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Giffgaff 4G Coverage and Network Review

16th August 2017

GiffGaff Network Coverage

Giffgaff is one of a number of MVNO’s entering the 4G market, but Giffgaff has certain advantages including a known name, a solid history as a 3G provider and low prices.

The network uses O2 for signal, so where O2 has 4G Giffgaff also has 4G. So right now it should have 4G coverage for around 97% of the UK population outdoors and it's likely to reach 98% indoor coverage by the end of 2017. 

Pros

Cons

Short-term contracts

Not quite the best 4G coverage

Unlimited data on some plans

4G data capped at 6GB

Allows tethering

No inclusive roaming beyond Europe

Our Rating

Coverage

Giffgaff’s 4G coverage relies on O2’s, which means it’s currently at around 97% population coverage outdoors. That puts it behind EE, but ahead of Three and around the same level as Vodafone. Giffgaff also has strong 3G and 2G coverage, so you should be able to get mobile data of some kind almost everywhere.

Network Type Coverage by population
4G  97%
3G 98%
2G 99%

Use Giffgaff's coverage checker below to find out more about Giffgaff's coverage in your area, including signal strengths and details on both indoor and outdoor coverage.

4G from Giffgaff is now available in thousands of locations, including but not limited to: Antrim, Bradford, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bridgend, Brighton, Burnley, Castleford, Coleraine, Coventry, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Leicester, Leigh, Liverpool, Livingston, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield, London, Macclesfield, Newtownabbey, Nottingham, Nuneaton, Pontypool, Poole, Portsmouth, Reading, St Albans, Sittingbourne, Southampton and Tamworth.

Recent locations to get 4G from O2 - and by extension Giffgaff - include: Woodhall Spa, Kemnay, Cotgrave, Radcliffe-on-TrentMelbourn, Staylittle, Yarrow ValleyDistington and Long Stratton.

Network Speeds and Frequencies

Giffgaff uses standard 4G, which is around 5 times faster than a typical 3G network. The network’s average 4G download speed is 18.48Mbit/sec, and its average 4G upload speed is 9.40Mbit/sec.

That’s not quite up there with the fastest UK networks, but it’s still very quick, and should allow for smooth streaming, downloading and web browsing on your phone.

  • Average Download Speed: 18.48 Mbit/sec
  • Average Upload Speed: 9.40 Mbit/sec

Giffgaff only uses the 800MHz band for 4G, but this band is ideal for delivering coverage across the UK. It’s long range, so it can travel a long way between masts, making it suited to, well, everywhere really, but most notably rural locations, as masts are often spread far part in the countryside. But it’s also good at passing through walls, making it great for towns and cities as well.

You can find in depth details of this band and others in our 4G frequencies guide.

  • 800MHz used for 4G
  • 900MHz used for 2G/3G
  • 1800MHz used for 2G
  • 2100MHz used for 3G

Plans

Giffgaff has a range of Pay Monthly and SIM Only plans, along with the option to Pay As You Go. All plans come with 4G data at no extra cost. Plans are available from as little as £5 per month.

Pay Monthly Phone Plans

Roaming beyond Europe

No

Tethering

Yes

Max Data Allowance

Unlimited

Contract Length

6, 12, 18 or 24 Months

Giffgaff’s Pay Monthly plans come in a choice of 6, 12, 18 or 24 months and come with up to 6GB of 4G data. There’s also an unlimited data plan (or ‘Always On’ as Giffgaff calls it) which lets you go beyond 6GB but caps your speeds at 256kbps once you exceed 6GB.

Tethering is also included on all plans – though with the ‘Always On’ plan you can only tether with the first 6GB.

SIM Only Plans

Roaming beyond Europe

No

Tethering

Yes

Max Data Allowance

Unlimited

Contract Length

1 Month

Giffgaff’s SIM Only plans give you exactly the same selection of tariffs as Pay Monthly – so you can get up to unlimited data, but only up to 6GB at 4G speeds, and only up to 6GB for tethering.

However, you’re only tied in for 1 month on SIM Only, and of course you’ll pay less, as you’re not paying for a phone as well.

Data Only Plans – For Tablets and Dongles

Giffgaff offers both 500MB and 1GB Data Only plans, so you can get your tablet or dongle online without paying for unneeded minutes and texts. These are each 1 month long and start at £5.

Pay As You Go

Giffgaff doesn’t offer any Pay As You Go bundles (though the SIM Only bundles should do that job, since they only last 30 days), but it does allow you to Pay As You Go, at rates of 15p per minute, 5p per text and 5p per megabyte of data. Calls and texts to other Giffgaff numbers are free.

Giffgaff Roaming Destinations

Giffgaff lets you use your minutes, texts and data at no extra cost in 37 destinations, namely:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, French Guiana, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guadeloupe, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Martinique, Mayotte, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Reunion, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

As with most networks it's limited to European ones however, so if you want to travel more globally Giffgaff may not be the network for you.

Conclusion

Giffgaff stands out through low prices and flexible tariffs, with a range of SIM Only plans that you’re only tied into for a month.

It’s also one of those rare networks that has unlimited data on some tariffs – though speeds are throttled above 6GB, so it’s not as good for this as, say, Three.

Tethering is allowed too, but there’s no inclusive roaming beyond Europe, all of which makes Giffgaff a strong network for light to middle-weight data users who don’t do a lot of travelling.

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