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Handling multiple SIMs from a single company/family account

Status: We’re Looking Into It
by ivida ‎14-02-2010 02:10

This idea was brought up by several posts earlier (see 1,2) and Vincent has even posted

a partial solution, but apparently it hasn't yet made it to this page.


The proposal is to have the possiblity to handle more than one SIMs from

a single account. This would be useful for companies, families, couples

and any other groups, if handling of the SIMs' administration/finances

is performed by one person.


The point is not necessarily to have only a single account for the SIMs,

i understand that at the moment the system requires the creation of an

account for each SIM.


The point is much more to have the possibility to define a master account from

which you can access relevant settings of all the SIMs within the associated pool.

Not only to top-up (this is not a problem as you can top-up any number through

the giffgaff pages) but also to activate/inactivate  auto top-up or set speding limits, etc.


Another important aspect of a company/family pool os SIMs would be to handle the

credits more flexibly: to have the possibility to transfer credit from one SIM to

the other.  Tthere was some discussion about  implementing some form  of credit

transfere on giffgaff (1,2) - in my opinion company/family SIM pools would be a good

argument to push such a feature and also an excellent context for the development

and testing.


Status: We’re Looking Into It

[10th Feb 2015]: This idea has been set to 'Looking Into It'. 


Ahoy. This is a very exciting idea and we can definitely see the benefit. We're actively researching what it would take to make this happen, so we'll let you know as soon as we have something more juicy to share. 

For now it remains something that we're very keen to do, but feasibility will be the deciding factor.



tmohammad pupil

I agree with your suggestion.


I have previously asked about being able to transfer credit. Surely it cant be that difficult to do. If i have too much credit it makes sense for me to share that with my son rather than having to top his account up.


Lets hope GG find a way of doing this (I have seen it done in Saudi Arabia, you enter a command into your phone and send eg: *#6666*YourNumber*AmountToTransfer*NoToTrasferCreditTo*) Works quite well.



former giff-staffer
Status changed to: Not For Us
Hi all, This idea is currently unsuitable for giffgaff as it is very costly to implement from the backend. Our systems were never designed for anything like this, so to implement it would require a complete overhaul. We are however looking into the ability to share airtime. So that might be a possible solution to this problem. Not as elegant perhaps but but maybe at least a partial solution? Cheers, Vincent

Hmmm - it might not be so difficult to implement after all, and needn't necessarily require any change to backend.  In principle this might only require logging into each of the various accounts at the same time (as might be done in sepearate browser tabs), and interfacing with those.  Shouldn't be hard to do something with Python and perhaps Jquery, which then gives a single login webpage bringing interface to all these accounts together in one page. 



If you shared airtime, how would that affect free gg to gg calls? If it doesn't, then I'm all in favour of this idea as I want to put all my family on gg when their current PAYG sims run out of cash!

former giff-staffer

@brackenhill_mob The free giffgaff to giffgaff calls will only continue to work if you topped up at least once every 3 Months on each separate account.


So in your case, I guess it would be 10 pounds every three Months, and transferring extra credit when needed.


We can't let the transfer of credit trigger the free calls, simply because you could then potentially set up, lets say, 10 phones, top one up with ten pounds, transfer one pounds to each and continue to transfer those in an eternal loop and have free calls forever. Although this might be great for the 10 people, it would mean giffgaff would soon be out of business.


@dangaff I never said it was diffecult. The problem lies in the cost vs. the amount of people who would use it. And there are other features which are much more important for us as a business. Hence it's not a suitable idea for us as a business. Your idea might be a workaround however, which people could potentially set up themselves. But you'd probably have issues with the login cookies.

commsyeo veteran



"by dangaff   25-March-2010 17:17


Hmmm - it might not be so difficult to implement after all, and needn't necessarily require any change to backend.  In principle this might only require logging into each of the various accounts at the same time (as might be done in sepearate browser tabs), and interfacing with those.  Shouldn't be hard to do something with Python and perhaps Jquery, which then gives a single login webpage bringing interface to all these accounts together in one page."


Erm, what you have described is the simple front end. I'm only guessing but I suspect that giffgaff has bought an existing back-end to minimise its costs and that back-end is designed to allow one SIM per customer. giffgaff would have to pay for the bespoke re-design and development to the underlying architecture to associate multipe SIMs with one account. This is likely (!) to be really, really expensive. Do you want to pay for it? I know that I don't.




Vincent, i don't understand the problem with transfers.

If you would introduce SIM pools, you could say that the total top-up amount for that pool

needs to be N x 10 Pounds to get  those free calls (and SIM-to-SIM transfers do not count

towards the calculated 'top-up' for this pool). If the amount is lower only a subset of SIMs would

get free calls (chosen by the users or determined by the credit levels?). Wouldn't that work?


former giff-staffer

Hi Ivida,


That would mean changing the back-end systems as we're currently not set up to handle a pool of sim cards. Which will be a very costly process. So as it is now, we have no way of knowing if one of the numbers has topped up enough credit to warrant the others getting free calls.


But seeing as you can add credit to any phonenumber, you don't even need to log in to that account, it would simply mean having to top up the different phonenumbers. The only change would be rather then having to do one top up and then transferring x-amount of credit to each number, having to top up each specific mobile number.


I'd think both options are about equal in amount of effort needing to take place.




when i say pool of SIMs, i mean a virtual pool, handled at what i believe is the front end:

each SIM would be handled separately by the backend  as they are now, each would have 

its own user and credit level


But users could then register their SIMs to be members of a pool and 

within the pool it would be possible to flexibly transfer  credit to any other SIM

through the web interface or small amounts (1-2 pounds) as txt message.

The transfers could be a modified top-up method in which one card's credit level

is reduced and the other's is increased - reads rather trivial.

I would think that this can be implemented in the front end - do you agree?


Now, you clever transfers can  trick the system and get benefits forever.

I think there are two possibilities to prevent  this:

- the one which i suggested already, you can define that only 'real' top-ups (i.e.

  when cash flows into the giffgaff system) count towards free calls, etc.;

 'transfer top-ups' not. BUT for the virtual SIM pool you would not look at the individuals

 alone but calculate a total top-up and if it reached members x 10 Pound,

 all members would profit from the free allowances.


 For giffgaff the this strategy would bring the target 10 pound/3 months/user,

 and for the SIM pool members it would mean that they can flexibly spend the

 payed-in credits.


- an alternative would be that transfer to a SIM counts as a top-up towards free calls,

  but then the trasnferred amont would be deduced from the donor SIM's top-up level

  towars the free allowance - but this sounds more comlicated. 



former giff-staffer

I understand what you are saying, but it's not something we are looking to implement. Pooling sims together might sound easy, but from the back-end it's not. It requires a change in the way the system handles the sims and the data connected to them.


Sure you can pool them together at the front end, but what you are asking for is fundamental changes in the back-end as you want all the sims to eat from the same virtual cookie jar. Not only that, you want them all to get free calls if enough is topped up, and set it so that if only half of the required money is topped up, only half of the sims get free calls. No matter how you look at it, that would be a back end change.


It's not necessarily that we're completely opposed to this, it's just that there are other projects which take priority.


Transferring credit from one phone to another via sms or any other means is something that is under consideration however.