The Best Phone Plans in Switzerland in 2020

Categories Frugality, SwitzerlandUpdated on

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The Best Phone Plan in Switzerland for different users

Update: Fully updated as of August 2020! Plans have become even cheaper than before!

We can agree that everybody wants to pay as little as possible for their phone bills. Even though you may think your current phone plan is the cheapest available, there could be new deals since you started using your plan. It is always essential to keep up to date with the latest offers.

The Swiss Phone plan market is quite diverse these days. Fifteen years ago, it was almost only Swisscom, and everybody was content with it. Now, many other providers are using one of the three major networks.

In this post, I am going to compare the phone plans and prepaid cards for seven standard phone usages. For each of them, I will show the cheapest options available. Keep reading if you want to save money on your phone bill!

Prepaid vs Plan

You have two options to pay for your phone bills:

  1. A proper plan where you pay month after month based on what you used.
  2. A prepaid card where you have to charge your card in advance.

Most people prefer to use a plan because it is much easier. Having a plan means that you will always be able to use your phone. On the contrary, if you use a prepaid card and you forget to charge your card, you may be prevented from using your phone.

Using a prepaid card is a bit more work. But it may be cheaper. Before I did the first version of this post, I was opposed to using a prepaid card. But this is too lazy. I know I have the discipline to charge my phone every month. Therefore, I will consider using a prepaid card if it is a cheaper option for me.

Which mobile phone network?

In Switzerland, there are three large mobile networks:

  1. Swisscom
  2. Salt
  3. Sunrise

They are all operating their own devices and antennas. Each prepaid or plan is operating on some specific network.

In the beginning, the Swisscom network was by far the best in Switzerland. Today, Sunrise and Swisscom are probably on a draw. However, it is challenging to find an unbiased comparison of these networks today. Most of the comparisons available are made by network providers and, as such, are biased.

I am using the Swisscom network. I always had excellent coverage and excellent internet speed. About ten years ago, I had the Sunrise network for a bit less than two years. I was very dissatisfied with the network at that time and quickly moved back to the Swisscom network. Today, I would not want to change the network. But I am biased as well.

These days, non-Swisscom networks have become much better. For most people, any network should work just fine.

Your Phone Usage

Now, there is no single plan or prepaid card that is cheapest for each possible case. You need to know your usage of your phone:

  • How many SMS and MMS per month?
  • How many calls per month?
  • The length of these calls in minutes?
  • How many MB of data per month?

If you do not know this, you can look at your last three phone bills and make the average of your usage. This average should be enough to give you an idea of how much you need on average. Generally, you should round minutes higher. A 1 minute 30 seconds call should be counted as two minutes. This rounding is how operators are counting for the price.

For each of the cases, I will list the main cheapest options. For the sake of comparison, I will exclude youth offers and special offers from the pack. If the same provider has several options in the top three, I will generally take the best one. It would not make sense to take the other one anyway. Finally, I will compare the monthly price of the offers. Since we are talking about long-term usage here, I did not include activation fees.

My Phone Usage

I checked my phone bills for the last four months, and I came up with this average usage:

  • 1 SMS per month
  • 0 MMS per month
  • 8 calls per month with about 28 minutes in total
  • 600 MB per month of mobile data (can be tuned down to 500 MB easily)

I realize that I am not a very common user. Indeed, most people use their phones a lot more than I do. For instance, most people use several gigabytes (GB) of data every month. I do not like using my phone. And generally, I use mobile data when I have Wifi at home and at the gym. Unfortunately, I do not have Wifi at work. Otherwise, I would be able to keep below 100 MB.

User 1: Mr. The Poor Swiss

Let’s start the first case with my case: 1 SMS per month, 8 calls per month, about 4 minutes per call, and 500 MB of mobile data.

Here are the three cheapest options:

  1. Lidl Connect Smart Prepaid (prepaid, Salt network): 9.80 CHF per month
    1. With Data Package 500MB
  2. Mucho Duo Micro (prepaid, Swisscom network): 10.05 CHF per month
  3. Coop Mobile Prepaid (prepaid, Swisscom network): 10.50 CHF per month
    1. With Surf Package and 15 Cents package

For me, the best offer would be the Lidl Connect Smart Prepaid offer. At only 9.80 CHF per month, it is very cheap.

As you can see, for my usage, there are options at less than 10 CHF per month. It is really impressive. A lot of people spend much more than that. I used to spend more than double that.

For very light phone users, prepaid plans are shining. Plans do not even come close to be interesting for such small usages.

I currently do not have the best offer since I have the Coop Mobile Prepaid and not the Lidl offer. However, I will not change because there is a significant advantage to Coop Mobile Prepaid. Indeed, the packs have no duration. So, if you buy a pack of 1GB of data, you can use it for a long-time. So, if you use less data for one month, you can save data in the next month. Most packs have a 30-day duration. This advantage makes the Coop Mobile Prepaid offer excellent.

User 2: Light Phone User

But most people use their phones more than me. Let’s see what happens with a more realistic small user:

  • 50 SMS per month
  • 60 minutes per month (12 times 5 minutes calls)
  • 1 GB of data

I think this is pretty much a basic user in Switzerland.

Here are the three cheapest options for this user:

  1. Aldi Suisse Mobile Smart S (Prepaid, Sunrise network): 14.90 CHF per month
  2. Yallo All in 15 (Prepaid, Sunrise network): 15 CHF per month
  3. Mucho Duo Mini (prepaid, Swisscom network): 17.90 CHF per month
  4. Talk Talk 20 (plan, Sunrise network): 19.95 CHF per month
  5. Lidl Connect Smart Abo (plan, Salt network): 19.95 CHF per month

This time, the best option is from Aldi. It seems that German discounters have great phone plans.

Interestingly, the Mucho option is only 3 CHF more expensive per month but offers 2GB per month, whereas the others have only slightly more than 1GB.

User 3: Medium User

Let’s take it up a notch with our third user:

  • 100 SMS per month
  • 240 minutes of calls (24 times 10 minutes calls)
  • 2 GB of data

Here are the three best options:

  1. Aldi Suisse Mobile Smart S (Prepaid, Sunrise network): 14.90 CHF per month
  2. Talk Talk EU & US (plan, Sunrise network): 19.95 CHF per month
  3. Lidl Connect Smart Abo (plan, Salt network): 19.95 CHF per month

And once again, Aldi is shining in the first place! The prepaid offer from Aldi is outstanding. And for the first time, a plan is coming in the top three. At less than 20 CHF per month, a plan is already an excellent deal here.

User 4: Heavy Data user

Our user 4 uses the same as user 3, but with more data:

  • 100 SMS per month
  • 240 minutes of calls (24 times 10 minutes calls)
  • 5 GB of data

Let’s see what the options for this user are:

  1. Lidl Connect Smart Abo (plan, Salt network): 19.95 CHF per month
  2. Aldi Suisse Mobile Smart M (prepaid, Sunrise Network): 24.90 CHF per month
  3. Mucho Duo Swiss (prepaid, Swisscom network): 24.90 CHF per month

We find Lidl and Adli again with their great offers. For the first time, a plan is the best offer. The Lidl Connect plan is an excellent value.

User 5: Heavier Data only user

User 5 only uses mobile data, no calls, and no SMS. This usage is not uncommon since you can easily use internet apps for calls and messages. Our user 5 uses 10 GB of data per month.

Here are the three cheapest options for user 5:

  1. Sunrise Mobile Internet Start (Plan, Sunrise network): 9 CHF per month
    • Only 2Mbps internet download speed
  2. Sunrise Mobile Internet Comfort (Plan, Sunrise network): 19 CHF per month
    1. 10Mbps internet download speed
  3. Mucho Ultra 19 (Prepaid, Swisscom network): 19 CHF per month
    1. 15Mbps internet download speed
  4. Salt Surf 50 GB (Plan, Salt network): 24.95 CHF per month
    1. 150Mbps internet download speed

Now, we can see that the first option is much cheaper than the others. However, the speed is very low. It is highly unlikely that a heavy user of mobile data would want such a low speed.

The Sunrise option is already five times faster and only 10 CHF more per month. So, it is a great option. But if you want something fast, the Salt Surf plan is less than 25 CHF per month and has high-speed internet.

User 6: Unlimited Data only user

Now, some people need even more data. Our user 5 needs 500 GB per month on its phone. Granted, this is not unlimited. But who uses more than that per month on a freaking phone?

So, here are three options:

  1. Sunrise Mobile Internet Start (Plan, Sunrise network): 9 CHF per month
    • Only 2Mbps internet download speed
  2. Sunrise Mobile Internet Comfort (Plan, Sunrise network): 19 CHF per month
    1. 10Mbps internet download speed
  3. Salt Surf Unlimited (Plan, Salt Network): 35 CHF per month
    1. 150Mbps internet download speed

Once again, I believe that no one would like the first options. It is simply too slow. But the other two options have a very reasonable price for unlimited usage. A few years ago, we would have had to pay twice more than that for unlimited plans.

User 7: Frequent User Roaming

Roaming is costly in Switzerland. You have to be careful about that. Unfortunately, I do not know of a very good comparator for Roaming. Moreover, the roaming rates are different for every country. So it is challenging to compare different plans without having an exact situation.

When I travel to other countries, my strategy is straightforward: I let my phone in airplane mode the whole time. If I find a Wifi, I will use it, but otherwise, I will not allow myself to use any data. I think that most people can disconnect from their phone, it could do them some good.

For this comparison, I used the Frequent User profile from moneyland (more on that later) with France as a destination. For Switzerland, this user has the same national usage as the user 3. The Frequent Profile is as follows:

  • 38 calls from Switzerland while abroad
  • 1.4 GB of mobile data while abroad
  • 38 calls to Switzerland while abroad, 2.5 minutes per call
  • 38 calls to France while in France, 2.5 minutes per call

I think it is already quite a heavy usage of Roaming. Here are the three cheapest options for this usage:

  1. Aldi Suisse Mobile Smart S (prepaid, Sunrise network): 14.90 CHF per month + 118.50 CHF per year = 24.75 CHF per month
  2. Lidl Connect Smart Abo (Plan, Salt network): 19.95 CHF per month + 117.10 CHF per year: 29.70 CHF per month
  3. Talk Talk EU & US (Plan, Sunrise Network): 19.95 CHF per month + 132.30 per year = 31 CHF per month
    • With Data Booster 500MB option
  4. Mucho Duo Swiss (prepaid, Swisscom network): 24.90 CHF per month + 84.35 per year = 31.95 per month
    • With Talk Mini Roam and Data Mini Roam packages

We can see that that this makes it significantly more expensive than User 3. However, it is more reasonable than I thought. I would not have thought that prepaid plans were interesting for Roaming.

If you want better accuracy for Roaming, you will have to know to which country you are going. Then, you will need to know how often and how much usage you will need. Real usage is not easy to estimate.

Of course, the best course of action is not to use Roaming!

Best prepaid for light users: Coop Mobile

My favorite prepaid offer is the Coop Mobile Prepaid. The base prices are fair:

  • 0.29 CHF per minute on call
  • 0.15 CHF per SMS

But the great thing about this offer is the plans that Coop Mobile Prepaid has!

  • The 15 Cents offer that gives 100 units of calls and SMS (1 SMS = 1 unit and 1 minute of call = 1 unit) at 15 CHF
  • Surf 250: 250MB at 4.90 CHF
  • Surf 750: 750MB at 9.90 CHF
  • Surf 1500: 1500MB at 14.90 CHF

The best thing about these offers is that they do not have an expiration date. So, you can buy a pack and use it for a year if you want. So, this is the best prepaid offer for light users, like me.

I currently have the Coop Mobile Prepaid offer, and I am pleased with it. Since I started using it, I have used an average of 5 CHF per month!

Having a cheap phone plan is one of the ways I am using to save a lot of money in Switzerland. But there are others!

Best Overall Plan: Lidl Connect Smart Abo

My favorite phone plan is the Lidl Connect Smart Abo plan. It gives you unlimited SMS and calls and 5 GB of data per month. It only costs 19.95 CHF per month. And at the time of this writing, there is an offer to get it at 14.95 CHF per month.

The only thing I do not like about this plan is that it is on the Salt network. But if you are not a purist like me, this network should be perfectly fine for you.

Phone Plans Comparators

I know two comparators in Switzerland for mobile prepaid and plans.

The first one and the best one is the mobile comparator from moneyland. You can configure all the numbers precisely, and the results are detailed. This comparator is the one I have used for most of the comparisons in this post. The problem is that they are considering many offers that are only valid for some time. And the way they compare it is using the activation costs and one-time costs. I much prefer to see the long-time costs.

The second comparator is the mobile comparator from comparis. It is also good, but it is much more limited in the parameters you can use. You cannot tune it to your needs. Indeed, if you know your average usage, you are much better off using the one from moneyland. However, it never hurts to use two comparators.

Conclusion

I have to say that I am surprised by the results of the comparison. Over the last decade, phone plans and prepaid offers have become much more affordable.

I remember when I was young, and a Swisscom unlimited plan was costing 69 CHF per month, and it was not considered that bad. Fortunately, we have many more options now.

We can see that there is a lot of competition in this field. There are many actors. And even German discounters, Lidl and Aldi, offer excellent mobile plans.

If you have never considered prepaid before, I strongly encourage you to do so now. There are many great options, and they can be much cheaper than phone plans.

And you should not forget to rethink your plans every few years. For instance, the Lid Connect Smart Abo was not in the first version of this article. But it is now an excellent plan. But you should not change every year since you would then pay heavy activation fees.

If you are in the best value for money, you may also be interested in the best internet plans in Switzerland.

What about you? Which phone plan or prepaid card do you use?

Mr. The Poor Swiss

Mr. The Poor Swiss is the author behind thepoorswiss.com. In 2017, he realized that he was falling into the trap of lifestyle inflation. He decided to cut on his expenses and increase his income. This blog is relating his story and findings. In 2019, he is saving more than 50% of his income. He made it a goal to reach Financial Independence. You can send Mr. The Poor Swiss a message here.