GiffGaff mobile network goes titsup for 3 weeks
People-powered phone network GiffGaff left some of its punters without a mobile connection for three weeks and mixed up customers' numbers for several days.
Others also complained that they were unable to move their numbers to new SIMs. Some fixes promised by support staff took longer to emerge than promised - some customers are still waiting for them.
This is the second time GiffGaff's service has gone titsup on such a large scale of fail: it suffered similar problems in November. Back then GiffGaff blamed O2, on which it piggybacks as a mobile virtual network operator.
One outage-hit customer, whose phone cut out on 27 December and was still inactive 22 days later, wrote this in the GiffGaff forums:
Still no service for me. My number was ported on 5th December, service lost on 27th December. 22 days and counting with nothing. Number still not provisioned on the network, it still gives number unrecognised announcement. I have a 400+ post thread on this with multiple users affected, still nothing, no official response thread for us.
Other punters were effectively left with no service by being unable to buy more credit. A post on the GiffGaff help forums yesterday told readers that the issue was being looked into.
GiffGaff told us: "Due to the big rise in numbers of new customers, this has had some adverse affect on our current customers being able to carry out transactions such as topping up or purchasing a goodybag, as all transactions go through the same channel."
GiffGaff, known for its cheap contracts and "unlimited" data allowance, told The Reg that all the issues, including the long-term outages, seem to have sprung from problems with its website. An increase in web traffic slowed the site down, we understand:
Recently, some members have experienced service disruptions caused by our website’s capacity to handle a sharp growth in member numbers. This impacted the site’s overall stability which unfortunately created issues around functions such as topping up, SIM activations and porting your mobile number to giffgaff.
Despite customer gripes about missed fix deadlines, GiffGaff stressed that it tried its best to keep people informed and made some sacrifices to prioritise fixing the problem:
Throughout the period we worked continuously to rectify the problem and kept members updated through regular service messages on the website and in our social channels. We took steps that included upgrades to a number of system components to increase speed and capability. We also stopped all advertising and delayed the launch of our BlackBerry products to slow orders and traffic to our website.
GiffGaff insists it has introduced "long-term measures" that will address the underlying problems caused by being a victim of its own success. The company has increased the size of the team and "extended the site's capacity to deal with the increased customer demand". The organisation has also promised to pay out compensation between £10 and £50 to customers, depending on how badly affected they were in the outages.
The operator added:
"As we use the O2 network, any signal coverage issues are unfortunately out of our hands." ®
I'm one of the few users who still have no service. Have been with them for about 8 months and never had any problems until I lost my phone in December. Took over 2 weeks to get a replacement sim out to me and have now been waiting 2 weeks since I tried to activate the sim.
The community is a load of sh*t (basically patronising ar*ses who start a flame war against anyone who complains about the service).
The agents take at least 2-3 days to respond and even then its just a boiler plate answer.
I'd walk away and give up it wasn't for the fact that I cant port the number out as I dont have an active sim (nice catch 22) and its a number I've had for years (so business contacts have it).
Its like bulldog in the old days, decent and cheap (technical) service but if anything goes wrong you're f*cked as the customer service is appalling
Just because they're small...
GG may have website problems, but Vodafone certainly aren't without their problems. Their "My Account" is either down, slow or flaky often enough that it is expected to just be shit. Just shows that small companys are just as likely (although often it seems less so) to screw up as large companies.
I can tell you that it's over 5GB, since that's what I've hit on a couple of months.
I regularly do 2GB+ a month, and they've never said anything about it.