Policy to manage illegitimate usage and tethering with the 'Always On' goodybag
For those of you who have an Always On SIM-only plan that includes an unlimited mobile Internet allowance, you have unlimited access to mobile Internet with no monthly Internet limits on your legitimate mobile Internet usage.
- What is Illegitimate Usage
- Identifying Illegitimate Usage
- Dongle or tablet usage Process Overview
- Tethering prevention procedure
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 is using to identify and prevent illegitimate mobile Internet 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.
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 purchase to use the unlimited mobile Internet service with a dongle, mifi or tablet. You can use the Always On goodybag if you are using data within your full speed data allowance.
For clarity, any device that has the built-in ability to make/receive GSM phone calls and text messages out of the box is allowed to use a goodybag.
Every time you go online, you share certain information with giffgaff, including information about the device you are using. If you use an Always On goodybag with an unlimited mobile Internet allowance in a device which is not a mobile phone after your first 6GB of mobile data has expired then this is illegitimate usage.
Please also refer to article 3.5 in our Terms and Conditions.
For more information about this process, please see the Dongle or tablet usage Process Overview section below.
Patterns indicating illegitimate usage
We monitor the mobile Internet activity which takes place on the network each day and we have 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 unlimited Internet and are using it to tether.
It is a very small minority of members who are identified as tethering 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 feature to OFF if you're using an Always On goodybag and have used your first 6GB of mobile Internet data.
For more information about this process, please see the Tethering prevention procedure section below.
Dongle or tablet usage Process Overview
If you use a goodybag SIM card in a dongle or a tablet device, you will be contacted by email and your mobile Internet usage will be suspended until you contact an agent.
In order to re-activate your mobile Internet, you will need to contact an agent and ask to be re-activated. The agent will send you an email which asks you to re-accept giffgaff's terms and conditions and commit to purchasing a gigabag before using your SIM card in a dongle, MiFi or tablet device again.
Once you have accepted the Terms and Conditions of use, mobile Internet usage will be unblocked. A warning is applied to the account which will last for 30 days.
Provided that you do not use your goodybag mobile Internet usage on a dongle or tablet device again within 30 days, the warning will be removed and no further action will be taken. However, if you use your goodybag mobile Internet allowance again on a dongle/tablet device within 30 days, then you will receive another email and your mobile Internet services will be blocked until the goodybag expires. You will have to contact an agent when your goodybag has expired in order to get mobile Internet services re-activated.
Tethering prevention procedure
When a member is using a SIM card with an Always On goodybag with unlimited Internet, this usage is automatically detected. We can then provide immediate feedback to members who are identified as tethering.
Members who trigger our tethering indicators 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.
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.
If you continue with usage which suggests illegitimate use, your mobile Internet connection will be suspended and you will receive an email to warn you. You must contact an agent in order to re-activate your data services.
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 warning and your usage will then be monitored during the next month.
If you are suspected of using mobile Internet illegitimately during this month, you will receive another email and mobile Internet services will be barred on your account.
In order to re-activate mobile Internet services, 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. If you are not flagged as a potential illegitimate member within 60 days, your warning will be removed.
If your explanation does not fit with what we know about how you have used your phone, the bar will remain.
We request members to be as honest and detailed as they can. We can only improve our monitoring processes and improve our service for all members if we have accurate information being provided back by members.