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Giffgaff Ltd.
Industry Telecommunications
Founded Slough, Berkshire, United Kingdom (25 November 2009)
Founder Gav Thompson[1]
Headquarters Uxbridge, Greater London, United Kingdom[2]
Area served
United Kingdom
Key people
Ash Schofield (CEO)
Sarah Harvey (CFO)[3]
Products Mobile telecommunications products and services
Owner Telefónica

Giffgaff (stylised "giffgaff") is a mobile telephone network running as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) using the United Kingdom O2 network. Owned by O2's owners Telefónica,[4] Giffgaff was launched on 25 November 2009.[5]


In 2010, Giffgaff won two industry awards: the Forrester Groundswell Award in November, also the Most Innovative Community Award at the Social CRM Customer Excellence Awards.[6][7] In November, Giffgaff was nominated for the Marketing Society's Brand of the Year, but lost to the department store John Lewis.[8]

In June 2012, Giffgaff was named best MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) in the Mobile Industry Awards.[9]

In 2014, Giffgaff won the Which? best telecom services provider award.[10]

Since 2014, giffgaff has won the uSwitch Network of the Year, for 6 consecutive years. As of 2018 giffgaff has changed the always on bundle to 20GB.

Products and services[edit]

At launch, the first product was a prepaid SIM card providing all standard 2G and 3G mobile phone services, charged on a pay as you use basis. After launch, bundles of minutes, texts and data, called "goodybags", were introduced. The idea for bundles emerged from the community forums.

In June 2012 it was announced that customers would be able to set goodybags to renew automatically once a debit or credit card was saved on the site.[11]

On 17 October 2012 Giffgaff added data-only goodybags, called gigabags, to their lineup of products.[12]

In March 2014 Giffgaff announced that it would add a line of 4G LTE goodybags available for purchase from April 2014.[13]

In May 2014 Giffgaff announced that they were now an official Apple carrier,[14] which was closely followed by another announcement that they would soon be stocking iPhones in their online shop – this would unlock options on iPhones that would have normally been locked for users, including tethering and voicemail options. iPhone devices were on sale from 4 June 2014.[15]

Customer service[edit]

Giffgaff has no customer service phone lines. Non-account specific problems are raised via an online message board system and are answered by other Giffgaff members, in exchange for "payback points", which are exchanged twice a year for cash via PayPal or account credit. Account-specific queries are directed to "agents", who are employed by Giffgaff. If neither of these avenues resolve the issues, there is a dedicated complaint team, and responding to complaints can take up to five working days.[16]


As of September 2015, all of Giffgaff's 'goodybags'[17] come with 4G data included at no extra cost. If the user doesn't have a 4G ready device or is not in a 4G area, the device will connect to O2's 3G service.


Unlimited internet[edit]

After goodybags with unlimited internet allowance were introduced, complaints were made to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) from customers who had their internet access disabled. The reason given by Giffgaff for their disconnection was a clause in the terms and conditions stating [We may disconnect you] "if you do anything...which we reasonably think adversely impacts the Service to other Giffgaff customers or may adversely affect the Network". The complaint was not upheld by the ASA who concluded that unlimited internet was advertised correctly. Giffgaff noted that their customer service agents had used the clause above incorrectly and promised to rectify this.[18]

Advertising campaigns[edit]

In May 2013 Giffgaff ran an online and television advertising campaign with the strapline "Don't be scared" which featured zombies converging on a village. Although the television advert appeared after the 9pm watershed, the ASA received 105 complaints. The ASA did not uphold the complaints, stating that it was not in breach of any BCAP rules.[19]

In October 2013 Giffgaff ran two adverts in an online campaign with the strapline "Different takes guts". The advert featured a crowd of people dressed in white in an empty swimming pool throwing guts at each other. The ASA upheld the complaints that the content was in violation of BCAP rules for harm and offence and also BCAP rule 5.2 because the advert was not suitably age rated. It was recommended that the advert not appear again in its current form.[20]

In August 2014 Giffgaff ran three adverts in an online campaign with the strapline "At home with your parents you're not the boss" which featured siblings being subjected to awkward situations with their parents, one of which was reported to the ASA and featured an adult son walking in on his parents as they were engaged in sexual intercourse. The ASA upheld the complaint that the content was in violation of BCAP rule 4.1 for harm and offence and recommended that the advert not appear again in its current form[21]

In April 2018 Giffgaff ran an advert with the strapline "Stay because you want to stay" which features a girl recites a poem about small being better than big and staying because you want to stay in this unusual retro-looking TV and the song that’s heard at the end of the ad was Hong Kong Garden


  1. ^ "Case Study: giffgaff". Figaro digital. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  2. ^ "Giffgaff makes a spooktacular move to Uxbridge". Giffgaff blog. Retrieved 10 April 2013. 
  3. ^ "The Team". Retrieved 20 September 2013. 
  4. ^ "Our brands | Acerca de Telefónica | Telefónica". Retrieved 2016-09-13. 
  5. ^ Bradshaw, Tim (3 January 2010). "Original ideas suggest customer knows best". Financial Times. Retrieved 13 January 2010. 
  6. ^ Elliot, Nate. "Winners Of The 2010 Forrester Groundswell Awards (Consumer International)". Forrester blog. Forrester Groundswell. Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  7. ^ giffgaff: winner of Most Innovative Community award (20 May 2010). "Social CRM Excellence award". Retrieved 23 December 2010. 
  8. ^ "2010 Marketing Society Brand of the year finals". 19 November 2010. Retrieved 23 December 2010. 
  9. ^ "Winners 2012". Mobile Industry Awards. Mobile Today. Retrieved 27 August 2012. 
  10. ^ "Why Giffgaff is our best telecom services provider 2014". Which? 2014. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  11. ^ Cutlab, Gary. "GiffGaff Goes Semi-Contract With its "Recurring Goodybags"". Gizmodo. Gizmodo UK. Retrieved 15 March 2014. 
  12. ^ Cutlag, Gary. "GiffGaff Unlocks Tethering Potential With Gigabags Mobile Data Plans". Gizmodo. Gizmodo UK. Retrieved 15 March 2014. 
  13. ^ Campbell, Matthew. "Giffgaff to launch 4G service in April". Mobile Today, Industry. Mobile Today. Retrieved 15 March 2014. 
  14. ^ "iPhone carrier profile". Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  15. ^ "iPhone coming soon to giffgaff". Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  16. ^ "Has GiffGaff become too popular for its own good? – CNET". CNET. 12 December 2011. Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  17. ^ "SIM Only Deals and Plans | giffgaff". Retrieved 2015-09-05. 
  18. ^ "ASA Adjudication on giffgaff Ltd A12-192632". Adjudications. Advertising Standards Agency. Retrieved 15 March 2014. 
  19. ^ "ASA Adjudication on giffgaff Ltd A13-248779". Adjudications. Advertising Standards Agency. Retrieved 15 March 2014. [permanent dead link]
  20. ^ "ASA Adjudication on giffgaff Ltd A13-248779". Adjudications. Advertising Standards Agency. Retrieved 15 March 2014. 
  21. ^ "ASA Adjudication on giffgaff Ltd A14-277947". Adjudications. Advertising Standards Agency. Retrieved 21 November 2014. 

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