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Giffgaff UK to Boost 4G Mobile Plans from 26th February 2020

Thursday, Jan 23rd, 2020 (4:55 pm) - Score 7,907
giffgaff logo uk

Mobile operator giffgaff looks set to refresh several of their 4G mobile “goodybag” plans from 26th February 2020, which will see some data (mobile broadband) allowances being boosted and all of their tariffs – even the cheapest ones – gaining access to unlimited calls and texts. On the flip side, pay-as-you-go users will suffer a huge hike!

The changes exclude giffgaff’s £10, £12 and £15 goodybags because they were improved last August 2019 and so will remain the same. As David Caton, Head of Propositions, said: “From 26 February 2020, we’re going to be making some exciting changes to goodybags. You won’t need to do anything to take advantage of these changes, they’ll just happen automatically on every one of the following goodybags that starts after the 26th.” Otherwise this is how their plans will look from the end of next month.

NOTE: Goodybags allow you to cancel your plan anytime.
Price per month Data Minutes Texts
£6 500 MB 300 Unlimited 500 Unlimited
£8 2 GB 500 Unlimited Unlimited
£10 6 GB Unlimited Unlimited
£12 10 GB Unlimited Unlimited
£15 15 GB Unlimited Unlimited
£20 40 GB 80 GB Unlimited Unlimited
£25 Always On* (80GB at full speed) Unlimited Unlimited

We should point out that the “Always On” plan isn’t quite the same as a true “unlimited” tariff, like on Three UK or Vodafone, in that after gobbling 40GB 80GB of data (yes they’ll double it next month) you’ll experience a reduced data speed of 384Kbps from 8am to Midnight. So you’ll still be able to go online, albeit at a slower speed than a copper ADSL line from nearly 20 years ago. Hurray. Giffgaff is also an O2 based Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO).

One negative from this announcement is that those who simply use giffgaff’s pay-as-you-go (payg) rates will be charged a lot more from the same date. As such the cost of calls will jump from 15p to 25p per minute, while the cost of a single text goes from 5p to 10p and picture messages (MMS) will rise from 16p to 30p. Now that’s a huge hike but lately we’ve seen quite a few mobile operators move to make payg plans unattractive and that’s sad.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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29 Responses
  1. Avatar photo David says:

    I used to work as an Agent – the amount of complaints I used to get about the “full speed data” being crippled most of the time were probably around 40 a day. So I tried it for myself – lucky to get 400kbps (this was when it was 20GB full speed) I managed to get through 3GB in a month – bear in mind we were around he UK a lot at gg events.. I feel sorry for anyone who chooses giffgaff these days with so much competition in the unlimited PAYG with contract style offerings area

    The fact they pay people every 6 months to type tripe on their forums has always amazed me – it’s like trying to buy customers and loyalty. Well, no trying about it.

    1. Avatar photo Tom says:

      I’m so glad I read this. I knew full well traffic management was happening. I bought a giffgaff SIM for my iPad some time ago and speed was crappy. They said nothing was wrong. O2’s network is generally pretty poor though now.

    2. Avatar photo Name says:

      Well, GG is a MVNO on the slowest mobile network in the UK. What to expect?

    3. Avatar photo Lee Cunningham says:

      I didn’t know this, and have been a customer for over 3 years. I just thought – stupidly; naively? – that the slow speeds I was frequently encountering were par for the course for all mobile providers. That is, 4g technology just did that

      I was clearly wrong, and the time has come to change providers

      As a man who knows his stuff, which of the providers do you reckon’ give the best bang for your buck? I’d obv. check as to coverage before jumping ship to them

      I’d appreciate your view, mate.



  2. Avatar photo chris conder says:

    I am nearly always in a wifi zone so don’t need data. Data is going to continue getting more expensive with every mobile operator I think.

    I have been with giffgaff for years. They just get better and better, and free unlimited calls for £6 is amazing. I love giffgaff. and I am not an agent.

    1. Mark-Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      In fairness, on mobile, data has been progressively getting cheaper for years (not unlike fixed lines but there are different economics at work). The fact you have any unlimited plans at all today is a testament to that.

  3. Avatar photo Arthur says:

    Calls and texts cost network virtually nothing that’s why they give you unlimited
    It’s the data that cost’s money giffgaff are un competitive I pay £8 get measly 2Gig data and its slow snail pase other networks for £10 give you 8Gig

    1. Avatar photo Pezza says:

      Smarty give you 30GB a month and unlimited text and calls for that £10 a month… Giffgaff can not touch that value.

    2. Avatar photo Terry O'Toole says:

      Smarty’s 30GB for £10 is an outlier, but you sacrifice being able to take advantage of 3’s 800 MHz 4G coverage & associated VoLTE, as well as not having WiFi calling meaning you’re relying on 3’s 1800/2100 MHz network coverage which is a disadvantage in general for indoor reception, and is a problem for all MVNOs using 3 or EE’s network, BT & ID mobile excluded. While some people may not have issues with relying on either network without having access to their Band 20/800 MHz layer or WiFi calling, many others (myself included) regard it as a lost cause. I have to strike out the likes of Smarty, Superdrug mobile and most EE MVNOs for this reason, no matter how cheap or good value they are.

    3. Avatar photo Yorkiebar99 says:

      Smarty will be introducing WiFi calling very soon I’m told. I’m at a loss as to why they won’t allow MVNOs that they own to use band 20. Makes no sense to me.

    4. Avatar photo Pezza says:

      @Terry that’s a fair argument about the 800MHZ, I’ll grab a Three sim and see if it makes any difference for me. But they are bringing WiFi calling to the network so it won’t matter as much of it doesn’t support the frequency.

    5. Avatar photo Gary says:

      Terry you are incorrect. Smarty works fine on band 20 (800mhz). They don’t have VoLTE, but spreading disinformation about no data on band 20 is nonsense.

    6. Avatar photo Pezza says:

      Ah my bad, I’ll never be able to use band 20 800MHZ without changing my phone, I use an iPhone and they’ve never supported 800MHZ, only 850MHZ. That explains a lot and did google and Smarty does support band 20 800MHZ as advised above. I did read one comment by someone that seemed to sum it up – It seems the US giant wants to infect the rest of the world with the fractured American wireless standards…. Maybe Apple will do 5G properly instead?

    7. Avatar photo Gary says:

      Penza: I’m not sure what you mean. UK iPhones support band 20, if they didn’t half the people on o2 & Vodafone wouldn’t be getting any 4G service what so ever. You can dial *3001#12345#* on your iPhone to see the band you’re connected to. Mine is connected to band 20 now with freq_band_ind = 20. It has to be as that is the only band o2 provide here.

    8. Avatar photo Pezza says:

      @Gary, band 20 yes, 800MHZ no, and it’s on the tech specs in Apples UK website. Check it for yourself, only has the 850MHZ frequency.

    9. Avatar photo Gary says:

      Pezza: You are incorrect. Band 20 LTE is 800 MHz, and iPhone’s have this band. 850 MHz is band 5 LTE, and i am not aware of any British network using this band.

      Apple website only lists frequencies for GSM & Edge i.e the 2G network, and the 850 MHz they list is for USA, we used the 900 MHz & 1800 MHz band for 2G.

    10. Avatar photo Terry O'Toole says:

      @Gary – would you care to provide a source for your claim, preferably an official one?

      Allowing customers to use 3’s Band 20 coverage layer without being able to make use of it for VoLTE is not good technical practice at all. Fine if your service provision is data only, but none of Smarty’s products are that – they all include calls as standard and are promoted as such (along with unlimited SMS). Thus you bring about scenarios where a subscriber can have “full bars” of signal strength on their phone, but can’t make or receive calls – tech savvy customers may know what’s going on, but the rest likely will be confused. It’s why EE & 3 themselves don’t allow it unless you have (a) a handset they can support, and (b) be on an appropriate tariff, which is less of an issue for 3 here.

      As it stands, Smarty say that at present they don’t support VoLTE or WiFi calling.

      “We don’t currently support Supervoice (VoLTE) or WiFi calling. We’re hoping to offer these services in the near future.”


      Of course, nothing to say that they won’t or can’t provide it in the future & they probably will at some point, but it’s a case of “believe it when I see it” when they offer it. Simply saying “coming soon” is not something to rely upon for any mobile network or telecoms provider, not just Smarty of 3.

    11. Avatar photo Gary says:

      Terry, rather than just spouting twoddle of what you think why dont you actually try the service out. Proof is in the pudding. No wonder the internet has so much disinformation.

      My source is my actual router, a Huawei B525. It connects absolutely fine using Smarty to band 20, in fact this is the default frequency the router connects when turned on as the signal is stronger. The router eventually swaps to band 3 or 1 down the line if i don’t force it sooner.

      Plenty on people using both Three and Smarty over on think broadband forum, all who will validate band 20 being usable, along with the many threads.

      I can even connect to band 20 across three local masts that have multiple frequencies available. As expected speed isn’t great as there is only 37.5mb to go around.

      As I said above, VoLTE is not available on Smarty, this has no effect on band 20 being usable on Three\Smarty. When making a phone call using the Smarty simcard the network pushes the router back down to 3G, just as it does it i put my Three simcard in.

    12. Avatar photo Terry O'Toole says:

      @ Garry “Terry, rather than just spouting twoddle of what you think why dont you actually try the service out. Proof is in the pudding. No wonder the internet has so much disinformation.”

      Maybe because I have no desire to sign up to such a network that doesn’t provide a prepaid service. As for your Band 20 claim, this is a quirk/bug/feature of 3’s network concerning some recent Huawei 4G modem/routers which allows many sim cards that would otherwise not normally be able to avail of the Band 20 layer to do so. This isn’t just something limited to 3 or Smarty, this applies to any MVNO using 3’s network – in fact it existed before Smarty even started. I would bet that if you took the Smarty SIM out of the Huawei router and inserted it into a phone that can avail of Band 20 but 3 doesn’t provide Supervoice/VoLTE support for, the sim will not be able to connect to the Band 20 layer.

      So technically on a VERY LIMITED basis, a Smarty sim can connect to 3’s Band 20 layer at least with some models of Huawei 4G modem/routers, but at present it will not do so on any standard smartphone. For all practical purposes, the large majority of Smarty customers will be using their sim in a smartphone, thus at present cannot access the Band 20 layer with their device even if only for data use. And even in the Huawei modem/router scenario, for non-VoIP calling it can’t fall back to the 3G 2100 MHz layer if it can’t find it! The point of 3’s promotion of their Band 20 coverage is for them to be able to reach customers that their 1800/2100 MHz net can’t reach, and it’s the reason why both 3 and EE don’t allow all their customers to use their Band 20 coverage layers. Maybe in future you should get your own house in order before jumping in and accusing others of spreading misinformation or spouting twaddle. As I said originally, it is for this reason why Smarty is not a network I would consider for general mobile use, and that’s down to my own years of experience.

    13. Avatar photo Pezza says:

      @Gary, sorry but I’m afraid your wrong, on Apples very own UK website they clearly show the cellular specs for the iPhone and it only supports the 850MHZ band, please your more than welcome to provide proof to show otherwise. I would find it very strange for a company like Apple to only advertise US frequencies and bands for foreign markets where they are not always supported.

    14. Avatar photo Pezza says:

      @Gary, well I got a PAYG 3 sim today, and it indeed gets a steady 4G signal where the Smarty sim will only get a 3G signal hmm.. so much for sharing the same masts or signal frequencies! Not very good at all, I may test some other SIMS.

  4. Avatar photo Naveed says:

    I wonder if you can use 80GB of data with Giffgaff in a month. They send you threatening text and email messages of your data consumption reaches around 1 GB in 24 hours.

    1. Avatar photo Web Dude says:

      I was lucky enough to spot the £17/ month Smarty deal for 100 GB of data.

      It’s not the fastest, but I am using multiple phones and laptops via my iPhone on 3G and 4G, and used over 80 GB in the first month, so getting well over 1 GB a day 🙂

  5. Avatar photo VipBoss says:

    Been Using GiffGaff For 11 Years
    I’m using £15 (15GB) GoodyBag Now,
    Previously £20 (As I Don’t Use Much)
    Because I have iPad & iMac in Use
    No Problems at all, Perfect Signal

    Simply The Best Network in The World

    1. Avatar photo Andrew says:

      Because you’ve tried them all (recently).

      I could list multiple issues I’ve had with GiffGaff. They’re not perfect, and capitalizing your claim doesn’t necessarily make it true.

      I’ve noticed a pattern of behaviour in which people really WANT the products and services that they use to be perfect / the best / perfectly reviewed…

  6. Avatar photo Oliver says:

    I’m a little surprised by the negativity – I’ve never had a problem using Giffgaff’s service, regularly get good (if not great) speeds and have never been throttled, and I don’t think I’m an especially light user.

    This is almost certainly a response to Smarty, who remain cheaper. This is still competitive, and the best alternative if you don’t want to move onto 3’s network.

    In general, the prices of calls, messages and data have all cratered over the past decade. £6 for unlimited UK calls and texts is ridiculously good value if you don’t use data (yes, these people do exist). I recently went to Spain and didn’t pay an additional penny. The 80gb of data for £20 means I don’t need to pay an extra for fixed broadband saving me £18 a month.

  7. Avatar photo Adrean says:

    I think the £20 giffgaff deal is a good one. Not sure about the technical stuff people are talking about. I’ll road test it and see for myself.
    It’s better than my current ASDA £20 for 12gb of data. I’ll leave a review after a few weeks and let everyone know how I got on.

  8. Avatar photo Stephen Thornhill says:

    Wife and I use giffgaff for years O2 coverage a bit pants otherwise it’s fine kids all have it as well all use 15gb + data a month never complained about speed.
    Works v well with roaming in Spain and Greece hopefully will continue pay brexshit to be included in data allowance packages.
    Not sure but seem to recall smarty only data allowance only works in uk.

  9. Avatar photo Jack says:

    It’s either Vodafone or EE for data at this time. O2 and Three seem to have a lot and I mean ALOT of issues with data congestion and speed limitations in areas. Central Manchester (Arndale) on O2 is non existent for data at all despite 4-5 bars signal 4G. Three is over congested with people who just want unlimited data on the cheap making ping and delay too high to load a simple video and there signal is dire. EE on the other hand seems to be 4 bars or 5 all the time sometimes flicking over to 2G in outer town areas. Vodafone have the best coverage with 90% 4G at full bars. Bear in mind I have been on all 4 networks and this will vary to my specific areas I travel to.

Comments are closed

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