Sharp End: GiffGaff benefits and bill shock

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Dealer Jez Harris discusses why he thinks Giffgaff’s offers are good value for money and congratulates Three on being fair to customers

Giffgaff MVNO value
I’ve recently become familiar with O2’s Giffaff prepay MVNO, which offers users some amazing value. Standard calls are charged at 8p and texts at 4p. Calls and texts between Giffgaff users are free. It is even offering free internet access to the end of February. Giffgaff has bundle offers available, called ‘Goody Bags’, that give certain allowances for a fixed monthly charge. So a £5 Goody Bag gives the user unlimited texts, a £10 Bag gives 250 minutes and unlimited texts and internet, a £15 one gives a further 50 minutes, and £20 gives another 350 minutes.

Giffgaff’s unlimited internet, like Three’s, is unlimited, with no monthly caps and no extra charges. Another nice touch is it does not charge for 0800 numbers like other networks. It also rewards users with £2 calling credit if they recommend the service to others who join. It provides a whole raft of internet banners and links to enable easy referral and tracking of leads. Anyone that joins up as a result of an affiliate link receives £5 calling credit. Giffgaff gives users SIM cards to pass on to be activated by new users, for which they get a £5 airtime bonus.

More bill shock
I’ve been writing a little bit about this recently, and fellow dealers have contacted me over the Christmas period to say their customers, also, have been charged excessive data charges by operators. They agree operators should take steps to ensure customers know when they are approaching the end of their allowances. It would not be difficult for them to text customers to advise them of this, and to request they reply to acknowledge they are aware of charges going forward.

It seems consumer action group Which? is also making noises about operator data charges.

Three now has true unlimited, or ‘all-you-can-eat’ data tariffs, as they describe it on their One Plan. As well as 2,000 minutes, 5,000 on-network minutes and 5,000 texts, Three is the first operator to give a truly ‘unlimited’ data to customers. This goes against what other operators seem to be doing, which is to be reducing  data allowances.

Congratulations to Three, then, for embracing data and being fair to customers – at least with this.  Other operators need to be clearer about data allowances and ensure customers cannot go over their allowance without their knowledge and incur bill shock.

Orange commissions
Commissions are roughly the same for the start of 2011 as the end of 2010. Let’s hope this continues through the rest of 2011.

It took Orange quite a while this month to actually sign off commissions – I actually received my Orange commercials on January 7. It would seem someone at Orange could not quite decide on whether or not to sign them off, and whether the extra bonuses paid towards the end of last year were going to be carried forward into this year.

As it turns out, it looks like the commissions for new connections were only dropped by £10 per connection, which is a relief, as it looked for a time like they might be reduced by £55 per connection. On the plus side, some small business upgrade commissions saw a small increase, which is always welcome.

Build your own apps
And finally, a little tip for those who are more technically minded. Fancy creating an app for your business that will run on Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android or Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7? Well now you can with minimal programming knowledge.

Get yourselves over to www.appmakr.com and you can start creating your own apps for free.

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