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Giffgaff announces more news on their pricing structure

You remember Giffgaff, right? That’s the all new o2-backed MVNO that I introduced to you last month.

I’m encouraged by the can-do open attitude of the management team who are very approachable and appear keen to really innovate the mobile operator offering.

Kylie, the company’s marketing chief, posted a note with some updates on their pricing structure.

It makes fascinating reading. For instance, see this paragraph:

We were going to launch with one simple per minute / per text rate. We thought it was the most simple and transparent way of doing things. And we’d make sure it was among the lowest in the market.

But we’re not sure anymore. Our research tells us that around 64% of people don’t know what they pay for individual calls and texts. Because the other networks sell everything in bundles, that’s what people know – they get 300 texts for £10 or whatever. The problem is that if we price per minute / per text, people won’t be able to compare and see what great value we are. And yet we don’t want to do bundles, because we think they’re complicated and not clear.

Kylie makes a valid point. Goodness knows how many MVNOs have tried to gain traction with a super-boring, super-annoying, nobody-cares ‘5p’ per minute or ’10p’ per text rates.

In the United Kingdom, we’re done with per minute and per text charges, we really are. There is absolutely no way to compete with the mighty existing operators on a 5p/10p offering. It’s simply too hard to differentiate the offering.

So Kylie’s on the hunt for some assistance:

So we need your help. How do you think we should charge? Per minute / per text? Or bundles? Or something else?

My own view is do something revolutionary. Really change the dynamic — for example, offer the likes of Skydeck by default to all customers as part of the deal.

The good news is that, initially, data is going to be entirely free. Principally because the Giffgaff team won’t have completed their back-end billing system to charge for it. Fair enough! So for at least the first six months of beta service, you’ll get 100mb fair-usage data per day from Giffgaff. Nice.

There’s a series of interesting comments on Kylie’s post already. My favourite is this suggestion from reader Sam:

introduce a ‘bundle’ whereas you can get unlimited internet, for example, a fiver off your credit every month, instead of extra on top. this could also open the door for a good marketing campaign, something along the lines of;

‘GiffGaff. We like to keep things simple. You get an allowance each month, and you can use it for everything you could possibly do with your mobile. GiffGaff: Unlimited Possibilities, Fixed Cost’

I like that kind of concept.

There’s still a ton of innovative possibilities to attack in the mobile operator space.

For example, international calls. They’re billed in a stupid manner, still.

Roaming calls. Crazy.

Roaming data. Still crazy.

There’s a lot of room to differentiate — at the moment, anyway. 3UK is doing it’s best (with a slightly disbelieving public) with their ‘free, unlimited Skype chat’ offering. I think that’s just a little bit too far outside the understanding of your average normob.

I’d like to see some really clear aggressive monthly pricing along the lines of the don’t-take-the-piss model.

£25 unlimited UK calls and texts.

£30 unlimited UK calls, texts and data.

£50 unlimited international calls to 120 destinations, unlimited UK calls and unlimited data.

£75 unlimited international calls; unlimited roaming calls within 50 countries, unlimited UK calls, unlimited data.

£125 unlimited international calls, unlimited roaming calls within 50 countries, unlimited UK calls, unlimited UK data, unlimited roaming data.

£155 – as £125, but you get priority data access on the local cell. Or a faster mobile data service.

Am I dreaming? 😉

Anyway I’m looking forward to hearing about the next steps with Giffgaff. I’ll keep you posted!

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

11 replies on “Giffgaff announces more news on their pricing structure”

I'd like an operator to realise that voice calls are no longer the primary use for everybody. I make v.few voice calls, send a reasonable amount of texts, but use plenty of mobile data. I've also got a few phones (& other devices) which I'd like to have low-cost unlimited data access. Give me options that aren't voice-centric, that don't assume “okay, so we start with 300/600/unlimited minutes… then what?”

Agreed… but then what would it take to get you to swap operators? I mean, you personally? It's going to have to be something pretty compelling, right? The problem, I think, with any MVNO working on a PAYG basis is that, ultimately, you have to pander to the lowest end of the PAYG market :

This is very similar to the way I use my phone. I happened to join Orange (Wait! I know the scorn you'll be wanting to vent, but hang on!) during the period last summer where they offered “unlimited” data. Looking at my bills, my data usage ranges from 400MB to 1.6GB (when I was furiously Slingboxing).

I like the idea of getting a phone where the firmware's not been butchered – you have my permission to mock Orange on this – but would be frightened to work out what hundreds of megs of data would cost on PAYG. And there'd be no point on being on contract if you've paid for an unlocked phone!

So, I will keep an eye on Giffgaff and their pricing model as a PAYG model that was reasonable for data could well attract my business.

Me personally? Letting me have one number and several SIM cards that can use it, preferably all at the same time. And don't charge me a full subscription for each one – there has to be a balance where it's not ridiculously expensive for me, and it's not economically unfeasible for them.

You know what'd make me switch to a new operator? *Good* customer service. Even if it's only by email as Giffgaff is planing to do, I'd seriously consider switching if I every time I needed help I got it quickly and easily and without having to deal with a CSR who has no idea about what they're talking about.

I'd also like to not be raped with fees. I'm willing to pay a bit more for good service (the priority data access on the local cell idea is brilliant!), which is not the same as paying stupidly high fees for nothing.

I hope Giffgaff can do this. They'll have me as a customer if they do.

You know what'd make me switch to a new operator? *Good* customer service. Even if it's only by email as Giffgaff is planing to do, I'd seriously consider switching if I every time I needed help I got it quickly and easily and without having to deal with a CSR who has no idea about what they're talking about.

I'd also like to not be raped with fees. I'm willing to pay a bit more for good service (the priority data access on the local cell idea is brilliant!), which is not the same as paying stupidly high fees for nothing.

I hope Giffgaff can do this. They'll have me as a customer if they do.

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