People-powered MVNO Giffgaff has officially launched after a six months test run in beta which saw its customer base grow to 3000.
The launch coincides
with Giffgaff’s first advertising campaign which the MVNO says has already seen
sim sales soar this week and prompted a record number of vistors to its
During its test
phase in beta which began last November Giffgaff, which is modeled on
Wikipedia, has built a 6000 strong community which plays a key role in shaping Giffgaff's offerings.
The O2 subsidiary, which was inspired by Wikipedia, encourages customers to get involved in the giffgaff community and rewarded for every contribution
they make.This can include helping other members with queries, voicing
opinions about how Giffgaff should be run or recommending Giffgaff to friends.
Points are later exchanged for cash or a donation to a charity of the
community’s choice. The average payback
since February is £12 with the most active customer earning £700.
Mike Fairman, Giffgaff CEO, said: ‘Giffgaff is a genuine alternative to the big
networks. Since our test phase began in September 2009, we have created a
strong community of 6000 who have been running giffgaff and shaping it into
what they want. We don’t have huge call centres and retail shops to run,
which means we can keep costs low while making our members feel part of the
Giffgaff founder Gav
Thompson who developed the idea of Giffgaff after attending a Web 2.0 event in Silicon Valley, said: ‘In my opinion, the power of
the community can now run the best encyclopaedia service on the planet and be
the motivating force behind a successful presidential election campaign. So,
for a significant minority of people who aren’t turned on by big companies and
big brands, we are of the opinion that Giffgaff can harness the power of the
community to run a simpler mobile network where people get rewarded for helping
In keeping with its anti-corporate stance the Giffgaff ad campaign - which runs to the end of June in newspapers and billboards in major UK cities and online - features 'The Man', as a symbol of corporate greed.