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Giffgaff sims on older phones?

Started by: gina36
On: 15/05/2013 | 16:00
Replies: 46

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by: gina36
on: 15/05/2013 | 16:00

I've been successfully, and happily, using giffgaff on my old Nokia 1208 handset for the last two years or so, with no problems whatsoever. All of a sudden, in the last couple of weeks, I began having trouble with the connection. I just could not make outgoing calls, nor receive calls from any network (including giffgaff). May I add here that I didn't remove the sim, or swap phones, or anything of that sort. I got in touch with an agent on giffgaff, and after a series of unsuccessful steps - switching off, removing battery, swapping to an alternative unlocked phone, etc. - I was sent a replacement sim. After this new sim got activated, I have begun having the exact same problem. I even tried hard-resetting the handset and reconnecting to giffgaff, but although the network and signal are fine, I am still unable to make or receive calls. I have now been asked to post this on these forums by the agent to see whether anyone out there has faced a similar problem, and how they managed to resolve it.


I have tried swapping to other older unlocked handsets  - Samsung SGH-C120, Samsung E2100B and a Samsung SGH-J700i, but have the exact same problem. I have also tried checking with Vodafone, Orange and O2 sim cards and they all work on each of these older models.Only giffgaff doesn't!


My daughter (also on giffgaff) has the exact same problem. She is being sent a replacement sim now, but I doubt it is going to solve the problem. I read somewhere that giffgaff sim cards sometimes stop working in older handsets. Is this true? And if that is the case, how was it working these past couple of years, and what could suddenly have caused this issue, with no meddling with the simcard on my part?


Also, I get a "busy network" message when calling others (including landline numbers), and when others call me, they get the 'voicemail' message straightaway with no ringing. I've also checked the O2 link for service disruptions, but all seems fine.


Sorry for this rather longish post, but wanted to put down all the details in one go. Hope someone out there can help.



Message 1 of 47

Accepted Solutions
by: momist
on: 15/05/2013 | 23:27

Sorry you feel I'm giving mis-information masterluke.  I'm trying to speculate what the problem might be, in an attempt to open up the debate in a different direction.


As I said, I'm no expert.  But if what you said about the frequencies O2 are using is right, and as all the phones Gina36 has tried are dual band 900/1800MHz, while more modern phones work OK, I still think that points at a problem exclusive to the 900MHz band.


Now, it could be that where the local mast had several transmitter/receivers on that band previously, it has been reduced to only one or a few to make way for more capacity on other bands.  If the remaining channel(s) is(are) busy, then there will be times when there is no service for an exclusively 900MHz customer.  This could fit in with the intermittent nature of the problem.


I live in a weak signal area, where in some parts of my house only one mast can be used, while upstairs I can reach a choice of three.  When I'm in the poor signal area, the signal comes and goes for periods that would correspond with all channels in use/not in use.


I'm just saying what I logically suspect could be the explanation.  I know that equipment upgrades on the masts can reduce legacy coverage, as newer equipment and arials have to have space made for.


A smart phone app can reveal how many arials are within reach, on what bands, and at what strength.  Unfortunately, this won't help Gina36 unless she has a friend or relative willing to load such an app and try it out in her location.

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Message 38 of 47
by: watchmenow
on: 15/05/2013 | 16:03 edited: 15/05/2013 | 16:04

It sounds like a signal problem then. First, check the local status here

Is the problem only when you're at home ? Have you recently installed some new tech in the house e.g. wifi router or the like. These can interfere with the signal.


[edit] ment to add, I use an old Seimens A55 and its working ok still so nothing inherently wrong with using an old phone still.

Get a free giffgaff Sim

Message 2 of 47
by: rudedog
on: 15/05/2013 | 16:06

Hi gina36, I certainly ain't awar that sims stop working on older handsets! Sometimes a sim may get damaged along the years and this may be the case as you have clearly tried every step to elimanate whether it is sim or phone at fault. It honestly seems like your sim may be damaged and I recommend that you carry out a sim swap, which means you are literally just getting a brand new sim and transferring over to that.


You have no harm in trying this out as it's free and quick.



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Message 3 of 47
by: mat2jones
on: 15/05/2013 | 16:07
If you and you daughter are having the same issue it could only be a signal issue. It would be an idea to check the O2 website to check the mast situation in your area as it will give details of maintenance or other things that could effect signal in your area. It will also give you an eta on the return of normal use.
Bring your iPhone back to life" target="_blank">Get a free giffgaff Sim
Message 4 of 47
by: gina36
on: 15/05/2013 | 16:09
Status at O2 shows all is working fine for my postcode.
No wifi router or techie installations in the recent past.
And yes, the problem is not just restricted to home, but even outside.
Message 5 of 47
by: endorphin
on: 15/05/2013 | 16:09

There's no reason why giffgaff SIMs should not work with older phones. Not much has changed in the way SIM cards work apart from their size! However SIMs can fail like any other piece of tech.

It does sound like you and your daughter have been unlucky and perserverance is the order of the day here.

Not sure about the busy network message - do you get that even when you are out and about and not indoors?

Get a free giffgaff SIM/microSIM/nanoSIM with free £5 credit
Message 6 of 47
by: as7861
on: 15/05/2013 | 16:10



This is un-usual issue. Can you make sure your sim is activated still ? 

By going here and seeing your number appears here- 


if your number does appear their. That means your sim is activate. 


Also as suggested already. 

Can you check if their is any area issues ? 


if you still see issues or want to discuss the issue. You can hit the reply button Smiley Happy 

- Amer Get a free giffgaff Sim
Message 7 of 47
by: gina36
on: 15/05/2013 | 16:10
If there indeed a signal issue, (which according to that O2 link, there isn't), should it not affect all network providers?
Message 8 of 47
by: as7861
on: 15/05/2013 | 16:12

@gina36 wrote:
If there indeed a signal issue, (which according to that O2 link, there isn't), should it not affect all network providers?



if thier was a issue in your area, the o2 sim would have faced some issues as well. But its only related to o2/giffgaff/tesco and anything that runs on o2. 


But have you checked if your sim is activated ? 

- Amer Get a free giffgaff Sim
Message 9 of 47
by: spacedayzee
on: 15/05/2013 | 16:12

Sorry to hear you are having so many issues.  I can't help you with the phones themselves as I am not familiar with any of them.  I do remember that putting the settings into my partners NOKIA N-Gage was much more difficult that it was for my iPhone 4.  


I am wondering if all your settings are ok or if there are any issues with them reverting to older settings as I'm not sure what would cause this.


Personally I would go back to making sure they are correct and have saved properly.  I found this link that may help:

Remembers to click 'Accept as Solution' when you get the right answer.
Message 10 of 47