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
- £7.50 goodybag
- £10 goodybag
- £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.