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Policy to manage illegitimate usage and tethering with the 'Always On' goodybag

Started ‎17-08-2012 by
Modified ‎12-04-2017 by

For those of you who have an 'Always On' SIM only plan that includes 6GB of mobile Internet allowance, you have access to mobile Internet with no monthly Internet limits on your legitimate mobile Internet usage.



What is illegitimate Usage


When mobile Internet usage is against our Terms and Conditions, we refer to it as 'illegitimate usage'. The most common type of illegitimate usage is tethering on an 'Always On' goodybag after your first 6GB of mobile Internet data has been used.


This guide seeks to clarify the current processes giffgaff are using to identify and prevent illegitimate usage. Please be aware that this page will be updated from time to time, so please check back to ensure that you always have the latest information.


Please also refer to article 3.5 in our Terms and Conditions.



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Identifying Illegitimate Usage

We monitor the mobile Internet activity of all giffgaff members, including our staff, on a daily basis to identify any signs that usage might be illegitimate. The following indicators are used:



Dongle or tablet usage


It's not allowed within the Terms and Conditions of a goodybag to use the 'Always On' mobile Internet service with a dongle, mifi or tablet after the first 6GB of data has been consumed.


  • You are only allowed to tether the first 6GB of data at maximum speed.


Every time you go online, you share certain information with giffgaff, including information about the device you are using. We use this information to identify if conditions are broken or adhered to. 


Please also refer to article 3.5 in our Terms and Conditions.


For more information see the Dongle or tablet usage Process Overview.



Patterns indicating illegitimate usage


We monitor the mobile Internet activity which takes place on the network each day and developed a system to identify tethering automatically.


Based on tethering indicators we are able to identify with a great level of confidence the members who are using a goodybag with 'Always On' Internet and are using it to tether after 6GB has been used.


It is a very small minority of members who are identified as tethering after 6GB using these indicators, but unless this usage is prevented, illegitimate usage consumes an unfair amount of network resources.


To avoid accidental tethering, we recommend turning your wireless hotspot/tethering feature to OFF if you're using an 'Always On' goodybag and have used your first 6GB of mobile Internet data.


For more information see the Tethering prevention procedure.



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Dongle or tablet usage Process Overview


Stage 1


If you use our 'Always On' goodybag with a dongle, mifi or tablet device after 6GB of data usage, you will be contacted by email advising a warning. If you fail to acknowledge/take action from this warning your mobile Internet usage will be suspended until you contact an agent.



Stage 2


In the event of your data being suspended, should you need this re-activated, you will need to contact an agent and ask to be re-activated. The agent will send you an email which  requires you to confirm you understand giffgaff's terms and conditions. Once confirmed, giffgaff will make a final assessment on whether or not data should be re-activated.



Stage 3


Once accepting the Terms and Conditions of use, a warning is applied to the account for a set period of time. Through this time, you will be observed to ensure you are in line with the terms you accepted.



Stage 4


Once we are happy that you are using giffgaff in line with our terms and conditions, the warning will be removed and no further action will be taken. However, if you use your 'Always On' goodybag Internet allowance again on a dongle/mifi/tablet device after 6GB being used within the set time, then you will receive another email and your mobile Internet services will be blocked again. You will at this point, be required to contact an agent again to discuss the suspension.



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Tethering prevention procedure


Automatic detection


When a member is using a goodybag with 'Always On' Internet, their usage is automatically monitored on the system after 6GB has been used. We can then provide immediate messaging to members who are identified.


Members who trigger our tethering indicators after 6GB usage on 'Always On', will be blocked from the Internet for 30 minutes and provided they are using a browser, will be re-directed to a web page which will explain why the data bar is in place and ask the member to un-tether.


The 30 minutes block provides enough time for a member to un-tether, the remaining time aiming at warning members about the illegitimate usage, with an educational objective.



Manual detection


This 30 minutes must not be seen as a licence to tether at the price of a 30 minutes block. For this reason, the existing manual detection remains in place in order to identify repeated automated blocks.


Members who keep on trying to tether despite the automated detection can then face a manual suspension, with the following procedure.



Stage 1


If you continue with usage which suggests illegitimate use, your mobile Internet connection will be suspended and you will receive an email to advise you. You must contact an agent in order to re-activate your data services.


Stage 2


On contacting an agent, you will be sent an email asking you to accept the Terms and Conditions of use. Once you have accepted the Terms and Conditions, your mobile Internet will be unblocked.


You'll get a reply and your usage will then continue to be monitored within a set time frame to ensure you continue to stay within the rules set.


Stage 3


If you are suspected of using mobile Internet illegitimately during this time, you will receive another email. Your mobile Internet services/Always On goodybag may be permanently barred / disabled from purchase on your account.


Stage 4


In order to discuss your mobile Internet services or inability to buy 'Always On' goodybag, you must contact an agent who will request some mobile Internet usage information and instigate an investigation into your mobile Internet usage. If the mobile Internet usage is found to be legitimate, then you will have the data bar removed / Always On goodybag re-enabled. If you are not flagged as a potential illegitimate member within after a set amount of time passing, your warning will also be removed.


If your explanation does not fit with what we know about how you have used your phone, the bar will remain.


We would also advise members not to create a new account to defeat the ban/barring. As we actively monitor for this, any accounts detected will also be suspended.


We also request members to be as honest and detailed as they can when contacting agents to ensure suspensions can be handled fairly. 



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Version History
Revision #
42 of 42
Last update:
‎12-04-2017 18:27
Updated by:

Created by:

gregg_b on: 17/08/2012 | 12:41

Last edited by:

scrappydez on: 12/04/2017 | 18:27