Giffgaff: an ultra cheap mobile service in UK

Submitted by Nicola Rainiero on 2013-02-16 (last updated on 2018-07-21)

Before leaving for England, I was a little worried about choosing mobile operators for my phone, I was looking for the cheapest offer and easy to use. In Internet I had found some interesting topics about Giffgaff but I felt confused because of its unusual customer care. At the end I choose this operator and now after roughly a month I am an happy member of that community. In this article I explain you how to get £5 extra credit for free when you activate your Giffgaff new SIM and how to recharge it using a classic O2 voucher.

Click on the image to obtain the extra £5 for free
Click on the image to obtain the extra £5 for free

 Description of the operator^

Giffgaff was born in 2009 and it is a virtual operator using the O2 network, i.e. it has a good widespread coverage but it doesn't have any shop or real customer care service. Wikipedia describes it as follow: Giffgaff differs from conventional mobile phone operators in that the users of the service may also participate in certain aspects of the company's operation, e.g. sales, customer service and marketing. In return for this activity, the user receives remuneration through a system called "Payback".

In short the members of the Community are involved in advertising it and in helping the other users, just like me now! Well, why you should join giffgaff? It's simple, just looking the following links:


To get your free giffgaff SIM Card, you must have:

  1. an Internet connection, and if you want to get £5 extra credit for free when you activate your new one, it is sufficient order your own one, using my invite:
  2. an English postcode and address, because the SIM will be sent you by post.
  3. NEWS: starting from april 2017 you can order SIMs to be sent to anywhere in the world, except Morocco. If you order SIMs to be delivered abroad, they may be subject to local customs charges - which will vary from country to country. In which case, you will need to pay these charges to complete the delivery. Obviously no international bundles have been introduced and you will need to have airtime credit for international use, see here for more information.


After you have filled this form and clicked on Send me my free SIM, you will receive an envelope with inside the SIM and the instruction to activate it. If you have some problems you can find useful information here.

 How to top-up by voucher^

In order to obtain the extra credit you have to activate your SIM card, or topping-up your credit or buying a goodybag for a minimum of £10.
I always use a top-up voucher and below there is the operations to do (and some helping images):

  • In the "Top-up page" go to the "Redeem voucher" section
  • Click on the link and enter the 16 digit code printed on your voucher (without empty spaces). You can use the O2 voucher that it is easier to find in supermarket or shops.
  • Click on "Submit"
Firstly log-in or get registered and after log-in Secondly choose Use a Voucher (in the middle right side of your My giffgaff page)
Firstly log-in or get registered and after log-in Secondly choose Use a Voucher (in the middle right side of your My giffgaff page)
Then insert your voucher number (without empty spaces) and click on Reedem And you will recieve the payment information summary
Then insert your voucher number (without empty spaces) and click on Reedem And you will recieve the payment information summary


Once you have updated your balance's account, if you want you can choose among many phone plans, the so called goodybags (clicking on the item Top-up in the top menu)  that last one month and include a bundle of texts, minutes and mobile Internet. Make sure that you have activated the Tick here to pay from your airtime balance in order to use your account balance.

List of goodybags (Phone Plans) Select your goobybag and click on Continue
List of goodybags (Phone Plans) Select your goobybags and click on Continue

 Using giffgaff abroad^

To make calls and texts whilst you are abroad, you must have sufficient airtime credit, as any calls/texts made whilst roaming abroad do not come from goody bag allowances or free giffgaff to giffgaff allowances and are charged. See here for up to date prices. People calling your giffgaff number from the UK will still be able to make a free giffgaff to giffgaff call to it if they are entitled to, or will be charged the relevant UK rate or goodybag allowance as the location of your phone does not affect them. Please note that whilst roaming abroad, you will be charged for receiving calls, however texts are free to receive. To obtain more information check the Community.

Calling abroad

International calls and texts are not included in goodybags and you need airtime credit to call or text a foreign number. See this page for more info: Calls and Internet.

 Deactivation of the SIM^

Following the Community here, a SIM card is deactivated when it has not been used for the last 6 months. The activity during this period is defined by:

  • At least one call, SMS or MMS made to another number (except emergency calls, SMSes or calls to giffgaff services e.g. 2020, 43430);
  • or at least one connection to Internet;
  • or at least 4 received calls of more than 10 seconds;
  • or at least one top-up / purchase (credit or goodybag);
  • or receiving Payback points (for recruiting new members or participating to the Community).

Be careful that deactivation of the SIM is completely different from the message that you can see in your giffgaff profile, in other words "giffgaff to giffgaff calls expire ...", this is a service between giffgaff users. Indeed when you top up with cash/credit only either by voucher, Credit/Debit card or auto topup, you will be on the standard UK Pay as you go tariff as set out in Pricing , plus, you will also qualify for free unlimited giffgaff to giffgaff calls, video calls, call forwarding (up to 60 minutes per call and then re-dial, or standard charges will apply) and texts to other giffgaff mobiles from the UK (even when the gg phone you call is outside the UK) for a period of 3 months (or until you next top up, at which time the 3 month period will be reset again). Note: Video calls to numbers outside the UK not supported. So if you want to maintain this service you have to top-up 10£ every three months. But remember that the SIM is still active after the three months. For more information check here.

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Nicola Rainiero

A civil geotechnical engineer with the ambition to facilitate own work with free software for a knowledge and collective sharing. Also, I deal with green energy and in particular shallow geothermal energy. I have always been involved in web design and 3D modelling.

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