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back to article GiffGaff: We've got no iPhones, but here's how to cut down your SIM

While O2's discount wing, GiffGaff, isn't offering the iPhone 5, it is providing instructions for those willing to take up the scissors and give their existing SIM a trim. The step-by-step guide comes complete with a video, and shows how a traditional SIM can be cut down and squeezed into an iPhone 5. GiffGaff won't take …

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Stop

Before you rush out and get your unlimited, 10 quid all you can eat deal, be made aware that GG are currently having an open consultation the net result of which is that the tenner deal will be restricted to 750MB data monthly. Should still be unlimited for 13 quid though. Rather more worryingly so far as I am concerned, they are promising to improve their tether detection which means that my poor Nexus 7 could be left out in the cold on those long bus rides into work. VPN might be the only way to go.

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Silver badge

So, basically, like every other provider on the planet "unlimited" means nothing to them at all.

To be honest, too many horror stories on The Reg front page alone over the past year for me to even touch them. Especially if they're just pulling the same tricks as everyone else. If they want money, they can pull their sponsorship of The Big Bang Theory ("let's advertise to nerds, all of whom know who we are anyway!").

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Anonymous Coward

So people like you who abuse the "no tethering" rule have now cause GiffGaff to reconsider their unlimited data option. Nice one.

Every decent option GiffGaff have provided have been abused by idiots, the unlimited minutes goodybag for instance.

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Anonymous Coward

It is unlimited at the moment. It's just idiots have abused it as they always do.

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Not really. GiffGaff's unlimited is currently genuinely unlimited. If they restrict it, I'm sure they'll stop calling it unlimited. They are pretty good like that.

Personally I've seen better coverage and far better customer service* with GiffGaff than I ever did with Vodafone or Orange. My phone bill has dropped to the point that I'm already saving money on my outright handset purchase less than a year ago compared to the 'free' 18 or 24 month contract I could have got elsewhere. Other people's mileage will, of course vary. I do recommend GG to my friends and those who have signed up seem happy - and I can call/text them for free, which is even better.

* it's hard to have a call-centre phonetard mess up your seemingly simple request when there are no call centres. Same same for being on hold for hours being told every thirty seconds how important your call is.

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Mushroom

Honestly...

...I'm sick of this sort of thing. You know tethering breaks the agreement you signed up to, yet you do it anyway. You know that tethering uses more data, but you do it anyway. Then you bitch that because you, and others like you, abuse the service, the service is having to be curtailed or cost more. While still abusing it. Meanwhile, GG customers who follow the Ts & Cs, don't tether and don't abuse the service are going to either have to pay more or have our service curtailed. Because of you. Thanks for that.

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Thumb Down

Well, I only tether my Nexus 7 on the way to work to browse the internet and check email, something I'd otherwise be doing on my phone. Don't really feel I should be paying another tenner a month for that TBH. Not quite the same are hooking up a PC to it and using it as my primary connection.

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Go

Your information is out of date. £10 will get you 1GB (from November - unlimited for now), and £12 will get you unlimited data.

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FAIL

It is unlimited at the moment

No, it isn't. I have a few friends on Giffgaff and between 18 to 20GB seems to be the current maximum of what they consider 'unlimited', and apparently they consider everyone who uses more than say 10GB/month to be tethering (and before you ask: yes, that can easily be reached without tethering on a smartphone, maybe not an iPhone, though; I'm using around 20-60GB a month on my cell phone alone but I am with 3 so that's not a problem as unlike GG they do have a network that can support data properly).

"It's just idiots have abused it as they always do."

It's just idiots who still believe the old excuse used providers who simply oversold their network capacity (and Giffgaff does that for quite some time!) saying 'unlimited' is not really unlimited because the top 1%/5% downloaders are ruining it for everyone. If they can't deliver 'unlimited' then they should have said so in the first place instead of making promises they can't keep, period.

Don't blame the users that they are taking GG by their word.

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Holmes

3 doesn't seem to have a problem with large monthly traffic

I'm using all-you-can-eat (PAYG) on Three for quite a while and apparently they don't care much about the around 50GB a month I'm using.

"To be honest, too many horror stories on The Reg front page alone over the past year for me to even touch them."

Same here, especially since the stories from friends are the same. They may be ok if reliability is not of concern and if 'unlimited' means less than say maybe 4GB a month or so but other than that I wouldn't touch them with a barge pole.

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WTF?

Re: 3 doesn't seem to have a problem with large monthly traffic

What the hell are you guys doing with your phones to pull down that much data?

And over 3G too?? You must have you phones connected to the charger the whole time.

I make do with 500MB each month with capacity to spare.

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Chz
WTF?

Re: 3 doesn't seem to have a problem with large monthly traffic

I'm wondering that myself. I once *tried* to eat all the data I reasonably could in a month and still didn't manage to hit a GB (though it was very close). Maybe 3 really does have the infrastructure, but it's impossible to reliably watch any sort of high-res streaming video on the move with any of the Big Four. Basic YouTube is all you can get without hiccups and that doesn't eat all that much data.

Maybe if the 3G/3.75G networks were a bit more robust I could blow a few GB, but that's just not the case.

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Anonymous Coward

Hmmm

Am I the only one thinking that iPhone 5 owners are the least likely segment of society likely to be looking for a cheap network provider? Let's be honest, if you value form over function that much then money/performance is likely to be of little object to you, you'd go to the network with the best logo surely?

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Re: Hmmm

And also, the least likely to dig out scissors to go cutting up circuit boards in order to use their devices in the first place.

Sorry, but even the "micro-sim" junk was too much for me and I wouldn't touch them with a bargepole (work once asked me to do it for their Samsung S3's. I told them that if it doesn't arrive with it's own micro-SIM, I'm not going to go chopping them up. Not because it's dangerous, or because it's a pain, or because I might screw it up, but just to make sure that the only people paying for the decision to use a non-standard SIM ****FOR NO GOOD REASON**** are the people who made that decision.

In the end, the phones all came along with new micro-SIM's from the mobile operator and I made the telephone company shuffle the old numbers onto them, and the box contained some adaptors to turn the new micro-SIM's into normal SIM's should we move on .

The SIM is a good standard and trimming even 1% of its size off is inexcusable and unnecessary. These phones are NOT that cramped for space. It's just trying to make a new "standard" by force. I refuse to be part of it.

I can't imagine an Apple fan taking a pair of scissors to their SIM's, either, to be honest. They'll just take it to the shop and get a "genius" to do it for them. (And, as Sheldon says, I refuse to contribute to the devaluation of the word genius).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hmmm

Depends, it's no fun to be on a 24 month contract and wanting the next handset.

If you can afford SIM-free it gives you more options.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hmmm

Works for me :-) I like iOS, and am tight.

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Boffin

@Lee Dowling

The SIM is a good standard and trimming even 1% of its size off is inexcusable and unnecessary. These phones are NOT that cramped for space. It's just trying to make a new "standard" by force. I refuse to be part of it.

This picture from iFixit.com shows the circuit board for the iPhone 5 - that big thing in the middle that takes up almost exactly the same space as the CPU is where the nano-SIM lives. Do you still claim that saving space with the smaller SIM card was not required? Apparently the actual size difference between micro- and nano-SIMs is 40%

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Anonymous Coward

"Proof" by iFixit picture

So they manage to put the CPU in their phones in a package smaller than a regular SIM card. Pray tell, how does that require the SIM to become smaller, too? Does it allow noticeably more battery life? Does it allow another chip with some feature or other? An external connector perhaps? Another knob, button, lever, thumb-wheel? What? What connection is your argument trying to make here, and how does that make sense? I don't get it so please do explain.

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Boffin

Re: "Proof" by iFixit picture

You Lee claimed that the inside of a phone is not sufficiently cramped that the space gained by reducing the SIM size is of any benefit. I simply showed that the inside of the iPhone 5 is cramped enough that the SIM interface is a significant part of the main PCB.

The iPhone 5 CPU is quite a bit bigger - according to iFixit:

With a die area of 96.71 mm2, the die is considerably larger than the previous generation variant of the Apple A5 (~70 sq mm)

Even though the case is longer, more space is required for the larger CPU, 4G interfacing, and extra microphone, slightly larger cameras, slightly larger battery etc.

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Anonymous Coward

You showed what?

You did show a picture of a pcb, one that isn't quite the size of the complete phone. The 40% size difference in sim formats might translate to a less than 1% size difference in the complete phone, possibly even zero. Who knows? I can't tell from that picture. And neither have you managed to show that. Your argument hinges on the pcb, which as noted is a lot smaller than the complete phone, so the ratio of sim to pcb or to some chip or other on the pcb is quite irrelevant. Thus, it does not constitute conclusive proof that the phone somehow necessitated a smaller sim. Not even close. Care to try again?

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CT

...network run by you

Is this the bunch that advertise themselves as the network "run by you"? I'd prefer a network run by people qualified and/or experienced at running a network.

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Re: ...network run by you

Good for you. I prefer cheaper monthly mobile bills, piggybacking O2 as a carrier, but you do your own thing, and good luck to you.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: ...network run by you

The cells and infrastructure are run by O2.

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Gold badge

Re: ...network run by you

They have less outages than Orange.

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Re: ...network run by you

I'd prefer a network run by competent staff. I've yet to find one, so at least I'm nearer to getting what I pay for with GG.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: ...network run by you

You're in a position to judge the competency of telecom staff are you? Good man.

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Re: ...network run by you

I'm happy with GiffGaff.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: ...network run by you

Sometimes if you want a job done properly you have to do it yourself.

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FAIL

Good luck getting a replacement SIM!

I'd say good luck to anyone trying to get a replacement SIM. Both my daughters are on Giffgaff, my eldest daughter had problems with her SIM so we ordered her a new one, in fact we tried about 6 times ordering one and every time they don't come through. We've got spare SIMs that my other daughter has to give out but we can't use them and transfer the number across.

So for now Giffgaff has lost at least 12 months of credit (probably around 10 to 15 quid a month) because they can't seem to deliver a SIM (every time we get the same thing, we're sending another one, you'll get it within 5 days). Yes they're cheap but my god the service is pretty crappy!

Rob

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Silver badge

Snipping

Warning... an inaccurately snipped SIM could become stuck in the iPhone or any other phone.

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Happy

Re: Snipping

Internal calipers, micrometer, sandpaper, ....., check; all set.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Snipping

>could become stuck in the iPhone or any other phone

I suspect it could only really become stuck in any phone you put it in.

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Bronze badge
FAIL

Nice plug but GiffGaff oh my!

Exactly with the iPhone GiffGaff tries your patience.

- On my missus' phone, she is the non-techy one, the iPhone periodically reverts to o2 3g data settings. Leaving her in the lurch. and me a bit embarrassed having recommended GG. Any other SIM brand, the 3g settings are instantly auto set up as soon as the SIM goes in, and stay that way!

- The voicemail button does not work, which baffles the missus. The suggested kludge of launching it via Safari means you are forever dialing voicemail by accident when opening Safari!

- iPhone is a bit data greedy. You need to watch it carefully. GiffGaff has no decent itemized billing, only a tardy monthly summary email that leaves you feeling more puzzled than ever.

- £1 per minute to call many Asian countries! Quite exceptionally high, o2's own PAYG SIM offer is about 5p/min.

- Frankly, o2's 3g data speeds are pants compared to 3 or EE.

Plus points of GG is universal UK coverage even indoors and their rates.

I think o2 is deliberately keeping GiffGaff crippled as other piggy back brands don't have the above issues.

GG you need a total revamp!

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Gold badge

Re: Nice plug but GiffGaff oh my!

That's down to the stupidity of the iPhone. It doesn't recognise GiffGaff properly.

I moved from an iPhone to Nokia Lumia and it works fine, it never reverts to O2. It even displays "GiffGaff" as the operator not O2 like the iPhone does.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nice plug but GiffGaff oh my!

"On my missus' phone, she is the non-techy one, the iPhone periodically reverts to o2 3g data settings. Leaving her in the lurch. and me a bit embarrassed having recommended GG. Any other SIM brand, the 3g settings are instantly auto set up as soon as the SIM goes in, and stay that way!"

My missus' iphone doesn't have this problem on giff gaff.

"The voicemail button does not work, which baffles the missus. The suggested kludge of launching it via Safari means you are forever dialing voicemail by accident when opening Safari!"

Or just call 443. She's easy confused, poor love.

"iPhone is a bit data greedy. You need to watch it carefully. GiffGaff has no decent itemized billing, only a tardy monthly summary email that leaves you feeling more puzzled than ever"

If you buy a £10 a month goody bag, data is unlimited. If you don't, the most you could potentially save would be £5 a month, if you didn't use data. At all.

"£1 per minute to call many Asian countries! Quite exceptionally high, o2's own PAYG SIM offer is about 5p/min"

You use a mobile to call Asia internationally? You are an idiot.

"Frankly, o2's 3g data speeds are pants compared to 3 or EE"

Frankly, no they aren't.

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Go

Re: Nice plug but GiffGaff oh my!

My fiancee is on giffgaff, with a Galaxy S. I've configured it that in 3G areas she calls China for 1p/min, out of 3G it'll call for 1p/min + goodybag minutes. No need to pay a quid a minute.

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Re: Nice plug but GiffGaff oh my!

Well, yes, it's £1/minute to certain countries but at least they don't block your use of LycaTel, DialWise and other cheap call through providers. So you use your free minutes to call a London number and then call through to your target. Since there's pretty decent competition in that market you do get reasonable rates. Besides, calls to Europe, US, Canada and several others are pretty good with GiffGaff.

Don't know why so many people are bashing them. Sure they had a couple of outages this year but they are fantastically priced and at least for me their customer service has worked really well and so does the 3G. Also, the forums have an answer to pretty much every question you could have readily available.

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FAIL

No chance

It strikes me that buying an expensive off contract iPhone and then hacking up the SIM to stick in it is a bit like buying a new house and then getting the Chuckle Brothers round to decorate it for you.

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Gold badge

Re: No chance

So you don't think that saving £180 is worth it?

Not to mention that with Giffgaff you can vary your package, so one month you can get a £5 bundle or the next £25.

Plus you have the freedom to sell the handset whenever you like.

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Re: No chance

My comment had nothing to do with the pros and cons of the network, or their prices, more about shoving an irregularly hacked chunk of plastic into a brand new expensive smartphone...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No chance

And the reply was pointing out that saving £180 a year by carefully cutting something is actually quite a good idea.

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Anonymous Coward

@Nifty

Data and MMS settings are lost only when you reset or upgrade - its two lines of text and numbers.

I use HulloMail (its free) works perfectly

Data greedy? I used 300Mb last month, my highest was about 900Mb when I watched an England match online. I dont get the point about itemisation, even on the £10 goodybag ive never gone over any limits or incurred any extra charges.

Dont call abroad, cant comment.

O2/GG have (in my opinion for my city) download speeds faster than Orange/EE etc

For £10 a month and no commitment, its a no brainer. Even if you do need a little tech know how in some instances,

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Anonymous Coward

'If you can afford 500 quid in the first place'.

Might be worth noting that Amazon do a mastercard with 0% interest for the first 12 months on purchases over £300.

Buy, pay off, chop into pieces,

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Anonymous Coward

What annoys me is that in all probability the markup on an off-contract iPhone is probably stupendous. I suspect that the carriers are paying about £200-250 (based on the BOM) and the high prices to the determined end user are there to conceal just how big the carrier's effective margin is.

And to make a nice profit which is much higher than that on most consumer electronics products.

It's a pity that the EU hasn't regulated that all phones must be sold separately from usage contracts and not bundled. (I suspect that Microsoft, RIM, Panasonic and so on would agree with this.)

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Anonymous Coward

You may think that but you would be wrong.

As someone who until recently worked in mobile retail I can tell you that the margins on the iPhone are actually razor thin. If you wanted to make any real profit from an iPhone sale you had to punt a LOT of accessories. The only ones making a nice profit margin are Apple.

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Anonymous Coward

How?

How can you abuse an 'unlimited' network, and why are people who 'abuse' such a service 'idiots, rather than using what is advertised & paid for?

Its like you're complaining about someone eating too much at an 'all you can eat' restaurant.

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Re: How?

Sure, let's take that argument. There's a big sign in the all-you-can-eat restaurant that says, "One person per plate." It's cheap enough, so most people pay for themselves, their kid, etc. However, occasionally, a family comes in and orders two meals for four people; the kids just eat off mom and dad's plates. The restaurant has a decent margin, but after enough families start feeding their kids for free, that margin evaporates.

Or, a man comes in as soon as the restaurant opens, orders a meal, and starts eating. He eats lunch, then continues sitting at his table, working at a computer (and snacking and continually refilling his drink), until supper, where he goes back to the buffet. He's technically within the rules laid out, but he's eating way more than the average person.

I can't speak for everyone, but I don't complain about people who download a lot of stuff. I complain about people who download a lot of stuff just because they can. The most I've used in a month is about 2 gigs; and yet, there are people who use a hundred gigs a month. I can't fathom how someone using a smart phone could manage to download that much data legally - constantly streaming Netflix? Streaming music 24/7? Long daily video chats on Skype? Continuous video stream of your life? Synchronizing your entire DVD collection over the air - monthly? The mind boggles...

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Re: How?

I believe the abuse is more like going to an 'all you can eat' restaurant and passing plates of food out of the window to your mates... but if you want to to believe differently then carry on.

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Holmes

The mind boggles

"I can't fathom how someone using a smart phone could manage to download that much data legally."

It's actually pretty easy if your phone is a tool rather than just a toy. For example, most days I get between 50 to 90 MBs per day in the form of emails with large attachments (sometimes even more than that), totaling to around 1.5GB. Many of these attachments have to be forwarded to other people so they go through the pipe again, which means each month I use something in the region of 2.5GB for email alone. For my work I often have to download manuals and software (patch sets), which on average I would say make around 50GB a month. In addition, there are other things like a bit of web radio, some occasional video streaming (Youtube), the odd update for the satnav software and other bits I haven't listed. All fully legal. And yes, all on my smartphone.

"The mind boggles"

Maybe, but as I said not everyone uses his phone as a toy which is used for a bit of Facebook and Twitter.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The mind boggles

And you're not tethering at all?

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