Surface optical (SO) phonons were studied by Raman spectroscopy in GaAs nanowires (NWs) grown by Ga-assisted chemical beam epitaxy on oxidized Si(111) substrates. NW diameters and lengths ranging between 40 and 65 nm and between 0.3 and 1.3 μm, respectively, were observed under different growth conditions. The analysis of the Raman peak shape associated to either longitudinal or surface optical modes gave important information about the crystal quality of grown NWs. Phonon confinement model was used to calculate the density of defects as a function of the NW diameter resulting in values between 0.02 and 0.03 defects/nm, indicating the high uniformity obtained on NWs cross section size during growth. SO mode shows frequency downshifting as NW diameter decreases, this shift being sensitive to NW sidewall oxidation. The wavevector necessary to activate SO phonon was used to estimate the NW facet roughness responsible for SO shift.