Back in November, giffgaff officially launched its 4G service, following a trial period among members of the low-cost operator's user community. Unfortunately, those signing up to the carrier's 4G 'goodybags' - the colourful term it uses to describe its rolling monthly price plans - found that they were unable to get more than 5GB of data per month, making it unsuitable for power users.
However, giffgaff is now completely overhauling its goodybag range, making 4G data inclusive on all options. However, it's not entirely good news, as the revisions will see some members getting less for the same money under the new pricing structure, as Coolsmartphone points out.
The old £12 goodybag offered 500 minutes of calls, unlimited texts and 3GB of 3G data. The new £12 goodybag has the same minutes and texts, but only 2GB of 4G data. giffgaff says that 76% of those on its existing £12 goodybag use less than 2GB a month - although this offers little comfort to the remaining 24% who will be disadvantaged by the change.
It's a similar story with the £15 goodybag, which goes down from 5GB to 4GB, although it does now get double the talktime, jumping from 500 minutes a month up to 1000.
Perhaps the most significant change, though, will be at the top of giffgaff's price plan structure. Its most premium offering, the £20 goodybag, used to offer 2000 minutes of calls, unlimited texts and unlimited 3G data. However, giffgaff has now shaken things up, ditching the unlimited data offering.
Instead, the new £20 goodybag now offers unlimited voice minutes, but instead of getting unlimited 4G data, you'll get something called 'Always On data' instead. Here's how giffgaff explains that:
The Always On goodybag offers members 4G speeds on the first 6GB of data used and then access to unlimited data at a restricted speed from 8am until midnight. We have chosen a speed of 256 kilobits per second that allows members to still use regular data services whilst reducing demand on the network.
The operator justifies this by explaining that "most Unlimited members don't use anything like 6GB so the only differences will be that they can now enjoy 4G at no extra cost and can use their first 6GB for tethering."
giffgaff says it's 'helping the transition' to its new 4G goodybags by continuing to offer the current £20 Unlimited goodybag available until 12 January 2016, and the existing £12 plan until 1 March 2016. After that, the new 4G plans will come into effect, although in response to criticism from its community over the new goodybags, giffgaff has said that it will review the decision to end the existing £12 3G plan in March.
The new goodybags will be introduced on 2 September 2015, and to celebrate their launch, giffgaff will be increasing its 'access charge' for calls to non-geographic numbers (those starting 084, 087, 09 or 118) from 15p to 25p per minute.