termination charges are supposed to balance
In theory the outgoing termination costs should roughly be balanced by incoming termination charges and close to zero cash should transfer. Works well when everyone's actually paying some notional price for their minutes.
Breaks down badly with unlimited deals but even on a 5000min user there should be some incoming calls and it shouldn't cost giffgaff £200.
giffgaff giving into the user demand for unlimited minutes caused the problem, after 12 months glacial user growth they're desperate to buy new customers and this was one attempt. As usual no one at hq thought about the consequences. Its a company run by marketing people and they're piss poor at planning or implementation.
The immediate problem is giffgaff choosing to lie about the problem. They didn't need to say any more than the package was unprofitable, with a nod towards excess use. No need to give away figures or enough to really help the competition. It wasn't exactly news to many of us that it would be unprofitable, all the clues were there in forum postings from the flock of freeloaders it attracted. But giffgaff just decided their loyal cult members wouldn't notice a lie, they've fallen for their own community fairy tale.
Still, this shitstorm is doing well at covering up the technical faults many users are currently suffering from. I at least got my credit card unblocked in only 10min after giffgaff's broken payment system triggered fraud protection. They've not yet bothered telling other affected users to call their card providers, still telling them to carry on retrying, the action that gets the card blocked.