forum moderated by other giffgaff customers who provide help in return for free credit.

EU Roaming

As a giffgaff member, you can enjoy roaming like at home in EU destinations. giffgaff also manages to keep charges fairly reasonable in other destinations, In Australia, e.g. calls cost £1 per minute to make and receive, texts are 30p to send and free to receive while data costs 20p per MB to use.

While giffgaff’s roaming fees aren’t unaffordable, the network covers little ground compared to some of its rivals. There are some better alternatives out there for roaming abroad.

Half Cooked’s Overall Breakdown

giffgaff provides affordable and flexible deals for all types of mobile customers with their range of goodybags. These SIM only plans can satisfy any customer from those looking for a low-value option to data-hungry users. Supported by O2’s network you’ll also be getting excellent 4G coverage and decent 5G coverage.

If flexibility and complete freedom are what you’re looking for, giffgaff is the mobile network for you. We give giffgaff 4 stars out of 5.

giffgaff Frequently Asked Questions

What are giffgaff goodybags?

A goodybag is giffgaff’s special bundle, which contains UK minutes, texts, and data. All goodybags last for 1 calendar month and can be used while you’re in the UK, the EU, and selected countries.

What are giffgaff Payback points?

Payback is giffgaff’s way of rewarding their customers for doing something that helps giffgaff and the giffgaff community. These rewards come back as Payback points or in some cases, customers might see it in their account in monetary terms.

– 1 Payback point = £0.01
– Payback payouts happen every 6 months, in June and December.
– Customers can choose to take their Payback as cash, credit, or a donation to charity.

Does giffgaff offer 5G? When does giffgaff roll out 5G Coverage?

giffgaff offers 5G thanks to their parent network O2. giffgaff 5g is available in 193 cities and towns in the UK.

Which network does giffgaff use?

giffgaff is a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) powered by O2’s British network. Owned by Telefónica (also O2’s owners), giffgaff was launched on 25 November 2009.

Does giffgaff do Data Only Sims?

No, giffgaff doesn’t offer any data only SIMs anymore, but in the past, they did offer this option.

Is it possible to get unlimited data on giffgaff?

Yes, giffgaff’s unlimited data plan is called “Always on Data”. It is giffgaff’s most expensive ‘goodybag’, with a £25 price tag on it. There’s a catch though, as only the first 80GB of data in this package is at full speed. Once you reach the cap of 80GB of data, the maximum download speed will be reduced to 384kbps between 8 am and midnight.
There’s also an unlimited Golden goodybag; comes without speed restrictions but has a data cap of 650GB per month.

Do goodybags rollover?

No, unfortunately, goodybags allowances do not rollover. The bundle will last a calendar month (30 days) and then it will simply expire and will be removed.

Does giffgaff offer any free use of social media apps?

At the time of writing, giffgaff doesn’t offer any free use of social media apps. If this is important to you, we’d recommend checking VOXI, as it offers endless social media usage for eight of the most popular social media apps.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Half Cooked’s overall rating for giffgaff: