I’ve owned a mobile since before the turn of the century – not the same one, as the Nokia 5110 is now fit as a museum exhibit – and I’ve been incredibly loyal to a citrus based network until being wooed by Scottish Gaelic.
The reason for my 12 year loyalty to Orange (pay-as-you-go) is partly because I found the brand trendy – when I was young enough to really care – but also because they used to have a product called Text Saver, which for £19.99 per year would give you five free standard rate texts a day. I joined Orange before this product arrived, but it was this that kept me on. I hardly phone people, so this was perfect.
By the mid-noughties the product was phased out, but, incredibly, Orange enabled permanent Text Saver on my account for free. There was no reason to try and break the shackles, and so I’ve stuck with Orange. Until today.
giffgaff persuaded me to defect and lose my permanent reward because my mobile habits have, and are about to change. I value data a bit more and a particular social networking site has meant that I directly text core people less than ever. On doing a bit of basic maths I worked out that giffgaff may on occasion cost me more per month than Orange (about 50-75p!), but there’s more value in their offer. For a £5 goody-bag, which is equivalent to an Orange Extra, or can be seen as an optional pay monthly package, you get 300 UK texts a month – not restricted to five a day, although I do often use less than that – and 60 mins of UK calls.
Now, while I did get 180 texts gratis through Orange (150 over a month + 30 free web texts), data was a bit iffy. You could have unlimited daily mobile internet for an eye-watering cap of £2 (£60 pm), or opt for an Orange Extra which gives 250mb per month for £5. The Extra is not bad, but giffgaff provide unlimited (fair use, non-commercial) mobile internet for 20p a day, which works out as under £5 per month. This is much nicer, and with WiFi phone connectivity I don’t have to spend 20p every single day, which is what a £5 Orange Extra would be like. Furthermore, with 60 mins national calls for a non-garrulous person like myself, and 120 more texts more than I’m used to, I will probably be topping up less often than usual aside from the goody-bag. If any friends jump on the giffgaff ship, calls and texts to them will be entirely free as long as I top up once a season.
The reason why you don’t hear much about giffgaff offline is because they are an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator). They, like Tesco Mobile, use O2‘s infrastructure, thus you can even use O2 vouchers to top-up your phone. But you get better prices!
giffgaff are a SIM only company though, so you either need to unlock your existing phone (perhaps not if you already are locked to O2) or get a SIM free one. Given the comparatively unremarkable features of other PAYG operators – giffgaff beat Orange and the other big guys even on standard charges – and shaky contract deals, giffgaff works out as a significant cost saver.
I’ve only been using giffgaff for a little while but it works fine. Good signal – which is from O2. Other customers rave about it too, so why not give it a go? Unfortunately, giffgaff is for Brits only.