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GiffGaff simcard for UK?

Has anyone tried the pay as you go sim card for the UK called GiffGaff?
https://www.giffgaff.com/
I've ordered one online (free); then you activate it from home, and put it in your phone when you arrive.
I did a lot of reading about UK simcards, and this was the one most recommended.
Thanks!
I like the fact you can activate it from home so you're good to go right away.

Posted by
5817 posts

They are quite popular over here, my brother has used them for years.

I can't comment on whether there are issues using it in a foreign phone.

Posted by
766 posts

I used one this summer (2018), along with a number of people on our choir tour. It worked brilliantly the whole time in England, Wales and Ireland. Calls and texts between giffgaff users are free; I bought a prepaid internet package which I used lavishly and never finished the allowed GB; I had a bit of top-up funds as well to pay for texts and calls to others not on giffgaff. I used wifi at the hotels but ran Google Maps all day long many days while out and about.

Their website is very easy to use, as you know if you've ordered a card already. Just understand the difference between top-up credit and a "goodybag", you'll need both. The website and phone app allow you to check your usage anytime you want; I kept an eye on it every day or so, but never ran low.

I also liked having it activated in advance so I could work out any kinks while I was home and able to call my cell provider. One woman in my group had called her home provider to get her phone unlocked, but hadn't activated the giffgaff card at home. Turns out her provider never followed through with the unlocking and she didn't feel like calling from England to wrangle with them so she just paid the daily "roam like home" fee of $12/day. In two days she had already spent more than I spent for a month of giffgaff with all the trimmings.

Never had connection or service issues. Definitely recommended.

Posted by
4685 posts

I have read that GiffGaff SIM cards need to be used in the UK for a period (two weeks?) before EU roaming will be allowed. Not sure if that's universally enforced or not. But if you don't plan to use the SIM outside the UK, you wouldn't have to worry.

Posted by
1056 posts

Thanks.
It sounds like it is an easy to use system.
I just need it for two weeks in England and Scotland, so no roaming.
I'm waiting for the sim card delivery, but Canada Post is having rotating strikes just now.

Posted by
766 posts

S - not an issue for you but for future readers - Andrew's comment about EU Roaming is true. Some months after I got home, I received an email from giffgaff that my EU Roaming would expire if I didn't use the phone in the UK within a few weeks. So they do track and enforce that your home base needs to be the UK to get included EU Roaming, as required by the EU's roaming regulations. It's not a giffgaff specifc restriction, but not all providers are overly diligent about it.

Posted by
4685 posts

It sounds like a GiffGaff SIM is a terrific deal for people visiting the UK exclusively. Yes, it sounds like they are more diligent than other providers in requiring you to use the SIM in country in order to allow EU roaming. I bought my Dutch Vodafone SIM last spring (eBay) and have NEVER used it in the Netherlands! I last used it in Portugal in May. So clearly they aren't as diligent as GiffGaff.

Posted by
396 posts

Nelly: why do you need 'top-up credit' as well as a 'goodybag'? Doesn't the latter include phone calls, or is it just data?
The goodybag could work for me as I'm planning 3 weeks in the UK followed by 3 weeks in Ireland.

Posted by
766 posts

A goodybag includes data and unlimited minutes and texts from inside EU to EU numbers. If you want to call a non-EU number or roam outside the EU, you need top-up credit to do so. More details here: giffgaff SIM-only plans

Posted by
396 posts

Thanks, Nelly. I shall have to wait to see how Brexit pans out as I shall want calls to and from the UK included, as well as within Ireland.

Posted by
1056 posts

I just wanted to report back to say that the giffgaff sim card worked really well!
I was in London and Edinburgh.
It arrived here at home by post, and I set it up in my phone before leaving.
I bought the ten pound package.
I then put my regular simcard back in my phone, and didn't put the giffgaff one back in till I was on the plane nearly at London.
It activated right away on landing, and was great for calls and texts and tons of data for my two weeks.
The only thing it wouldn't do was let me send or receive calls or texts to any Vodafone- using people.
Don't know why.
My god daughter's husband works for Vodafone, and he couldn't figure it out!
I was also able to easily map my way around and check bus schedules anywhere I was, and it worked well on the train from London to Edinburgh too.
A good buy!

Posted by
670 posts

That's a strange quirk.
My partner has Vodaphone and we talk and text daily and I am.a long standing giffgaff user