giffgaff changes price plans, adds peak time speed restrictions for unlimited data

giffgaff is one of the UK's most successful MVNOs (mobile virtual network operator), attracting customers with its affordable 'goodybag' price plans, 30-day rolling contracts and unlimited data offerings. The carrier runs on the network of Telefónica's O2, which also owns giffgaff itself, and it has just announced changes to its goodybags and traffic management that will come into effect next month. 

From September 24th, giffgaff will launch a revised range of goodybags, although not all price points will be affected. Here's how the changes will affect the existing offering: 

  • £5 Hokey Cokey 
    No change.
  • £7.50 goodybag 
    No change.
  • £10 goodybag
    No change.
  • £12 goodybag
    250 minutes allowance doubled to 500 minutes; unlimited data removed, now limited to 3GB per month.
  • £15 goodybag
    ​Unlimited data removed, now limited to 5GB per month (see below for more info).
  • £20 goodybag
    ​Price reduced to £18 per month until March 2015.

The changes mean that the cheapest goodybag to offer unlimited data will now be the one priced at £18 (down from £20) per month, whereas previously, this feature was available for as little as £12. giffgaff explained: "We do understand that unlimited data is popular but it does create network problems that we are seeking to address with these changes." However, it points out that "79% of members on the £12 goodybag will be unaffected by the price change", based on how much data those customers actually consume each month. 

But for existing customers, who signed up to the carrier before August 21st, 2014, the carrier will continue to offer its current £15 goodybag, which includes 500 minutes and unlimited data. You must purchase this goodybag "within 60 days of the price change taking place" to keep the 'older' £15 offering active on your account after September 24th. 

The new goodybag range from that date will look like this: 

Note that these changes do not affect giffgaff's 4G goodybags, which have a different pricing and allowance structure.

In addition to the new price plans, giffgaff is also adding new 'Traffic Flow' network management measures to its unlimited data offering, "to protect your data experience, even during the busiest hours of the day". 

"Where members are using more than their fair share of network resource during the busiest hours," it says, "a 300 kilobits per second (kbps) restriction will be introduced for the remainder of the peak period." It adds that "a peer to peer speed restriction of 100 kbps during peak hours will also be introduced for these members." 

The carrier has also announced that it is working on "a project to improve our video optimisation capability", to reduce the amount of data required to stream a video over the network. 

Source: giffgaff 

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11 Comments

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GiffGaff is the most overrated network ever. I was with them for 2.5 years up until a year ago on the £10 goodybag. It was a measly 250 minutes and I always had dropped calls due to O2's rubbish coverage in my area.

I switched to Virgin pay monthly on their lowest tariff which was £7.50 for 150 minutes and 250 or 500mb web, can't remember which. After a few months with Virgin, I was ready to leave them for a good deal from 3. On calling to get my PAC code, I got put through through to Virgin retentions a who offered me an irresistible deal: 1200 minutes, 1gb web and unlimited texts for £6 on a 30 day rolling contract. I now get to speak to a human within a minute if there is an issue with my service and EE's coverage is great.

It just goes to show that jumping on the bandwagon doesn't always get you the best bang for your buck and that you can haggle the decent providers out there for a great deal

Still 3GB for £12 is pretty good. Here in Canada I have WIND so I get "unlimited" data (actually 5GB really) for about $45 taxes included (~£25). That's a legendary deal by Canadian standards but WIND coverage is far from universal as it's mostly in the big cities. After that you're roaming.

A typical incumbent carrier with far wider coverage will regularly charge over $100 for such usage. Indeed the "sub brands" that the incumbents all run will offer you "cheap" deals...where you get rubbish like 50MB data (yes 50...not a mis-type) for $35 (and you still need to add tax on to that). WHAT A DEAL!

The UK is pretty lucky when it comes to phone pricing.

Sandor said,
Still 3GB for £12 is pretty good. Here in Canada I have WIND so I get "unlimited" data (actually 5GB really) for about $45 taxes included (~£25). That's a legendary deal by Canadian standards but WIND coverage is far from universal as it's mostly in the big cities. After that you're roaming.

A typical incumbent carrier with far wider coverage will regularly charge over $100 for such usage. Indeed the "sub brands" that the incumbents all run will offer you "cheap" deals...where you get rubbish like 50MB data (yes 50...not a mis-type) for $35 (and you still need to add tax on to that). WHAT A DEAL!

The UK is pretty lucky when it comes to phone pricing.

The UK isn't lucky - its just that you guys over the pond are getting robbed.

That said, glad I joined 3 about a year ago. Never regretted the decision. 3G signal anywhere (O2s was very shabby), unlimited data and tethering and also 4G included free of charge. All for £15 a month. Giffgaff was good whilst it lasted.

Grayski said,
Was considering a move but I think I'll stick with 3 and my unlimited data thank you very much.

SK[ said,]I was considering Giffgaff when my contract ends. Looks like they helped me choose. 3 it is then :)

Just remember that 3 too cant provide unlimited data forever. As more people flock to 3 for their (currently) unlimited data, there will come a point where they too will struggle to provide what has been promised,

Salem874 said,


Just remember that 3 too cant provide unlimited data forever. As more people flock to 3 for their (currently) unlimited data, there will come a point where they too will struggle to provide what has been promised,

But more customers means more money to spend on infrastructure.

"to protect your data experience, even during the busiest hours of the day"

lol really? Don't you just love when the marketing drivel tries to make it sound like something good for the costumer. Total bollocks, they can't provide what they promised, simple as that.

Top Qat said,
"to protect your data experience, even during the busiest hours of the day"

lol really? Don't you just love when the marketing drivel tries to make it sound like something good for the costumer. Total bollocks, they can't provide what they promised, simple as that.

The problem is 3G network spectrum is finite. You can't simply add more bandwidth for users to use by plugging in say another network cable. You can't open the signal it uses to allow more users on it with more bandwidth.

So, it's not total bollocks, just mostly.

Unfortunately, there are users who think nothing of buying unlimited bandwidth on one of these finite shared resources and running torrents on it eating up the majority of bandwidth on the 3G signal in localised areas. In a large city that can be a huge problem as multiple users try and connect and are hampered by a few select users using all the bandwidth.

3G is fast, but really it's only meant for burst downloads.

Now if you were talking about a wired connection such as Cable or DSL, then I'd agree with you, it is total bollocks, the service provider simply isn't upgrading the network, but that's not the case here.

Personally, I'd prefer it if users who were abusing the service were removed rather then everyone else being punished for it. Of course, that's just as bad as punishing everyone else if they're offering unlimited.... 'unlimited'

Then they (or anyone else) should never have offered an 'unlimited' mobile data package in the first place. Marketing ###### as usual.

The term unlimited is bs as a whole. I tend to avoid companies that say stuff is unlimited unless it is something like texting (which should of been unlimited from start imo).