GiffGaff is failing in its mission to be "the people's network" after denying connectivity to a significant number of people over the last couple of days – but apparently it's all O2's fault.
The outage started yesterday morning, with certain GiffGaff customers losing all voice and data services for reasons which remain unclear. The company promptly blamed its hosting network, O2, but despite collecting the names and numbers of those lacking connectivity it has not managed to do anything about it.
GiffGaff is owned by O2, as well as being a virtual operator on O2's network. Its unique selling point is that prices and tariffs are decided upon publicly, within its public forums, and open to comment from anyone who feels like pitching in.
The claim is that GiffGaff is run by its customers, but the reality is that while sales and support are provided by customers, business decisions are still made by company – though it insists that it takes on board customer comments.
Customers are rewarded for their contribution to sales and support with pre-paid credit: £5 for connecting up another customer, £2 if one of those customers signs up someone else, and pennies for answering support questions and/or being an active member of the community.
But none of that helps run the actual network, which still needs engineers to keep it operational, and while the approaching-two-day outage may only be affecting a small number of people, it is still unacceptable for any mobile network – even one run by its customers.