Community-based MVNO Giffgaff has begun selling smartphones for the first time today. The operator, which runs on O2 UK's network, had previously limited itself to SIM-only deals with community-based customer service through its forums. From today Brits can buy Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Note 3, Sony Xperia Z1 and HTC One from Giffgaff, paying for the devices in one lump sum upfront, or in monthly installments separate from its service charge. Customers can choose to pay for the phone over six, 12, 18 or 24 months, with initial payments of between £50 and £200.

Service plans work just as they always have, with customers able to purchase monthly "goody bags" with a balance of minutes, calls and texts. A major draw of Giffgaff in the past has been its relatively cheap unlimited data goody bags, which start at £12 for 30 days of unlimited data and texts, and 250 minutes.

Giffgaff is marketing some of its phones as "4G ready," hinting at plans for LTE coverage in the future. While the operator doesn't currently offer LTE services, O2 has previously said it'll extend its 4G network to MVNOs, including Tesco Mobile and Giffgaff, at some point in the future.

Source: Giffgaff, Recombu, Crave