Here is a mobile provider that will treat you like family, or at least that's what they claim. When you sign up to their service, Giffgaff welcomes you as the newest member of their family instead of calling you a customer. Giffgaff has a unique way of running their business with this "family" concept.
They have online forums where members are encouraged to make contributions such as price plans ideas or potential rewards in return of points. With this concept, members are greatly involved in determining their business direction, that's why it's not surprising that currently Giffgaff has the most active online community within the mobile industry in the UK, and probably in the world. Another unique yet great thing about their business concept is that they pass their savings (from cutting expenses and such) to the members! I guess they don't call you family for nothing after all.
However, there is something that you might call a negative aspect about involving customers (or members) too deeply into how they run their business. They also let the members become their customer support agents through discussions in the online forums. They actually do have customer service staff, but mainly these people only deal with simple stuff like "how to" questions and such. But if you have complicated problems like for example when network outages occur, they will let the online forum members answer your questions. There are hundreds if not thousands of discussions within the forum discussing various problems that may occur with the help of the Giffgaff team. But the good thing is, they are very open in discussing just about any kind of problem you may have with their services.
This unique mobile provider is owned by Telefónica, a Spanish company which is one of the largest telecommunication providers in the world. In the UK, Telefónica is using the O2 network to provide their mobile services. This is a huge positive point about Giffgaff, considering that O2 is a network provider that earned the highest level of customers' satisfaction according to Ofcom's report in 2012. Another good thing about it is that you won't have to unlock your O2 phone if you want to use a Giffgaff SIM with it.
However, if you're using any handsets other than O2 (or obviously a handset directly from Giffgaff), you will have to unlock it first, because most handsets in the UK are network locked. That could be a hassle for some people and you might want to take it into your consideration before deciding to use this network provider. Another thing to consider is that usually, you will lose any warranty you have on your handset when you unlock it, also there might be some charges applied on some phones. So you need to be absolutely sure before you do anything about it. If unlocking seems to be too much trouble for you, then you might want to consider of getting a handset inclusive deal from Giffgaff.
As always, remember that Giffgaff is fully supported by Scratchr so if you need to send a text to a Giffgaff customer just head over to scratchr.org
London, WC1N 4MF