From today, piggyback mobile network Giffgaff is revamping its 'Goodybag' plans and axing its 3G range. MoneySavingExpert.com explains who wins and who loses as a result of its move.

4G offers faster data speeds than 3G, and there's been a move in recent years towards offering it as standard on most networks' plans.

Giffgaff has offered both 3G and 4G Goodybags – Sim-only plans each lasting for a month at a time – since April last year. See our Cheap Mobiles guide for the top Sim-only deals and tips on how to cut your bill.

However from today, Giffgaff is revamping its 4G range and axing its 3G bundles for new customers – although those who activated their Sim before 2 August 2015 will still be able to get its £12 and £20 3G Goodybags until early next year. The change means:

Winners:

  • Customers who previously paid for a 3G or 4G Goodybag costing £15, £18 or £20 will now get more inclusive minutes.
  • Customers who previously paid for a 4G Goodybag costing £12, £15 or £18 will now get an extra GB of data for the same price.
  • Giffgaff is introducing its first 4G bundle with unlimited minutes, texts and data, and users will be able to 'tether' – share their mobile's data connection with other devices – on the first 6GB.

Losers:

  • Customers who previously paid for a 3G £12 or £15 Goodybag will get less data for the same price.
  • Customers who previously got Giffgaff's 3G £20 Goodybag got completely unlimited data. But customers with Giffgaff's new £20 4G bundle with unlimited minutes, texts and data will only get 4G speeds on the first 6GB they use. After this they'll be restricted to a speed of 256 kilobits per second between 8am and midnight – nearly 60 times slower than average UK 4G speeds, according to regulator Ofcom's figures.

Martin Lewis
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So what's changing?

The table below is a full breakdown of what's changing:

Goodybag bundle changes

Price Former 3G Goodybag allowance Former 4G Goodybag allowance New Goodybag allowance (all 4G)
£5 100 mins, 300 texts, 100MB (i) N/A 100 mins, 300 texts, 100MB (i)
£7.50 250 mins, unlimited texts, 500MB N/A 250 mins, unlimited texts, 500MB
£10 500 mins, unlimited texts, 1GB N/A 500 mins, unlimited texts, 1GB
£12 500 mins, unlimited texts, 3GB (ii) 500 mins, unlimited texts, 1GB 500 mins, unlimited texts, 2GB
£15 500 mins, unlimited texts, 5GB 500 mins, unlimited texts, 3GB 1,000 mins, unlimited texts, 4GB
£18 N/A 1,000 mins, unlimited texts, 5GB 2,000 mins, unlimited texts, 6GB
£20 2,000 mins, unlimited texts & data (iii) N/A Unlimited mins, texts & data (iv)
All goodybags come with unlimited Giffgaff-to-Giffgaff calls. (i) You get an extra minute for every minute you get called by a non-Giffgaff number. (ii) Available until 1 Mar 2016 for existing customers who activated their Sim on or before 2 Aug 2015. (iii) Available until 12 Jan 2016 for existing customers who activated their Sim on or before 2 Aug 2015. (iv) 4G speeds on the first 6GB only, speed restricted to 256 kilobits per second from 8am to midnight after.

What does this mean for me?

Q. What will happen to my current Goodybag?

A. 'Recurring Goodybags' are those which refresh automatically each month. If you have this set up and your current Goodybag refreshed before 2 September, it would've reset with the same Goodybag bundle and will remain the same until it expires.

However, if your current Goodybag refreshes after 2 September, your next Goodybag will be different. You'll be automatically moved onto the new 4G Goodybag at the equivalent price point – unless you're on the 3G £12 or £20 Goodybag, which will refresh as normal as these bundles are available until early 2016 (see below for more on this).

You can cancel a recurring Goodybag in the payment details section of Giffgaff's website.

If you've paid for your next Goodybag in advance to begin after your current one expires – known as a "queued Goodybag" – it should activate as as normal with the same allowance. You can only make advance payments one month at a time, so after this ends, the above explanation will apply to you.

Q. I don't have a 4G phone – can I still get data?

A. If you don't have a 4G phone, you'll still be able to use your allowance on a 3G phone, you'll just get 3G speeds unless you upgrade to a device that's 4G ready.

The original iPhone 5 is the only known 4G phone that won't work on Giffgaff's network.

Giffgaff's Goodybags go 4G, but big data users may lose out
Giffgaff's Goodybags go 4G, but big data users will pay more

Q. Is 4G really worth it?

A. 4G gives faster download speeds than 3G, but has less coverage across the UK (try regulator Ofcom's new Mobile Phone Checker for an idea of coverage in your area).

You're more likely to use more data with faster speeds, so beware of sucking up your allowance more quickly. For more information on 4G and its merits, see our Cheap Mobiles guide.

Q. Can I tether my phone using the new Goodybags?

A. Tethering is the process of sharing your mobile's data connection with other devices (see our Mobile Broadband guide for details). Previously, Giffgaff didn't allow tethering on its unlimited 3G Goodybag, but you now can on its 4G unlimited Goodybag, though only on the first 6GB.

Q. Are all the 3G Goodybags going?

A. As outlined above, all the 3G Goodybags are disappearing for new customers, though existing customers who activated their Sim on or before 2 August will still be able to get the £20 Goodybag until 12 January 2016 and the £12 Goodybag until 16 March 2016.

Giffgaff says it will review its decision to discontinue the £12 3G Goodybag in February next year. It says it will take into consideration "the number of members still buying this Goodybag at that time, progress on 4G coverage and 4G phone ownership".

Q. Is Giffgaff changing its Gigabags?

A. Giffgaff will continue to offer its Gigabags at the same price with access to 4G data. These only provide data. Its £5 Gigabag gets you 500MB, and its £7.50 Gigabag 1GB.

Q. I've got more questions, where can I get help?

Giffgaff has set up an FAQ page on its website on these changes. Alternatively, you can post on the original thread where it first announced the move on its community forum.