giffgaff, the MVNO owned by O2, has decided to chuck in 4G data as “part” of their goodybags (aka monthly plans). No separate 3G plans and 4G plans.
If you’ve been looking at the 3G-only £5, £7.50 or £10 goodybags then everything will be remaining pretty much the same, except now you’ll be getting 4G data instead. Good news then?
Well, not quite. Although I applaud the network for bundling in 4G, it’s the 3G-only £12 and £15 customers who seem to be getting a bit of a raw deal. If, for example, you’re on the 3G-only £12 plan you’ll currently get 3GB of monthly data. Indeed, this plan will remain available to existing members until March 2016, however after that you’ll see your data allowance drop down to 2GB per month. If you want more data, it’s probably in your interests to move up to the new £15 package which will shortly deliver 4GB of monthly data.
Although giffgaff are keen to point out that they’ve increased the amount of data for current 4G customers (the current £12 4G deal offers just 1GB of data, so you’ll be getting more data), it means that 3G customers on the £12 and £15 deals will need to pay more to maintain their current data allowance.
Let’s have a look at the current £15 3G deal. This gives a stonking 5GB of data, however this package will be dropped on September 1st and, although you’ll be getting 1000 minutes instead of 500, you’ll see your data allowance sink to 4GB – even though it’s a 4G connection.
For most other customers, it seems like a fair enough deal and 4G is delivered without any loss of allowances, but for the current 3G-only customers on £12 and £15 plans, you’ll be looking at paying £3 more per month to hop up to the next goodybag in order to maintain your data allowance. Considering the fact that the O2 4G network is still pretty sparse, that’s a bit of a knock.
giffgaff have freely admitted that there’s concern about this, and many “members” (customers) have voiced their concern about the reduction in data allowance – particularly the £12 3G deal. giffgaff state..
- Not everyone would be affected by a reduction in the data allowance from 3GB to 2GB as 76% of members with a £12 3G goodybag use less than 2GB a month.
- We have guaranteed to keep the £12 3GB 3G goodybag for existing members until March which means nothing will change for at least 6 months. If you recur you don’t have do anything and if you don’t recur it’s there to buy if you want to.
Read more in their rapidly expanding thread about this on their forum. I hear what they’re saying about 76% of £12 members using less than 2GB, but that still leaves almost a quarter of those customers having to pay extra to move onto the newer £15 offering to ensure that their 2GB-or-more usage is within the limits.
What? I’ve not mentioned the £20 unlimited plan? Ah… Ahh yes.. Currently the 3G-only unlimited plan offers “Unlimited data” subject to traffic management..
There is no 4G Unlimited offering on giffgaff currently, so how will the migration of this work? Well, basically, unlimited is history. Like pretty much every mobile and fixed-line network in the planet, giffgaff gets a very tiny proportion of customers who absolutely hammer the flip out of their network. Imagine constant, 24/7 downloading. It’s not good for the network, it’s not good for other customers and all ISP’s and mobile networks have had to use traffic management (blocking ports, slowing speeds on certain protocols, only allowing certain traffic at certain times etc). So, the new £20 features something giffgaff call “Always On” data.
The new £20 4G “Always On” plan delivers the first 6GB of data used and then access to unlimited data at a restricted speed from 8am until midnight. If you use the current 3G-only £20 unlimited plan, you’ll get migrated to this in January next year. Basically this means that once you exceed 6GB you’ll be struggling to listen to streaming audio whilst checking email or browsing the web, even though your phone shows a 4G connection. Again, giffgaff state ..
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.
“Most” ? I guess that could be anything over 50%. Also, if you intend to tether on the “Always on” plan, you can go to 6GB and then that’s your lot.
Update – giffgaff are still battling concerned customers on the £12 3G plan. They now state…
The £12 3G plan is scheduled to end in March but we will commit to reviewing this decision in Feb 2016 in the light of the number of members still buying this goodybag at that time, progress on 4G coverage and 4G phone ownership.
You can check the O2 4G coverage on OpenSignal and below. Hit “Advanced” to hide the sidebar, then choose “O2” and “4G”…