Where free means free and unlimited means unlimited

April 16th, 2010 Tags: , ,

Wow, what a refreshing article to write; here’s a company who, when they offer unlimited internet, do not have a hidden data usage cap or “fair usage policy”, here’s a company who, when they say “we think free should mean free”, allow 0800 freephone numbers to be dialled free of charge from your mobile.  Yet they only charge 8p per minute to call other mobile networks, charge 4p per text, and a £10 TopUp (giffgaff call them goodybags!) will give you unlimited (yes they mean this) texts, and unlimited (yes, again, actually unlimited) internet access, along with 100 minutes of free calls (all lasting 1 month).

Now, nothing is perfect, and there are a couple of minor caveats to the “unlimited” internet; it must be personal use only, commercial and automatic use (whatever “automatic” means?!?) are not allowed, and finally, you are not allowed to connect your PC via your phone (tethering).  I wonder if the fact my phone has a scheduled connection once a day to synchronise my calendar would count as “automatic”; I suspect not, although something that happened every 5 minutes may be a different matter…

However, it’s a breath of fresh air seeing a company thinking like this.  The company? giffgaff, the new virtual mobile operator, owned and utilising the O2 network.  They are SIM only, so you need to purchase / bring with you an unlocked phone, and they are keeping their costs down (and being able to offer such offers) via community support, and no call centres.

So, if you have an unlocked phone, are outside your contract and currently spend more than £10 per month, or topup by more than £10 per month, can cope with remembering to topup every month, and the O2 network is an option for you, then you might well want to consider giffgaff

Thanks to Jonathan Jenson who pointed out these offers to me.

Update: James Body has been in touch (see comments) and confirmed that giffgaff do have an element of a Internet fair usage policy; it’s 100MB per day, but it appears it’s likely you’ll need to go over that limit multiple times in a week before they issue a warning to reduce your usage, and only if you fail to act will they bar a user.   So far, they have warned 2 users, and not barred anyone.  Of course, 100MB per day equates to 3GB per month, which is far in excess of any other network, and would be a serious amount of usage by anyone (although a limit is still a limit in our eyes).

To put that “100MB a day” in perspective, if you don’t stream music / video, and aren’t uploading lots of pictures every day, many people find the 150MB free Internet that 3UK offer can easily last 1 month, so for most users it shouldn’t be a problem.


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3 Responses to “Where free means free and unlimited means unlimited”

  1. mrtotes Says:

    “Mobile Internet free until 25 May” – So what about after that?!

  2. UK Gadgeteer Says:

    After then, it will certainly be included with the £10 Goodybag and higher for free, but I have yet to hear pricing for people who don’t TopUp but still want internet access.

  3. James Body Says:

    I have been using GiffGaff for over two months now. Activation requires a GBP 10 initial top-up, but after that all of the freebies become active.

    I use my SIM principaly for the free data – I run push e-mail and Google serivces (including Latitude) on a Nokia E71 – and all for free.

    There is a fair use policy on the data – but I use it quite heavily and have yet to incur the wrath of the GiffGaff admins! An expanation of how GiffGaff apply their fair use policy is at http://community.giffgaff.com/t5/Notice-board/Some-more-information-on-our-data-Fair-Usage-Policy/m-p/2088

    If you want a free GiffGaff SIM, then drop me a Tweet @jamesbody

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