giffgaff reveals 4G price plans - but 2GB is all the data you'll get

4G is becoming increasingly popular in the UK, where the advent of competition in the market has finally unleashed better deals for consumers. After EE launched its 4G network back in 2012, O2, Vodafone, Three and Tesco Mobile have all launched fourth-generation mobile services, with many other networks and virtual operators now planning their own 4G launches.

giffgaff signalled its intentions to launch 4G services back in October, promising a rollout beginning in early 2014. The carrier – which uses O2’s physical network, and is also owned by O2’s parent company Telefónica – has now announced its first 4G plans… but they may not be quite what you were expecting.

giffgaff has built up a considerable following among British handset users, thanks to its keenly priced plans, or ‘goodybags’, many of which include unlimited data bundles from just £12 a month, with no long-term contracts. But data-hungry users will find nothing for them in giffgaff’s new 4G plans, with a maximum of just 2GB a month on offer.

The entry-level 4G goodybag is priced at £10, and includes 500MB, 250 minutes of cross-network minutes and unlimited texts. For £12 a month, you can get the same deal but with 2GB of data instead. At £15 a month – the top 4G tier – you’ll get the same as the £12 goodybag, but with 500 minutes. If you go over the amount of data included in your goodybag, you’ll be charged the same as on 3G plans – £0.02 per megabyte.

All existing 3G goodybags will be unaffected, so if you’ve got one with unlimited data, you can carry on using it as normal. It seems that giffgaff has taken the position – after consulting extensively with its community of users, or "members" – that its customers want either fast speed or lots of data, but not both. In a blog post, the company referred to feedback from its users “who told us in the 4G member survey that they prioritise a high data allowance over speed of connection”, which led to the decision to leave the existing 3G goodybags untouched.

Customer feedback also explains why the carrier is launching such a limited range of low-cost plans for its 4G service. giffgaff says that one of the aims of its 4G launch is to “deliver a great value 4G offering at the price points which are important to our members – these were identified as £10-£15 in the 4G member survey.”

In a later forum post, giffgaff added that “every MB of data usage on the network costs money for giffgaff as a business, so data allowances need to be carefully thought through” to ensure they are viable for the business in the long term. giffgaff's CEO said in February 2012 that unlimited data plans are not sustainable. It is possible too that giffgaff's parent, O2, did not relish the prospect of giving its users unlimited 4G bandwidth at low cost, while it is still playing catch up to EE in building its nationwide 4G network. 

So, for the time being at least, giffgaff customers can choose only between 4G speeds with fairly limited data, or surfing the web at 3G speeds but with no download limits. Those wanting unlimited 4G data will have to look elsewhere, to the likes of Three.

giffgaff will launch its 4G plans early next month, but existing customers can sign up for a 4G trial now, which will continue throughout the year. An exclusive £10 goodybag, which includes 1GB of 4G data, 500 minutes and unlimited texts, will also be available. Those who sign up to the trial will be invited to participate in surveys and give feedback that will help to shape giffgaff’s future 4G services. 

Source: giffgaff | images via giffgaff

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26 Comments

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You guys are forgetting the most important part about giffgaff. Payback, I basically bnever topped up since I earn over £20 a month anyway. And 4g? Thats just a gimmick which will die out just like 3D did. Theres hardly good 3g coverage and they intorudcing 4g.

Im on GG, pay £12 for unlimited data and texts and 250 minutes on 3g. 3g is fast enough for me, I hardly ever stream videos and if I do its either at home or a full 3g signal which loads quick enough for a youtube video.
But its good that they've started rolling it out and maybe if they get a large uptake they can adjust their bundles accordingly, provided they don't change the 3g bundles!

The one that is saying he is using 5G already, where is this? I know South Korea will launch their 5G in 2018 and it will be worldwide in 2020.

belto said,
The one that is saying he is using 5G already, where is this? I know South Korea will launch their 5G in 2018 and it will be worldwide in 2020.

That guy might be a network owner or a tester for 5G and see if everything goes smooth.. If so, they will open to public on time.. otherwise if not, they will put delay if needed and fix the network problems.

And in meantime, they plan to install 5G towers or whatever they use in the exciting towers in some areas and make sure everything is working. So it will be open maybe sooner or later.

Wait, are you talking about Yusuf M? If so, that is data usage... Not 5G... It is 5GB that he gets each month.

My main problem with Three is the lack of a 2G fallback, their 3G covers most places but I don't think it's so great in the countryside.

I will be sticking with GG for now, Three don't have much coverage in my city anyway for 4G. I'm currently using less than 1 GB per month due to Wifi at home and work. It is a shame they aren't offering higher caps for those who actually want to pay for it, 2 GB isn't going to go too far for people who stream a lot on the go.

AoM_Scott said,
My main problem with Three is the lack of a 2G fallback, their 3G covers most places but I don't think it's so great in the countryside.

Might be worth looking at ovivo in a second phone for those spots where you don't get signal on 3

That said most places seems to get coverage on 3 thesedays.

Switched from GG to 3 last september - feeling pretty good by that move now. As others have mentioned it's nice to have HSPA everywhere at the very least, let alone the usage caps.

At least giffgaff give it's users the chance to say what they want , unlike the others

I'm quite happy with my £10 giffgaff on 3G here so I won't be changing!

I've been with giffgaff for 2 years now. I get the £12 unlimited 3G one, but now with 4G I'll pay the same amount for only 2GB. I've already used 7GB in 2 weeks. I don't want to sacrifice download limits for speed. 3 is looking pretty tempting at the moment.

Completely agree.
It's hard to believe people with smartphones are still worrying about and running out of data when they could be on 3

londan said,
Completely agree.
It's hard to believe people with smartphones are still worrying about and running out of data when they could be on 3

Also agree. The amount of customers 3 must be getting lately. I could easily say they are the best network in the UK atm.

ThisIsStockerHD said,

Also agree. The amount of customers 3 must be getting lately. I could easily say they are the best network in the UK atm.

Totally agree, I always find i have HSPA+ in places where friends on other networks have Edge, or even no signal at all.

I also like not having to worry about data, even more so that im only paying £10 a month.

FloatingFatMan said,
Being on 3 is of little use when they don't cover your area with their 4G signal.
Not that GiffGaff do, either...

I moved from GiffGaff to 3 not long ago, on Giffgaff 3g I got 4mb download speed, on 3 I now get 26mb download speed (still on 3g)

Their network is much, much faster

I have a plan with 5GB LTE data and I rarely use over 1GB. If you're at home, you should always be connected to a WiFi network. If you're at work, same deal. The only time I use data is when I'm outside and I avoid streaming videos. That's what uses up your data the most.

Yusuf M. said,
The only time I use data is when I'm outside and I avoid streaming videos. That's what uses up your data the most.

So do you avoid video because you don't want to watch them or because you know it'll eat your data fast? If the latter then having more data would be useful.

Yusuf M. said,
I have a plan with 5GB LTE data and I rarely use over 1GB. If you're at home, you should always be connected to a WiFi network. If you're at work, same deal. The only time I use data is when I'm outside and I avoid streaming videos. That's what uses up your data the most.

That's right. That's what I use. I have 2gb on mine and it has been half of 1GB most of time since I got tablet. I use wireless most of time. If I want to watch the videos, I use the wireless network for that.

i_was_here said,

So do you avoid video because you don't want to watch them or because you know it'll eat your data fast? If the latter then having more data would be useful.
Neither. I don't enjoy watching videos on the go. I do my media consumption at home.

fastcat said,
Before complaining, one should compare them with what the competitors offer.

People already have. Three UK offers all you can eat 4G for the same cost as its 3G plans.

fastcat said,
Before complaining, one should compare them with what the competitors offer.

I'll stick with Three. Unlimited data for less than £15 pcm (30-day rolling contact)