Feb 21st, 2019
- PAYG or 1 month SIM contract flexibility
- Easy to switch between SIMO price plans
- Great coverage and 4G speeds
- Unlimited data plan option
- No credit checks
- Most complaints per 100k customers per Ofcom data
- Generally, more expensive plans
Half Cooked’s overall rating for giffgaff: (4 / 5)
Giff Gaff provides affordable and flexible deals for all consumers with their range of ‘goody bags’ that will satisfy any customer from those looking for a low value option to data hungry users. Supported by 02’s network you’ll also be getting excellent 4G coverage with good speeds.
Click here to go direct to giffgaff’s website and see their latest SIM offers.
Skip to the half cooked breakdown to find out how giffgaff performed in each of our main categories by clicking here.
Otherwise read on for our full review or skip to a specific section from choosing from the table of contents below.
Table of Contents
Network Coverage & Speeds (4 / 5)
Giffgaff is a virtual network running on the O2 network, as a result you will get the same coverage and speeds you would being an O2 customer.
Per Open Signal for H2 2017 O2 is tracking behind EE & Three in terms of data speeds with an average download speed on 4G of 15 MB/s vs EE who leads the way with 28MB/s.
However, O2 won the uSwitch mobile awards for 2018 for best network coverage. 02 has also recently invested further into rolling out its 4G coverage, with 4G coverage for 99% of the population indoors now available, with a few coastal and rural areas still only having 2G/3G coverage.
GiffGaff have a coverage checker on their site so you can see the network quality where you live before you purchase a SIM.
Voice Call Quality (3 / 5)
As giffgaff runs on the O2 network, we need to look at O2’s performance in recent voice call quality tests.
In tests run by P3 communications, an independent testing body who have widely been accepted as authorative and highly objective, O2 came last out of the major operators with a score of ‘satisfactory’.
O2 has launched 4G calling which should help boost this score, having launched after all the other major operators – but this is currently unavailable to giffgaff customers.
Tethering (4 / 5)
Tethering is a way of turning your smartphone into a mobile hotspot or portable Wi-Fi router. Turning on tethering creates a wireless connection from your phone’s SIM that can be connected to other Wi-Fi enabled devices.
Giffgaff offers Tethering on all ‘goodybags’ and airtime credit (PAYG). You can use all your data on tethering with the unlimited data plan SIM having a cap of 20GB.
International Roaming (3 / 5)
Like all other UK networks, per EU roaming regulations UK customers are no longer charged extra to make calls, send texts or use data within the EU.
Giffgaff also manages to keep charges fairly reasonable in other destinations, In Australia for 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.
Giffgaff has a roaming charges page, simply enter in the destination you are travelling to and you can find out exactly how much usage will cost you, to avoid any nasty surprises when you are back.
Despite this, it falls short on some of its competitors including Three who has ‘Go Roam’ which offers free roaming in 71 destinations worldwide.
Wi-Fi Calling & Wi-Fi Hotspots (1 / 5)
Giffgaff, unfortunately, doesn’t offer SIM customers inclusive Wi-Fi calling or Wi-Fi hotspots as some of the other more expensive operators do.
You will generally find the trend of not offering these perks amongst the cheaper MVNO operators to be able to offer the competitive price point they do.
Data Rollover (1 / 5)
Data rollover means you can roll your unused data from one month to the next. For e.g. if you have a 2GB plan and only use 1GB the following month you will have 3GB as the extra 1GB would be rolled over.
Giffgaff doesn’t currently offer data rollover – any data you don’t use is lost at the end of the month.
Spending Caps (3 / 5)
Because Giffgaff doesn’t work like a normal monthly SIM contract, there’s no option to set a spending cap as such.
You can only burn through the credit that you have on your account, if you use up your goody bag early you have the option of starting your new plan but if you need more data you will lose your remaining minutes and texts by starting your next goody bag. So although there are no spending caps, there also won’t be any nasty bill shocks.
Customer Rewards (4 / 5)
Giffgaff offer a unique opportunity to it’s customers to earn money for referring friends. If you refer a friend to giffgaff and they top up at least £10 of credit you earn £5, which can either be credited to your giffgaff account or alternatively twice a year this can be paid into a PayPal account.
No Credit Checks (4 / 5)
There are no credit checks on giffgaff when purchasing a SIM!
Being that giffgaff is effectively a PAYG service, bundles are paid for in advance of use with either topped up credit or automatic renewal via direct debit. There is no credit check needed to be passed to become a SIM only giffgaff customer.
Even if you are under 18, have poor credit or have recently moved into the UK you can get yourself a giffgaff SIM.
However, as you will see below, if you wish to purchase a phone via a loan from giffgaff then credit checks will apply.
Other Perks (2 / 5)
Providing a low-cost SIM product as Giffgaff does means they lack several the perks offered by the large operators.
Giffgaff has inclusive EU roaming due to the roaming regulations that went live in June 2017 but has not extended any free roaming to other countries such as Three with their ‘Go Roam’ proposition extending free roaming to at least 23 non-EU destinations.
You also won’t find any free social media streaming and data such as Three have with their ‘Go Binge’ package which offers unlimited data usage for specific applications.
There also isn’t a reward scheme in the form of free offers such as O2 priority has.
What giffgaff do offer is handset only purchasing including handsets such as iPhone, Sony, Samsung and Huawei.
With most the handsets on giffgaff you can either buy the phone outright or spread the cost over 6,12 or 24 months.
The benefit of giffgaff’s handset sales are that they are not attached to your giffgaff SIM, they are sold separately and the devices are unlocked so you don’t have to stick with giffgaff and can switch provider whenever you wish.
Despite this, the downside of separating the phone from the airtime means that giffgaff is no longer providing a service but in effect they are providing a short-term loan which means there are more financial regulations that giffgaff must meet and thus the credit checks will be tougher and those with poor credit ratings may find it more difficult to be accepted.
Customer Service (2 / 5)
To offer the competitive deals that giffgaff does they’ve 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 which can help bridge the gap. Giffgaff has a forum staffed by other giffgaff customers who provide help in return for free credit.
Giffgaff is suited to all types of customers by operating as a PAYG provider but with Giffgaff, customers have the flexibility to pay monthly with an auto renewal of your deal every month effectively turning the product into a SIM Only contract.
Customers can choose a ‘goodybag’ which automatically renews every 30 days and the deal can be changed each month dependent on changes in your usage. Alternatively, you can top up your account and manually purchase a ‘goodybag’ each month.
For those customers who hardly use their phone or stop using their phone for a period of time giffgaff are still a good choice as you can top up as a regular PAYG product and pay per use of minutes, text and data.
Half Cooked Overall Breakdown
Half Cooked’s overall rating for giffgaff:
(4 / 5)
- Network Coverage and Speeds – Great network coverage and good speeds, running on the reliable O2 network provides peace of mind but the speeds are still behind the likes of EE.
- Voice Call Quality – With a P3 Comms rating of satisfactory you won’t have any trouble making or receiving calls but this is still tracking behind the other networks.
- Tethering – giffgaff offers tethering across all its plans but throttles the unlimited ‘goodybag’ after exceeding 20GB.
- International Roaming -giffgaff manages to keep roaming charges cheaper than many of the competitors but is limited by not including any EU countries free to roam such as the likes of Three..
- Speeding Caps No spending caps available on giffgaff but you will never exceed the amount you have credited your account.
- No Credit Checks – No credit checks means anyone can become a giffgaff SIM customer but this doesn’t extend to handsets.
- Flexibility – Great flexibility, the option of using giffgaff as a pay monthly or pay as you go service and the ability to jump between different ‘goodybags’ provides flexibility to accommodate any customer’s needs.
- Handset Only Purchasing – Good range of handsets available to purchase from low end all the way to iPhones and Samsung Galaxy’s with the ability to spread the cost of these devices.
- Other Perks – To provide the competitive pricing giffgaff does, there isn’t many additional perks however their referral schemes means you could earn money by referring friends to join.
- Customer Service – Providing the competitive deals that giffgaff does comes at the expense of only having online customer support, this is helped by the great community giffgaff has built up but still a pain when you have a problem.
Order your free giffgaff SIM today by clicking here.