Facing pressure from social media complaints, SIM Only firm Giffgaff admitted its £20 goodybag does not come with unlimited 4G data.
The SIMs sold by Giffgaff comes in various priced types, known as ‘goodybags’. Each has its own minutes, texts and data allowance.
The most popular of these, a £20 a month SIM Only deal, promises unlimited minutes for UK calls and unlimited texts.
In the past, it was claimed this SIM also provided unlimited data. According to community forums, Giffgaff stopped offering unlimited data in January 2016.
Not so good-ybags
But customers started to complain on Twitter last year when they realised that after using 6GB of data, the speed they received dropped from 4G speeds of around 30Mbps, to 256kbps.
One user wrote in January last year: “I have decided to leave as the speed of the data is so poor that you can’t stream any videos on any app or browser. Paying £20 a month for 256k once you go over the 6gb allowance is very unfair and if giffgaff had been upfront about the speed of the data I would never have joined.”
At 256kbps websites are slow to load, music streaming can stutter and HD video becomes choppy.
And while the amount of data you can use on a £20 goodybag SIM is not limited, the speed at which you can access it is.
Giffgaff then admitted that customers who used 6GB of this ‘unlimited’ allowance would from 8am to midnight see their speeds throttled or artificially lowered to that much slower speed.
Responding to the complaints, GiffGaff said it wanted to clear up the situation.
Business partners were told: “We’re receiving a number of complaints through social media regarding our £20 goodybag.
“Our members are often surprised when their data speeds are reduced after they’ve used 6GB of data and this is bad news for both us and you.
“Customers feel misled by the way our proposition has been described to them and we’d like to make it clearer.”
For a company that claims a special connection with its customers – and advertises as The Mobile Network Run By You – the news was somewhat of an embarrassment to GiffGaff.
But since the story broke almost 10 months ago, Giffgaff has increased the limits to 384kbps after 9GB of data is used, rather than 256kps after 6GB.
It has also changed its description of the £20 goodybag from ‘Unlimited’ data to ‘Always On’.
One of the earliest SIM Only brands to launch in the UK, GiffGaff arrived on our shores in 2009.
It is an offshoot of Telefonica, the Spanish telecoms firm that owns O2.
All GiffGaff SIMs use the O2 network for call signal and 4G data. They are sold as flexible one-month rolling contracts, so you can switch away to another SIM at any time.