back to article When GiffGaff falls over, is it even news any more?

Cut-price operator GiffGaff had another minor network outage last week, this time knocking out text messaging for some customers. Meanwhile, here in the Vulture Towers, debate raged as to whether this qualifies as news - given how often GiffGaff falls apart - so we thought we'd put it to a popular vote so you can tell us. We …


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    Can you do the same for Apple patent stories?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Luckly keyboards are cheap thesedays. But if there was a story about Apple patenting outages then I think a new keyboard will be the least of my problems.

      1. Nick Pettefar

        Apple keyboards aren't cheap!

    2. TeeCee Gold badge

      There's a simpler approach to that one, just run a ticker across the main page that says; "Apple sued someone over something trivial today".

      This could be turned off on April 1st every year as a joke.

  2. Richard Wharram

    Can't say I noticed

    Was it a local thing?

    1. Vic

      Re: Can't say I noticed

      Nor I.


  3. Benny

    To be fair

    the only time I've had any issues with GiffGaff was when O2 went tits up a few months back. Most of the time when there are O2 issues, GiffGaff doesn't seem to be affected - unless its core network stuff it seems.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: To be fair

      Reg isn't interested in "being fair" when it comes to GiffGaff., they just diss it regardless

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "... despite pleas from readers effected"

    Oh FFS, not you as well!

    Can we also have a vote on whether articles should be proof-read before posting?

    1. Growly Snuffle Bunny

      Re: Effected

      Not that it appears here, but the one that really burns me is

      'I could care less"

      I could care less too, if I couldn't care less!

      1. Annihilator

        Re: Effected

        "'I could care less"

        It's meant to be sarcastic. Shortened from "Oh like I could care less"

        But yes, affected/effected bugged me and I came rushing (too late) to the forums to chip in too.

    2. Benchops

      Re: Effected

      > Can we also have a vote on whether articles should be proof-read before posting?

      Or, Can we also have a vote on whether articles should be proof-read before they are effected?

    3. Vic

      Re: Effected

      > Oh FFS, not you as well!

      To be fair, all readers here have been effected. Just not by network outages[1].


      [1] In most cases, at least...

  5. bill 36
    Thumb Down

    WTF is GiffGaff

    If you hadn't written the story i wouldn't have know what it was and now that i do, why would anyone want it?

    PAYG with punters really buy this?

    I think you could easily bin any story on this

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WTF is GiffGaff

      "do punters really buy this?"

      Are you mental? Have you seen their prices? Damn right punters buy this! I was planning to get onto giffgaff myself when my 3 contract runs out later this month. But if they're having lots of problems, I probably won't be looking at them after all, which is why I'm glad that this article came out when it did.

      So please ignore bill 36, and do not hesitate to publish this sort of story.

      1. bill 36
        Thumb Down

        Re: WTF is GiffGaff

        Yeah its cheap for a reason and as someone else pointed out, great for kids who probaly don't read El Reg anyway......yet!

    2. Philolai

      They buy it

      Because it's cheaper than the alternatives. Unlimited data, in particular, is hard to come by at the level of about £12.50 a month (including a couple of hundred minutes and unlimited texts).

      1. James 100

        Re: They buy it

        The problem is, the "unlimited" (as long as it's not tethered, on too large a screen, in a non-phone-call-capable device, wrong phase of the moon...) offering is a short-sighted and damaging loss-leader. They're paying O2 by the megabyte, so anyone using much over a gigabyte each month on those plans is losing GG money. I like the idea of unlimited tariffs, but when it's structured this way it's just not sustainable.

        They delayed the problem a bit by slapping the 1Gb limit on £10 - but I can't imagine the £12 "unlimited" loss-leader holding up for long, particularly since most of the users can happily stay on £10: the £12 figures will look even worse as it collects only the heaviest of the £10 bag's users.

        Personally, Three's £6.90 tariff is a much better deal: I don't tether or do serious downloading on my mobile handset - I have a 3G tablet, WiFi at home and work, so 500 Mb on the phone is plenty. (A £5 'gigabag' gets me that data, but forces me onto PAYG rates for calls+texts.) The lousy reliability record lately is pretty much the last straw - and of course their screwed up "adult content filter" irritated me severely for the day or two it took them to get it disabled on my account after imposing it without my consent.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: They buy it

          How do they detect tethering if the other devices are behind NAT?

    3. Fuzz

      Re: WTF is GiffGaff

      People want it because it's cheap. £10 a month covers all my phone and data usage. You can set the goodybag to automatic and auto top up for your credit, so it becomes like having a contact with no minimum term and no notice period.

      The network is quite unreliable and the website extremely unreliable but it works well enough for the money I pay. It helps if you have a few people you contact regularly using the service as it costs you nothing to call or text them. It's a great network for groups of kids, if they all get their friends to join each one gets £5 credit and they only have to top up £5 every three months to talk to each other for free.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Re: WTF is GiffGaff

        Cheap. Occasionally unreliable, though a lot of that is technical debt from O2.

        £10 a month gets me unlimited texts, unlimited calls to GiffGaff, good lot of minutes, and (previously unlimited but now capped to a few GB) data.

        Roll it over, like a contract without those pesky credit checks or tie in for 18 months etc.

        Only thing is, they expressly forbid tethering, so can't really use the mobile as a 3G modem.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: WTF is GiffGaff

          For low mobile usage people it's easily the best deal around. I pay an average of £4 a month and get unlimited texts and calls to the people I actually text or call. If you joined up a couple of years ago there was over a year of free unlimited internet (whilst they negotiated pricing with O2)!

        2. Magnus Ramage

          Re: WTF is GiffGaff

          "they expressly forbid tethering"

          I don't use GiffGaff but this is only partly accurate. They do indeed expressly forbid tethering on their £10/month package, but they have other packages on which they do allow tethering (their data-only 'gigabags' starting at £5 for 500MB lasting one month).

        3. Jon Roderick

          Re: WTF is GiffGaff

          @Sir Wiggum - since the recent price change and cap of the £10 goodybag to 1GB data, you're free to tether on that.

          Tethering is still not allowed on the £12.50 unlimited goodybag though.

    4. Vic

      Re: WTF is GiffGaff

      > do punters really buy this?


      I've been on GiffGaff for a couple of years now, and I'm very happy with them.


  6. Philolai

    I want to know what's going on with them

    Because I'm planning on signing up to them on the Nexus 4. If their network (their bit and O2's) regularly breaks down I will reconsider that, but I will need to know soon otherwise the temptation of their low prices may be too much.

    1. thomanski

      Re: I want to know what's going on with them

      Thankfully The Reg is very vocal in keeping us up-to-date about issues that my wife and I never seem to notice so we know that GiffGaff is rubbish and we should really go somewhere else. From our own usage however it seems to be just fine and the prices remain unbeaten so I suspect we'll hang in there just a little bit longer.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I want to know what's going on with them

        From my usage as well all is perfectly fine. Must only be El Reg that has this "problem" ...

  7. Jon Double Nice

    The mobile network run by me...

    Works about as well as I would expect it to, seeing as I know nothing about running a mobile network. But still, unlimited data + spotify = woo!

  8. Growly Snuffle Bunny
    Thumb Up

    GiffGaff - I love it

    Having been with them for about 18 months now, I have nothing but praise for them. Sure, they have their problems, but what operator doesn't? At least they say that they're having them, and keep users 'in the loop' wherever they can. The flexibility, the free calls to other GiffGaff numbers, truly massive internet quotas for virtually nothing - it works for me. As a business user I'm confident enought to use GiffGaff in my daily work.

    1. leexgx

      Re: GiffGaff - I love it

      the problem is an issue happens every 3 months that takes some times an month to fix or requires an ask an Agent to get them to fix it {these are things that should be fixed auto}(I would Strongly not recommend Giffgaff as an Main phone and even more so if its for important calls or business use),

      The new issue is there payment system is now taking money Twice when you have recurring goodybags enabled when it should only be taking it once, happy they have brought back Qued goodybags again as that system was Working perfectly fine before they removed it last time

      i use giffgaff on my second phone for the unlimited internet for £12 works perfectly fine for that (mainly why most of the issues they have had have happened to Voice and text)

      giffgaff Need to Dump Lithium as its likely where most of there issues are coming from, they need sack who ever is managing the database and back end stuff (like goodybags, top-ups, card details) you cant screw with users money they just leave

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Great value with caveats

    Have been using GG for about 2 years for a personal iPhone (not work phone.) Its a great way of getting a cheap data plan on a second phone and for weekend use, but i wouldn't be relying on it for business/work or anything critical as it does seem a bit fragile.

    However if i was a teenager/student/mum/older person needing bargain data on an unlocked or out-of-contract phone i'd be over the moon with it.

    So, unbeatable value and the community aspect ensures that the (not infrequent) problems are very transparent. You pays your money etc etc....

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I suspect

    that giffgaff are simply more open about their problems, and that the average Giffgaff customer is slightly more likely to be an El Reg commentard than other mobile operators.

    1. Vic

      Re: I suspect

      > giffgaff are simply more open about their problems


      They sent me an SMS a while back to apologise about a fault that I hadn't actually noticed...


  11. Pooka

    Just a thought....

    This did actually get me thinking....

    Given the number of stories you do post about various things tripping up, falling over, going down and generally blowing up with an earth shattering kaboom, why not just pull together a single unified page detailing current popular sites or services that are down and have it in a central place that everyone can get to? That way us little guys can see that Vodafone's billing page is being rebuilt, Amazon's datacentre has a cold and isn't coming out to play and Giff-Gaff are being, well.... Giff-Gaff again.

    I dunno, maybe it's a daft idea....

  12. squilookle

    The question here is, if you stop reporting every detail, is it going to make any big difference to the site? Are the resources and people that have been freed up from following GiffGaff going to bring us anything more interesting? If yes, then maybe you should stop following issues with GiffGaff.

    If the answer is no and we are just looking at not annoying the people who don't care about GiffGaff, then carry on reporting every little detail you feel like reporting - anyone that doesn't want to read about it just shouldn't read about it. Just make the headlines clear so they're easy to avoid.

    In fact, do you not monitor the clicks each article gets and focus on the popular stuff anyway? Should that not give you the answer?

  13. Jamie Kitson


    When GiffGaff falls over and nobody's there to hear it, is it even news any more?

  14. 2fast748

    I noticed the problem but am pretty ambivalent towards gg and it's comedy "will it or won't it send" type operation.

    I seem to suffer some problem every 6 weeks or so if you are looking for patterns.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I seem to suffer some problem every 6 weeks or so if you are looking for patterns.

      I'd see your GP about that, not ask El Reg

  15. Zigster

    Problem ? What Problem?

    I have been with GiffGaff for a couple of years and only ever had the one big problem when O2 fell over, taking GiffGaff (and other) with it.

    I have converted all my family over ( have 2 daughters and it's saved me an absolute fortune) and thanks to telling family and friends and recruiting them, I have earned myself quite a lot of "payback" which has given me many months of effectively free service :)

  16. Code Monkey

    "When GiffGaff falls over, is it even news any more?"

    This sounds almost Confucian. Like the sound of one hand clapping ... presumably clapping slowly in the case of GiffGaff's users.

  17. Stupots


    I guess if both sender and receiver have iPhones it just defaults to iMessage over the data network. I cant say that my girlfriend or I saw any interruption to our sexting on Thursday.

    I like GiffGaff and can get by without comms for a day or 2. Their infrastructure will get more robust with every failure (hopefully).

  18. Mike Taylor

    Shitter feed

    If only there was some way of being able to report this white noise in 140 characters or less

  19. Paul Shirley

    O2 are a bigger problem

    Worrying about giffgaffs far from stellar reliability seems redundant while they live on O2's appalling network. Only place I can rely on O2 coverage is at home, where I don't need it. Head to the city and even where I find a full signal there's no data throughput and barely intelligible voice quality, too much time there's just no signal. Head to the county and I might as well leave the phone at home.

    giffgaff are amateurs but O2 are professional screwups. Great combination unless you need your phone.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: O2 are a bigger problem

      Orange / T-mob / EE are no better.

  20. jai


    Results so far show it's a neck-and-neck race. Reminds me of a recently election they had in the colonies...

  21. b166er

    I think you should investigate forthwith, the effect GiffGaff has had on the parent's profit margins and whether therefore the 'outages' are the result of malice and sabotage.

  22. Nelbert Noggins

    Without the register reports I'd never know I was supposed to be having problems with GG.

    Top-ups/Goody Bags work - Check

    Texting works - Check

    Calls work - Check

    Roaming works - Check

    Then again I don't live in the devil ring of the M25 so maybe that is why I need to be told about the problems

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No problems with GiffGaff here, as a primarily data and SMS user, they give me the service I want at a price I'm prepared to pay.

    I just wish O2 would sort out their coverage in my office so I can get a decent signal at work.

    It's a brand new building, in the heart of the City of London, and nobody thought to ensure that the office space had a decent mobile signal.

    It might be something to do with the stupid architectural design and pointless metalwork, the only plus point of working inside the building is that I don't have to look at it!

  24. M.AD

    I was using GiffGaff fine until last month, when their 3G dropped on a Friday and wasn't resolved until Monday afternoon. Throughout the weekend, the thread on this unfortunate mishap kept being resolved, only to be reopened hours later when fixes they were putting in simply didn't work.

    I have since jumped ship and gone with Tesco.

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