giffgaff as a recognised carrier in iOS

I’ve written about giffgaff before. They’re a cheap cellular operator here in the UK, owned by O2, provisioning service on the O2 network, and I’m a customer of theirs with multiple accounts and SIMs.

Most recently, to go with getting a new iPad with the cellular data radio, I started a new SIM using their gigabag data-only product. A gigabag is designed to be used with devices like the iPad that don’t need voice service and only need cellular data. The price is shit compared to what you get with their normal voice+data products, but it’s all they offer and it’s competitive with other data-only products on other networks.

giffgaff even let you tether other devices to the data service accessed by the device with the SIM in it, if the device supports tethering of course. The problem on iOS is that iOS devices don’t officially recognise giffgaff as an operator, or the product active on the SIM as being usable with tethering, so the Personal Hotspot configuration menus to turn it on are hidden. You can only change that by jailbreaking.

That’s fine on iPhone where jailbreaks exist for all models, but there’s no jailbreak for the new iPad, plus there’s no point having data-only service on a phone anyway, so it’s a combination that’d never happen.

Apple need to realise that the list of cellular data operators is fluid and the list shouldn’t even be maintained by them in the operating system. It should be something the customer controls ideally, just turning it on after making sure it’s part of their product terms that they can use it, just like they’d enable something like VPN. I’m even happy that the carrier controls it, since I could just raise a ticket with giffgaff and get it turned on by them.

Neither option is possible and it’s not clear at all how to contact Apple to request the change, nor would it happen instantly.