GiffGaff says that a 4G service on the network won't land soon, and is likely significantly more than a year away.
UPDATE: Since posting this story, GiffGaff has released the following statement on its 4G plans: "giffgaff runs on the O2 network and we're working with them to bring 4G to our customers as soon as possible and are likely to be able to offer 4G services in 2013."
GiffGaff's head of community Gregg Baker told Trusted Reviews that a 4G service on the low-cost mobile carrier is "easily 12 months plus" away from today, suggesting that it won't arrive until 2014 at the earliest.
Baker said that interest within the thriving GiffGaff community was more focused on the pricing of the EE network's 4G offerings than GiffGaff's own 4G plans at present. However, he did imply that 4G hadn't been ruled-out as an idea for the future.
GiffGaff operates as a virtual mobile operator, piggybacking off the O2 network. However, its approach is quite different to O2's, with a self-conscious emphasis on its community. Its own tagline reads, "We work in collaboration with our members, to give you a better service, to give you a better deal."
GiffGaff's Baker says that as part of this collaboration, the network just zapped one of its most popular price plans, the £10 a month unlimited internet Goodybag. To get unlimited mobile internet on the network, you'll have to spend £12 a month, £2 more than Virgin Media's Big Data and Texts plan. GiffGaff's £10 plan is now limited to 1GB data, although this can also be used tethered to other devices.
Baker reinforced that GiffGaff has no plans to get rid of unlimited data, though, which is one reason to be sad that 4G won't land on the provider any time soon. Unless it radically changes its network infrastructure, GiffGaff will have to rely on O2's 4G offering. O2 started 4G trials in the UK in November 2011, but these only took place with a relatively small audience, over a small area.
O2 is set to bid on the 800MHz and 2.6GHz 4G spectrums next year, but neither of these is supported by the current iPhone 5. However, as other networks' 4G plans aren't expected to be launched well into 2013, it won't be too long before we're due the iPhone 6 by that point.
The only 4G plans widely available in the UK at present are EE's, which start at £36 a month with a 500MB data limit.