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back to article GiffGaff blames O2 gaffe for mobile outage

GiffGaff is failing in its mission to be "the people's network" after denying connectivity to a significant number of people over the last couple of days – but apparently it's all O2's fault. The outage started yesterday morning, with certain GiffGaff customers losing all voice and data services for reasons which remain unclear …

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Hadn't noticed...

I haven't seen any outages (checks phone) nope - all still good...

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That's the trouble with being on a small network. If Vodafone fails one morning, the whole country knows about it by lunchtime and clients understand why they can't get through to you. If GiffGaff fails, nobody has heard about it, and you get angry voicemails demanding that you answer immediately.

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Anonymous Coward

anon for obvious reasons

This is the network where support forum questions are answered very, very quickly. And answered correctly a little while later... then flooded with more wrong answers.

I actually thought there were signs of improvement last weekend, in the thread I remember at least the wrong answers spit out by cash seeking freeloaders managed to have *nothing* to do with the question asked, with no chance of leading the poor user astray. The 3rd response actually answered the correct question AND got the answer right. Sad that that's worth commenting on as an improvement.

One thing giffgaff teaches us is just how stupid and greedy people can be.

And how incompetently a network can be run. I carry another SIM because O2 coverage is so unreliable and even when it works the voice quality, data throughput and SMS delivery time on giffgaff is shockingly poor. Otherwise I might have noticed the outage!

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Anonymous Coward

I think I've had a different experience

I moved over from Vodafone with an newly expired contract looking to test out all the other providers, staying with each a month. After an abortive Vectone start, I tried out giffgaff and have had such a simple, cheap and unstressed experience I've not bothered to move on 5 months later. Generally data and voice, both in and out of London has been fine (In fact far, far better than my voda experience. I did notice a slight lack of data last night for a few mins but went to flight mode and back again and that fixed it.

Posted as anon as I don't want anyone signing up over my gushing - I'm not looking to profit, but have had a good experience. Of course if they start having a lot of failures, I'll drop them like a hot brick - I love being contract free...

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WTF?

I think that...

...you must be using a different giffgaff to me then AC, I've found the performance of the network to be identical to how it was with the same phone as an O2 customer.

As for answers in the forum, I take some time to type correctly and provide the correct information rather than rushing to be the first to hit the send key. I may have fewer correct answer stats than I strictly deserve, but I do have a pretty decent level of kudos.

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I, too, have found the network to perform identically to O2.

And forum-wise, I find the majority of the answers to be informative. Of course some are complete tosh, as with any forum, but it works for me and costs me half as much as I was paying on an O2 simplicity plan.

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Better than T-Mobile

I moved from T-Mobile after a lot of procrastination following their mobile data allowance changes and I am very happy with GiffGaff. The signal is better and the data is way faster. I guess the quality of service is down to the coverage in your area.

As for the community, I used it to ask questions when I was thinking of moving and there was a certain amount of sorting the wheat from the chaff, but I usually got an answer pretty quickly. Now I don't really need to ask any questions and am not too fused about the community pay back thing. I just wanted a few minutes and text and as close to unlimited internet as I could get and that is exactly what I am getting for less than T-Mobile wanted.

As long as there are no extended and/or few intermittent outages I am happy...

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Greed indeed

Yes, the GG system of pay for responses has it's limitations. I once posted about poor or scratchy voice coverage and asked if others experienced exactly the same and had buckets of "ok here in Portsmouth" as people clawed and scratched for 'community pennies. I closed the thread after about eight of them duff responses.

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Has giffgaff upset you in some way, Bill?

Every part of your story was critical of giffgaff. I have been with them since day one and have had few problems. Those that have happened have been acknowledged and dealt with openly, which is far more than other networks manage.

Add in truly unlimited data, low cost calling and they offer a very attractive package.

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FAIL

What a poor article.

GiffGaff have had an outage. O2 are the technical provider, so maybe they are to blame.

Does it mean their entire business model is flawed? No.

+1 very happy GG customer here

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Vic
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> +1 very happy GG customer here

Likewise.

Giffgaff is far from perfect, but I'm glad I switched to them.

Vic.

[Also not had any outage problems]

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Anonymous Coward

Cheap amd Cheerful

GiffGaff is not really run by the customers. Its just a company with low operating costs because they do not have call centres or a huge advertising budget. These lower costs are passed onto the customer.

Customers can help othjer customers out via a forum instead of a call centre. Not having a call centre where someone reads from a script that does not cover your problem, promises tech support get back to you, but never do, etc. I don't miss those.

I have been using GiffGaff and its average, but then so were all the other mobile companies I have used previously. But its cheaper.

Oh and I have not been affected by the outage.

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FAIL

"But none of that helps run the actual network, which still needs engineers to keep it operational, and while the approaching-two-day outage may only be affecting a small number of people, it is still unacceptable for any mobile network – even one run by its customers."

And O2 has never had such problems before? I seem to remember a recent much larger scale mobile data problem from them.

I can't remember about any others, but the truth is all network operators have occasional glitches. Nobody is perfect.

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giffgaff too close to O2 to stand up for users

1: O2 is shite. Not just for having these frequent outages but their general service (coverage and service quality) is trailing the pack and in too many places completely missing or unusable. It's something giffgaff and their fans ought to remember when crowing about using O2's network as a positive thing. Being an O2 execs plaything and that O2 ownership means they cant move to a better network however bad things get.

2: Despite being an O2 sister company and (ex?) O2 execs giffgaff appear to have close to zero ability to get O2 to do anything quickly. When O2 screw up, giffgaff users wait and suffer. When O2 screwup Tesco (also on their network), O2 jumps. O2 screw up a lot.

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Um, rather a negative slant?

Yes the author is absolutely right, it's not like the big networks ever leave any customers without service for more than an hour or two. O2 in particular have absolutely no history whatsoever of massive data network outages.

giffgaff have always been great value and overall their service to me has been excellent. I don't do any of the referring people or "working" on their forums stuff. That said, the forums are a bit of a joke, you get tons of people chiming in with the same (sometimes wrong) answer to any query so they can get their "pennies".

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

Vic
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> their actualy more expensive than 3.

Are they? Not in my experience. And their website posts prices that are quite a bit more expensive than GiffGaff.

Care to put some numbers to your claim?

Vic.

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Load of rubbish

Never noticed anything, in fact I blatted my battery all day that day with no problems. Whatever the author has against gg is ofno interest to me, I'm perfectly happy. And if that ever changes, it costs me nothing to move on at a time of my choosing.

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Ted Leaf, that's bollocks my friend.

GiffGaff is exceptionally well priced, 8ppm for calls and 4p per text outside of very generous bundles (£10 bundle gives 250mins, unlimited text and web). No contract, auto top-up for the convenience of a contract should you desire. Generous data only bundles for tablets etc.

If you have a recent decent smartphone, don't bother upgrading it (with the inevitable 24 month tie-in), get yourself some GiffGaff and feel the extra in your pocket!

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Vic
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> 8ppm for calls and 4p per text outside of very generous bundles

Your prices are out of date. They've gone up.

It's now 10p/min for calls and 6p/text. Calls to other GiffGaff phones are free as long as you've topped up at least £10 in the last 3 months.

Vic.

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Trollface

Not only that...

But when I was in Sweden last week I discovered they only charge £1.50/MB for roaming data. So reasonable I couldn't be arsed picking up a swedish PAYG SIM. For comparison I had an Orange SIM with a few quid of credit on that I decided to use up - didn't take long since they charged £4/MB.

Icon since we actually saw a sign warning of trolls crossing the road when navigating round the gravel roads in the forest using my cheap-as-chips phone and google maps.

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Anonymous Coward

Sticking anything on top of O2 sounds like a recipe for problems - for the (very little) extra Vodafone costs think I'll be sticking with them.

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Anonymous Coward

(£10 bundle gives 250mins, unlimited text and web).

So what - just signed my father in law up with Vodafone and for £10 a month on a SIM only deal think he got 600 minutes, unlimited text and 500Mb web - sure it's not 'unlimited web' but I bet most people use far less than 100-200Mb anyway and that's more than double the minutes!

Any network offering 'free' and 'unlimited' web is going to get screwed and that is going to mean problems for normal users.

Oh and at least he's on Vodafone which works - O2 coverage is generally worse outside of major towns I find.

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I've been massively happy with GiffGaff, they perform just as well as any other provider I've ever used. The whole forum thing can be annoying with freeloaders chipping in with a load of crap but how many times have you called the support line of O2/Voda/Orange and been fed a load of crap? All providers have their issues, if there was one that out performed the rest we would all be with them!

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Giff gaff for over a year and not had any problems........... Enough said.

But whilst were on the subject, we lost most of our orange network last week at work taking out 400 staff phones which took a few days to fix, we had blackberry issues which took nearly a week. Anyone who thinks the can have 100% service or things fixed instantly wants to take a step back and actually look at what they are asking for.

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Hmm

I had a problem on Tuesday evening where I tried to text my wife from my iPhone but she ended up getting an email from O2 instead saying she had a picture message. The attachment was actually a text file containing the text (of my text.) Also I lost 16p credit each time.

I wonder if it's related.

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More likely it's the phone

Once a text message gets beyond a certain size it can be converted into an MMS, I have noticed both my Android phones running Gingerbread do this, not sure if it's a tweakable setting or if all phones do this.

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I have to add my vote of support....

... to GiffGaff here. I think one "problem" is that they seem to be far more transparent than the big networks when it comes to issues like this.

I am fairly certain that another network would have, in this situation, not issued a statement at all, or (if forced to comment) issued a "minor issues, virtually no one is affected at all" type of statement.

Giffgaff seem to put their hand up to every problem - possibly because the community forums are so active and the community can quickly identify patterns to issues, but whatever the reason it is still refreshing as a customer to deal with a (comparatively) honest network.

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@Vic, noted, but still half that of anyone else.

500MB snort, who's getting screwed?

You find O2 coverage worse, are you with O2 then?

Does your father-in-law have a tie-in with his SIM only deal?

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Vic
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> @Vic, noted, but still half that of anyone else.

Yes. My post was to correct a detail, not detract from the thrust of your message.

I'm very happy with Giffgaff.

Vic.

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37 hours without service from giffgaff

I was one of those affected users of giffgaff mentioned in Bill's article. My SIM card has been rendered invalid by the network for approx. 37 hours in total. So yes, outage was actually the real thing and looking through gg's forum thread there are still people who are down. That's unprecedented and frankly embarrassing outage to deal with.

I have obviously been very unhappy with the outage but on average I must admit that giffgaff's official response was pretty good after all. Despite they blamed O2 for the outage, they kept people up to date and even if these updates didn't immediately fix anything for anyone, I couldn't think of any other provider offering similar openness in the outreach to its users. That doesn't obviously excuse them from the problem in the first place, yet is still very nice to see.

Now, as a giffgaff user for past few months (migrated from TMUK) I can only say that cannot really blame it for anything in particular, maybe apart from their mother network, the dreaded O2. Their 2G coverage is OK'ish but 3G coverage is a joke, especially anywhere outside M25. I thought their 3G900 rollout hype is real but I quickly realised it's pretty much limited to Central London only. Also, when I was experiencing evident network issues at home and tried to submit the case to someone relevant in the O2, I usually couldn't get past through first-line idiots at customer service. Thankfully my problem has resolved "by itself" as they have built a new NodeB just outside my balcony few weeks ago.

When it comes to giffgaff's "community customer service" I must admit, it is filled with sh*.*t loads of morons whose only aim is to post as much content as possible to gain poin... ekhm, cash, regardless if it actually make sense or not. Sadly, that's a disease of giffgaff's community and it should be tackled somehow, I think. But on the whole I can only praise the community and all people involved there, as well as gg's employees. I really value their openness, also on "bad" things like price increases. They at least seem to care, which is quite rare nowadays.

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O2 Coverage

Thats odd, I'm currently sitting looking at my phone (a HD2 with a flashed Android ROM, so definitely not stock) that has a 'H' for the data connection and I'm, as the crow flies, about 110 miles outside of the M25. In fact, I've never had any problems with getting a 3G/HSDPA signal where I've been. I think sometimes the signal you get is often down to the phone itself rather than the network.

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Is that "110 miles outside M25" a city of some sort or a complete middle of nowhere? I've recently been to Oxford and discovered that O2's 3G coverage along M40 is a joke. It's London, then around Beaconsfield and High Wycombe some 3G scraps and then nothing up until Oxford itself. Yes, 2G coverage is all along the road but 3G is virtually non-existent.

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