giffgaff is known for low-cost SIM only plans and customer-focussed service. We take a close look at what it's got to offer.
Our giffgaff Mobile review in summary
With a range of SIM-only plans to suit every budget and excellent coverage, thanks to the backing of parent company O2, giffgaff does the simple things really well.
Its flexible, 30 day plans are attractive, especially at a time when affordability tends to be tied to ever longer deals.
However, its phone plans, which are essentially loans for devices over a set period, are not as enticing as those from bigger networks.
It also slows down data on its unlimited data packages after 80GB has been used, which is a big miss. Customer service is online only, with no dedicated team to speak with over the phone.
giffgaff Mobile SIM-only plans
SIM-only plans are where giffgaff really stands out. Its deals are affordable and straightforward and they're all available on a 30-day rolling contract.
Known as goodybags, they're completely flexible, allowing you to tweak your allowance every month depending on how much data you need.
Prices are low. At the time of writing, unlimited calls and texts, plus 1GB of 4G data cost just £6 a month.
At the top end, unlimited calls, texts and data comes in at £35 a month, although a fair usage policy does apply. If you use more than 80GB, you’ll find your access slowed down, or throttled.
Far better, in that case, to pay £30 a month for an 80GB deal instead.
You can secure £5 off if you recommend a friend. They’ll also get a fiver of credit too. Everyone wins.
giffgaff Mobile phone contract plans
This is where giffgaff falls down compared with major networks. As all its plans are 30 day SIM-only deals, its phone contracts are basically loans that you pay off over a two year period for a device on top of your monthly bill.
That said, you’re likely to get greater incentives and better all round packages on a monthly phone contract from the likes of Three, EE, Vodafone and O2.
giffgaff Mobile coverage
Giffgaff uses O2’s network, meaning users enjoy 99% coverage across the UK. That means it’s as good as the likes of Vodafone and Three and only just behind EE.
Considering the cost of its plans, this makes it highly attractive. It's still worth using its coverage checker, though, especially if you live in a rural area, or even checking the coverage across all top network providers.
giffgaff Mobile roaming
Unlike some major networks, giffgaff roaming is included in the EU and select European destinations.
That means you can call, text and go online at no extra cost, something EE, Vodafone and Three have rowed back on in recent months.
There is, however, a 20GB fair use limit, even if you’re on an unlimited plan. That’s not a deal breaker, especially if you’re only abroad for a few days.
giffgaff does not have roaming in place outside Europe, meaning you’ll either pay sky high fees to use your phone or have to stick it in airplane mode and make use of Wi-Fi instead.
giffgaff Mobile customer service
Giffgaff manages to keep costs down by making use of an online user community rather than a customer support team.
While that may not seem ideal, it came out top in a recent Ofcom report into mobile customer satisfaction.
Its onsite FAQ and community message boards are excellent and provide answers to even the most niche of questions.
giffgaff Mobile stores and offline experience
giffgaff does not have high street stores or offline services. Everything you need in terms of customer service can be found on its website.
giffgaff's Mobile deals and incentives
giffgaff goodybags SIM-only plans don’t come with any great incentives to speak of. If you want free music or video streaming, this is not the network for you.
You can, however, secure money off every time you recommend someone to them. That’s a solid incentive in itself, especially as its contracts are so affordable in the first place.
giffgaff Mobile pricing
giffgaff is on the lower end when it comes to pricing. Its flexible deals are great, although the cap on unlimited data is disappointing in today’s ever more generous mobile market.
The 30 day deals on offer mean you can’t drive down the price by locking in for longer as on other networks. But the fact you can switch to a different plan each month means that isn’t the end of the world.
Its phone contracts are broadly in line with its rivals, although you’re likely to find the same handset with better extras, such as streaming access on the cheap, with the major providers.
Pros and Cons of choosing giffgaff Mobile
- It’s cheap. SIM only plans that rival every network when it comes to value
- 30 day rolling contracts you can tweak any time
- Great coverage. Using O2’s network means 99% of UK covered
- Roaming still free in Europe
- No major incentives, such as free streaming
- Limited phone contract plans
- Lack of 12 month or 24 month deals
How does giffgaff mobile compare against other networks?
giffgaff stands out against other networks due to the simplicity of its plans.
They’re also affordable and flexible and are among the best on the market in that regard. Coverage is also up there with the very best.
The lack of value-adding extras and customer rewards is frustrating, but is offset by low prices.
The fact there are no 12 or 24 month deals does mean you can get cheaper plans elsewhere if you’re willing to sign up long term, with Three, BT Mobile and EE all offering excellent plans over 24 months.
The throttling of data beyond 80GB is disappointing, especially as major networks no longer indulge in similar ‘fair usage’ tricks.
What are the alternatives to giffgaff?
How does giffgaff compare against other networks?
See our reviews of other mobile networks: