Knowledge Base

Free UK SIM delivered abroad and ready to go

mad scientist

Last November, giffgaff announced the launch of their international SIM delivery. Three months on, the project that originated from within giffgaff Labs has become a worldwide success.


I’ve had the chance to speak to product owner Carlotta Sanfront to learn more about how the giffgaff international SIM project first started, and how it’s being used to connect members from around the world to the giffgaff network.


We also have some exciting news to share about the MGM (member get member) program - if you're a big giffgaff SIM recruiter, you'll want to stick around for that.


If you'd like to skip to the bits that take your interest, here are some quick links to highlights on my blog.




New opportunities for MGM recruiting abroad


I’ve got some great news to share for any MGM members actively recruiting in the community. I’ve got confirmation that starting today, MGM members will be able to send SIM cards abroad via the new giffgaff international SIM project.


You can now send your affiliate links to members abroad. Once registered, giffgaff will send a SIM straight to your referral’s international address. If you have any family or friends coming to the UK, this is the perfect time to get them signed up to earn extra Payback.


I know a lot of you have worked hard to send out SIM cards to members outside of the UK, so this new MGM feature should help make the recruiting process easier.


What is the giffgaff international SIM project?


The giffgaff international SIM project first came to life in the same place many great ideas are born at giffgaff, in the ideas Lab.


giffgaff member @william_li initially suggested the idea in 2015, and @gsklb04 revitalised it. According to Carlotta Sanfront, giffgaff product owner, giffgaff took the idea on board in August 2016 and the team has been working hard to get the feature pushed out since.


After the giffgaff international SIM project went live in November 2016, thousands of international members have signed themselves up to giffgaff whilst abroad. With this project implemented, people moving to the UK, for example to work or to study, can now order a SIM while they are in an international country.


New international members can then use giffgaff’s great international rates to stay in touch with others in their country, or purchase a Goodybag so that they have access to UK texts, calls and data the second they step foot in the UK.


All of the great payment features available for UK members, such as auto-recurring and airtime top-up can be done internationally or from within the UK. Payments via non-UK debit/credit cards have also recently been implemented, making it easy for members to buy their first Goodybag abroad.


With all of these great features available to international members, giffgaff has given tourists and visitors to the UK a very warm welcome.


This is a feature that giffgaff has currently taken initiative with. “It was originally a member idea and another example of how giffgaff brings the member’s ideas to life”, says Carlotta.


How to order a giffgaff SIM from abroad?


If you’re already abroad, it’s simple.


All you’ll need to do is visit the main giffgaff homepage and you’ll be given the option to enter your international address and details when ordering a SIM. Once it arrives, it’ll come in packaging a little like what’s shown below.


Once you have ordered a SIM card, you can choose to purchase a Goodybag, which can be used in the UK, or you can buy airtime credit that can be used both in the UK and abroad with giffgaff’s international text, data and call rates.

How long do International SIMs take to arrive?


Arrival times vary, but if you're within Europe you'll get your SIM card within five working days. If you're lucky, you may get it sooner. If you're outside of Europe, it will take longer for your SIM card to arrive. If you're planning to visit the UK, order a SIM card as early as possible to ensure you receive it before you leave for your trip.



InternationalSIM.jpegThe SIM order page for international members.

Once you are signed up, you can buy a Goodybag, airtime credit or set up auto top-up before you leave. This way, you'll have your giffgaff SIM ready for use as soon as you land.

The hard work and creative minds that went into the giffgaff international SIM


Being on the member side, we don’t get to see how much teamwork is necessary to have an idea from giffgaff Labs implemented.


I managed to get the chance to speak to product owner @carlottasanfront and it opened my eyes to how much effort the giffgaff team puts in to get member ideas up and running.


An entire product team was dedicated to getting the International SIM delivery project running smoothly. About 30 people, from developers, testers, UX designers, Content Managers, Finance, Business Intelligence experts and giffgaff suppliers.


Every inch of the giffgaff international SIM project was designed with love, care, and attention. "Many, many people were involved. It's something we've been wanting to do at giffgaff for a long time", says Carlotta.

A lot of work was put into making sure international members felt welcome the moment they entered the giffgaff website - for example, anybody accessing the web page outside of the UK will be shown a slightly altered version.


giffgaff Content Manager, Tom Burgess, AKA @spanglishtom, explained that the English used on the international SIM packs and landing page had been carefully constructed to help potential members outside the UK easily understand how to activate their SIM card and buy a goodybag. Here’s an example of the graphics used on the new SIM packs.





One international member named adrien71 showcased their delight when their SIM arrived. “3 days for France, how good it is”, he celebrated. The new customised international packaging could be seen in Adrien71’s thread.

Have your ideas implemented


The giffgaff international SIM project was something that originated from giffgaff members and it has benefited members very positively.


@mattman81 mentioned, "I recently ordered a SIM for an upcoming trip.  The process was extremely simple and the SIM arrived in under 2 weeks to Canada. I wish everything was this simple".


I particularly loved the response from @nextanalyzer - "Unbelievable ! After comparing the UK operators on the Internet, my choice was GiffGaff. SIM card ordered, received a few days later in my French letter box. Activation on the Internet in 2 minutes. Nothing to complain about, service absolutely fantastic and community that looks very dynamic! Delighted to be on board !!!"


I was blown away by the positivity that hit my thread, where I asked the community to share their experience ordering giffgaff SIMs from abroad.

adrien.jpggiffgaff is the mobile network Run by You

It’s been really exciting to get an insight into just how much time and effort goes into implementing member ideas and it really brings me back to what drew me into joining giffgaff 6 years ago.


Prescilla Garlland, AKA @prescilla_g, community team lead for Labs, is very enthusiastic about motivating members to share their ideas and she has a message for you, “If you have an idea for giffgaff that you think could improve your experience, make sure to share your idea in giffgaff Labs. One small idea could be brought to life with help from the creative minds at giffgaff. You can click the ‘Hall of ‘Fame’ tab in giffgaff Labs to see previous ideas that have been implemented as well”.

The giffgaff international SIM: community response


This entire project has highlighted the power the community has in how giffgaff operates. I wanted to spend some time in the community to get a grasp on what other members have thought of this new international SIM delivery project.


I found a lot of discussion about the international SIM delivery in the original launch thread.


A giffgaff member from Canada named @7whales mentioned their struggle to find a UK network operator that would deliver to North America for an emergency trip to the UK. With giffgaff’s new international delivery, situations like this can be resolved with a quick visit to giffgaff’s website.


@jenne_lee also responded on the same page to announce their relief. Jenne_lee was happy to hear that the new international delivery could make meetups in the airport with family abroad far easier.


There were more positive comments about international SIM delivery from @lisapip and @jjford on the giffgaff community. It was great to see so many users excited about the new feature.


One of my favourite comments comes from @dips. Before international SIM delivery, dips18 went out of his way to order SIM cards in the UK to personally post out to other members across the globe. I think it's inspiring that dips18 and others went through all the effort to help out new members. With the new giffgaff international feature, recruiters like dips18 will have a far easier time bringing in international members.



Have any questions about the new giffgaff international SIM card? Did you order your SIM from abroad? Share your experience here. As always, I’ll be dropping in and out of the comments section below, so feel free to leave your questions there. 




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I'd like to comment on buying a goody bag when you've ran out of everything..Eg I top up 10.00 to buy a 10.00 goody bag. But i cant do that because going on the Giffgaff website uses pence of data.. Can't you make the top up and goody bag section free data? It's rotten that i then have to settle for a 7.50 goody bag for the sake of a few pence. I've tried to suggest something so I'm not just moaning you know...

helping the masses



Could please say thank you for such a great read about what goes on and how it's implemented from labs to finished product.


And how nice to see its actually working, as anything that helps gg grow is a big positive for all concerned.  


Good news for International visitors/travellers coming into the UK.


you still need a uk address to register though


This is very good news


This is simply epic. Well it's taken a few years for us to get to this stage and I'm so glad we're finally doing it! It'll be great for me to be able to order gg sims to go to my friends abroad directly before they come to visit and activate a goodybag, so that they can land and have mobile internet right away.


Awesome news! Loving giffgaff at the mo! Keep up the good work 👍


why i cant top up my phone up is it down


@zerodudex333 @carlottasanfront


Excellent work to get this implemented, something which is probably unprecedented globally.

Just a question: as a Super Recruiter, for some time now I have the option of ordering a box of fifty SIMs. Now that international delivery is available on the MGM channel, I can see that I can even order a 50-box to be sent abroad. Can I have some kind of confirmation if it is okay for me to use the box-ordering facility in this way? If so, have giffgaff made any arrangements for it not be held up at customs when sent outside the EU?

handy giff-staffer

@khairul your understanding is correct, all our Super Recruiters can now send the 50 SIM pack abroad. If you order SIMs to be delivered abroad, though, they may be subject to local customs charges - which will vary from country to country. In which case, you will need to pay these charges to complete the delivery. I hope this helps, Carlotta