Phone & Internet Guide
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Switzerland operates on a GSM network. If you come from Europe or many other countries, your current phone will probably work in Switzerland and you can decide to only get a new SIM card with your subscription or your Prepay offer. If you are coming from North America or some areas of Asia, you might need to change your phone and buy a new one locally.
Some operators offer discounts on the monthly fee if you subscribe without a handset. If keeping your mobile is your plan, make sure that your operator does offer this!
All operators require ID before you can sign up to a contract. This is usually in the form of a passport or permit. You should also be able to present a bill in order to prove your Swiss address.
For foreigners, some restrictions can exist (which prevent you being able to have a Postpay contract) but these depend on the type of permit you have.
If you have a Permit B, C, L or G you are entitled to a pay-monthly contract. A few special circumstances exist:
- Some operators, but not all, ask for a deposit for G permit holders, so it's worth asking the question beforehand.
- For holders of a working permit, a deposit is usually required, the amount of which depends on the customer risk classification and the services which are required.
- Even with deposits, some permit holders might have a limited access to mobile services depending on their risk classification.
These deposit constraints and service limitations can be avoided with some operators by using Direct Debit payment.
If you have another kind of permit, you'll have to go with PrePay instead.
Again, by agreeing with Direct Debit payment should allow you to skip this requirement.
If you've only just arrived, you obviously won't yet have a credit history in Switzerland. You might then be asked to prove your address in Switzerland by showing an invoice that confirms you're receiving bills at your Swiss address. This can be for almost anything: electricity, gas, insurance etc.
What you need to take with you in a shop to ensure you can get a pay-monthly contract is:
- ID card or passport
- Swiss work permit or letter of confirmation of permit
- Credit card and bank account details
How do I switch supplier?
At the end of your contract (and during the period when you can cancel) you can switch to another operator. Number portability (taking your existing number with you) is possible and usually free of charge. Normally, you'll have to go into a shop to do this, as opposed to phoning customer care as you'll need to sign your new contract at the same time. The contractual owner of the number is the only one who can request the transfer.
Firstly, call your operator and report your phone stolen so they can block any calls being made from your phone. They will also be able to supply you with a replacement SIM card which may even continue to have the same phone number.
Some operators, such as Orange, provide a type of phone insurance which works just like any other option. You pay a little bit extra each month and this means your phone is fully covered in the event of theft or loss.
Just like with any other service provider, you’ll be sent a reminder payment notice. Only if you don’t pay this reminder within the allocated time period, will you run the risk of your usage being frozen. You should also bear in mind that non-payment will change your credit history so it is likely to have a knock-on effect to your ability to sign-up for other financial services and products. If you’re worried about not being able to adhere to the payment terms of your contract, you’re better to choose PrePay over Postpay.
Yes, you have the opportunity of joining another operator without changing your mobile phone number, but this can take up to 4 weeks. If you have a contract, you do not need to do anything. If you use a Prepay offer, you will need to inform your operator that you want your phone number to be ported.
This is not a typical service offered by any of the main operators although on request you may be able to get a duplicate SIM and re-save your contacts there. Alternatively, more and more mobiles can be synchronized with computers so you can download and store all your contacts safely that way.
Your handset has probably switched automatically on a roaming network. You should block the automatic change of operator in your handset settings.
To be sure that you are still using the network of your swiss operator, you can simply check the indication on your handset screen, most of the devices let you know what network you are currently using. In order to avoid that your handset switches on a roaming network automatically, which would result in higher bills, it is advised to block the automatic change of network in your handset settings. If you need help to set up your phone, you can get help from Orange.
You have two options:
- Prepay: Absolutely no commitment, however you must recharge your account regularly and you will not benefit from the advantages of the pay-monthly price plans that are usually better for regular users.
- Orange pay-monthly price plans without a handset: Orange proposes “SIM only” trial offers. You will not get a handset but your contract period will only be 3 months with a notice period of 30 days for cancellation.
Contact your operator and inform them that you are leaving. If you want to cancel your subscription before the end of contract, you might need a document from your commune confirming that you are leaving the country.
If you have been with the operator for less than 6 months or have benefited from a handset offer recently, you may have to pay a penalty fee.