A few weeks back we gave a heads-up to some WiFi news, but I’m delighted to now share the full plan with you.
What’s this all about?
Having internet access is rapidly becoming the most important part of how we use our phones. While we are continuously working to improve the network experience, we also believe WiFi has a part to play in providing coverage.
As of today – 27th July - we are pleased to announce our members will be able to access WiFi on the London Underground, with WiFi provided by Virgin Media. We’re also teaming up with O2 to provide access to around 8,000 secure hotspots around the UK. Both of these are absolutely free, and members will be able to opt in and out as they wish.
Why is this a beta launch?
This is a new service for giffgaff and our members, so we’re really keen to give it a test-run first. It would be great to get you folks trying it out and feeding back on your experience before we start spreading the news more widely.
While we’ll be piggy-backing on other people’s service, we want to make sure the bits in our control are as member-friendly as possible, and we can provide the most helpful support and set-up we can. This is a great chance for us to work together, learn about the experience, and then look to make any improvements where possible.
How do I get set-up?
Getting set-up is easy. You’ll need to make sure you have downloaded the “My giffgaff” app, updating to a newer version if you’ve not updated in a while. Open the menu and choose “WiFi Extra”, then either press “Install/launch WiFi settings” or toggle on “Enable WiFi”. Depending on your device there might be a simple extra step (check our knowledge base article for extra help). But that’s it!
The service may not work on all phones (again, check the knowledge base article for more details). This will be another important aspect for us to test, so feedback on devices would be welcome too.
How does the service work?
Once you’re all set up on the app, if you come in range of a hotspot (for example at an underground station), you may automatically connect to the WiFi there. We say “may”, as various checks go on in the background to check the strength of the WiFi connection. If the hotspot is congested or the signal is weak (for example if you’re tootling down a tunnel), you may not automatically connect.
The key thing to remember, is that you should only be moved onto WiFi if you are expected to get as least as good a service as on 3G/4G - this should mean all the time on the Underground. You can’t manually choose to connect to the hotspots, it all happens behind the scenes. It’s worth checking out our guide for more details.
How can I help?
For this beta phase, it would be great to get your feedback on how the service is working. Some bits we’ll have less control over, but we’re really keen to know what the experience is like in getting set-up, connecting to WiFi on the London Underground, connecting to any other hotspots, and any other experiences you have.
We’d really appreciate your feedback in the questionnaire below. Feel free to also add more general comments on this thread.
We’re excited for the potential with WiFi, and delighted to get our members up and running on the Underground. Your support and feedback on this will help shape and refine the experience, so that we deliver the best possible version. We’ll be going through the beta phase feedback over the next 2-3 weeks, and will work with you guys to plan the next steps.
Update - 28/07/2017
Thanks to your feedback we've found a small bug on the iOS version of the app, which is causing some people problems in installing the WiFi settings. Our apps team have developed a fix and we're just awaiting approval from the app store before rolling out the update. This should be done on Monday, so I'll update again then. Time for dinner now 🙂
Update - 31/07/2017
The fix for iOS is now live. For Apple devices, you'll need to download the latest version of the giffgaff app. Installing the settings should now work as planned.