GiffGaff is the first people powered phone network. The company was founded by Gav Thompson, who is the head of brand innovation at o2, one of the biggest mobile networks in the UK.
At o2 he saw a market which he branded 'free thinkers,' a digital conscious, savvy consumer who kind of rejected the large corporate networks. They wanted a closer relationship with the brand. Whilst searching for answers to niche motorbike question on an online forum, Gav got 10 answers back within 2 minutes and they were all correct. He saw this and realised the power of an online community. He also saw that people were already helping solve others problems online. This gave him the idea for GiffGaff a mobile network run by it's customers.
As a community run mobile network, customers contribute to the customer service, marketing, product development and since the company is now owned by o2 it runs on their network which means you get full coverage around the UK. This all means that GiffGaff can afford to give lower priced deals than you would find anywhere else. The community helps answer questions and by helping other members of the community you are compensated with cash rewards. The more you participate the more you can earn. The marketing is also taken care of by the community, by inviting people to Giffgaff via your own sims or your personal sign up page, you also earn money for each person you recruit.
The startup, a separate company in it's own right, is owned by o2 and so has it's financial support, should it get into trouble and also uses the o2 network which means it doesn't have the high costs of phone masts. It is a great way of marketing to a group which is getting larger everyday. With phone customers feeling like they are getting less and less value from their mobile providers, GiffGaff is a fresh take on the industry. especially as the advent of smartphones has meant that we rely on data more than ever, GiffGaff has taken the opportunity to offer truly unlimited data for as little as £10/month. For that you can also get 250mins and unlimited texts, an incredibly good value deal in this day and age.
Now obviously, with the whole community based idea, GiffGaff needed a community before it could start, so how did they do it?
Crowdsourcing has become more and more popular in different areas over the last year or two, especially when it comes to raisng funds, but now Gav has brought crowdsourcing to the mobile industry and provided a sustainable model which can be replicated in other retail industries as well.
Is GiffGaff just a marketing gimmick or is there real value to be found. I have been on GiffGaff myself for a while and have found it to be great. I finally feel like I'm getting real value from my phone network! You can try it for yourself and get £5 free on your sim here.
Here is a video about GiffGaff: