Sunday, October 01, 2017

Giffgaff warning: Channel Islands

I have raised this on various social media but thought I should blog about it too in case it is useful for anyone who, like me, has a mobile phone on giffgaff.

Guernsey, and the other Channel Islands, are not in the European Union. This means that technically they are outside the EU roaming agreement which means that whatever bundle or package you have on your mobile phone can now be used in other EU countries too. This is particularly annoying because they are part of the +44 zone, so your phone does not recognise that it is outside the UK and you have to manually turn off mobile data.

My phone is on giffgaff which works well in the UK and in France. Under the old arrangement they charged me on Pay as you go when in Guernsey but it was at a manageable rate.

Under the new arrangement, no calls relating to the Channel islands are included in your goodybag. Phoning Guernsey from the UK costs 8p per minute to a landline, which is four times the cost of calling France or even China! Much worse, however, phoning Guernsey from France costs £1 per minute. And both making AND receiving calls in Guernsey also costs £1 per minute.

Here it is again bigger in case you missed that:

Making a giffgaff call from
Guernsey: £1 per minute

Receiving a giffgaff call in
Guernsey: £1 per minute

Making a giffgaff call from France to
Guernsey: £1 per minute

You can check prices by going to and entering Guernsey, which is helpful although shocking.

Now let's try that again with Vodafone (whom we gave up on when the local transmitter in Suffolk stopped working). If you have a contract or bundle, charges are as follows:
Making a Vodafone call from
Guernsey: 0p per minute

Receiving a Vodafone call in
Guernsey: 0p per minute

Making a Vodafone call from France to Guernsey: 0p per minute 

If you're on normal Vodafone pay as you go, rates are the same as in the UK.

I think the prices from giffgaff are shocking. In fact my account couldn't top up fast enough to keep up with them and I was cut off during a call to Robin from Brest. I couldn't afford to accept calls when in Guernsey.

Giffgaff says of itself "...we believe in something simple. A better way to do mobile...It's why we work our socks off every day to keep you." Dear Mr Giffgaff, please work your socks off to charge me sensible rates for the Channel Islands which are after all less than 30 miles in a straight line from France.

Warning to other giffgaff users: if you're going to the Channel Islands, take a different phone, or a different SIM from a more helpful provider.

There is an interesting discussion about this at It seems giffgaff didn't start planning for the EU changes until a month before they happened, in spite of having almost two years' notice. As one poster comments, "I really wonder how much additional revenue this will generate for GiffGaff and if it really worthwhile, considering the ill feeling generated amongst many GG customers." Giffgaff say they will be reviewing usage after September 2017, so perhaps they may be able to consider a better approach in future..

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