Why giffgaff Offer One of The Best 4G Packages

giffgaff 4g logo

giffgaff have only recently popped up on the mobile network operator scene, back in late 2009 to be precise. Yet, less than 5 years since the grand launch of this new network and they are taking the industry by storm.

Where a lot of networks are starting to slide in service, prices and connectivity, giffgaff have only just gotten started. One of the major areas that have got people talking is the introduction of the 4G LTE goodybags which they announced just a year ago in March 2014.

With 4G connectivity becoming increasingly popular for mobile phone owners because of the one simple fact that it gives up to five times more the speed of 3G, network operators are battling to offer a blend of coverage, performance and price.

Where is giffgaff 4G Covered?

Obviously you need to be in an area that is covered, but 4G coverage is constantly spreading its net across the UK so if you are covered now it’s worth looking back in a month’s time as unfortunately giffgaff don’t offer a complete list of town or cities under the 4G coverage zone.

What they do have, however, is a rather nifty postcode checker that will display the signal strength for 2G, 3G and 4G coverage.

We decided to type in the NE1 postcode as a test and all 3 were covered as you can see below, with top signal strength:

giffgaff signal strength

4G giffgaff Prices and Plans

To get straight to the point, you can’t get much cheaper or competitive than giffgaff as their 4G plans are in line with most of the big guns in the mobile network operating world.

The cheapest plan that comes in at £12 offers 500 minutes, unlimited texts, free giffgaff to giffgaff calls and a decent 1GB of data to get your teeth stuck into.

If you need a bit more in terms of data then the second tiered plan comes in at a reasonable £15 and provides a jaw-dropping 3GB of data (where else can you get a deal like that?). Finally the top plan comes in at a cool £18 and doubles up your minutes to 1,000, and cranks up the data to 5GB.

You really can’t complain about the prices and plans, but what about the general performance of 4g giffgaff?

giffgaff tariffs

4G performance on giffgaff

So we have already looked at the coverage and how you can check your area for 4G signal, and now you are fully aware of the price and plans. This leaves us only one more talking point, and that is performance.

The general perception out there is that giffgaff’s 4G solution is generally very good at passing over long distances and through walls, but falls short when a lot of people are connecting at once in the same area. That is most likely down to the fact that giffgaff operates at the 800MHz frequency level for its 4G network.

We decided to run some performance tests ourselves on a Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini in a few locations.

4G availability is rated at about 48% of the UK population, although this is rising all the time as masts are upgraded. We ran our tests around Suffolk and in London where we regularly work.

Getting 4G signal, as opposed to 3G, was consistently good in Ipswich and London. However you don’t have to go far out of Ipswich for it to disappear, and our experience in the Suffolk countryside gave little or no coverage.

London of course was fine, but the number of users in the densely populate capital is much higher, making speed tests much harder.

giffgaff 4g test london

Speed wise our tests ranged between download speeds of 1-3Mb/s at the low end to peak figures of around 8-10Mb/s although we didn’t see this too frequently.

Speed tests are notoriously variable, factors such as the load on the test server, time of day, and your physical location all play a part, but we did these tests over the period of a couple of weeks and at different times of day to try and get a fair picture.

Realistically its perfectly acceptable for mobile data usage, streaming videos etc. but it’s not the headline 4G speeds of an average of 15.1Mbps that were heavily touted in the press.

So there you have it, a round-up of the coverage, prices and performance of giffgaffs 4G solutions. Now it’s up to you to decide on whether giffgaff 4G is right for you.

>> More info is available on the GiffGaff blog.

This post was written by Rob Gordon, an IT geek, gadget lover and blogger. Rob has been using the internets since 1994 when the only streaming video was that coffee pot in Cambridge (rip).... Follow Rob on Twitter - @robgordon - about.me/robgordonuk