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Telephone, Internet and TV

Telephone in Switzerland

The telephone sockets in Switzerland are different from those you know from your home country. In Switzerland, so-called Reichle plugs are used. But it is not enough to just buy another plug, the polarity on the phone and router are often different. There are also differences between telephone and modem cables. One possibility is to buy the right adapter for the Reichle plug in a specialist shop. Another possibility would be to buy a fax cable, this should work for many foreign telephones. The easiest and safest way is to buy a new telephone after moving in. On the picture: Left - connection of Swisscom, right - sealed connection of UPC.

Providers fixed network telephony, Internet and television

There are two major providers in the fixed network, Internet and TV sector. Swisscom is the top dog, it has a reputation of being one of the more expensive providers, but this is not necessarily the case, depending on requirements. In my opinion, it offers the best service and, especially in the TV sector, very good quality. The second largest provider is UPC, which is especially characterized by very fast internet connections. There are also a few smaller providers and, depending on the region, local providers. To get a good and quick market overview of the providers, we recommend the comparison portal alao*. It should be noted that in some apartments the cable connection from UPC, as long as it is usable, is paid for via the service charges. It does not matter whether it is used or not. To save these costs, it is possible to have the connection sealed. It is best to discuss this with your landlord.

Reception fees in Switzerland

In Switzerland there is a device-independent reception fee. This means that basically every household is liable to pay the fee. The Serafe (Swiss Survey Office for Radio and Television Tax) obtains the data from the municipal population register. Private households pay 335 francs per year (Status 2022). On request, the bill can also be paid quarterly. Please note: For quarterly bills, the paper bill is subject to extra charges. The reception fee is per household, the number of devices and persons is irrelevant.

Telephone numbers, asterisk entry and advertising calls

Another special feature is that the landline numbers, after the move even with the area code can be taken along. Because of this possibility, it is not possible to tell from which region someone is calling from. If you are listed in the telephone book, you have the possibility to prohibit that you are harassed by advertising calls. Unfortunately, not all companies adhere to this requirement and the possibilities to legally defend oneself against this are limited. However, it is advisable to make use of the "star entry" (Sterneintrag), as the number of calls is significantly lower and Swiss companies in particular adhere to it. If someone calls for advertising, one can assume that these companies are dubious and a reference to the star in the telephone book is usually enough to end the call.

Mobile phone, area codes and providers

The old mobile phone can continue to be used in Switzerland as long as it is not SIM-lock protected. The networks are based on the same technology. The use of mobile phones and especially smartphones is very widespread in Switzerland. In particular, the brand with the apple is very widespread. Don't be surprised if you find the term "Natel" under phone numbers on Swiss forms, this is the Swiss-German term for mobile phone. There are three mobile phone networks in Switzerland. Swisscom offers the best network coverage, but is rather more expensive in terms of price. With about 60% market share they are clearly the most widespread. Lower priced, but slightly worse in terms of network coverage is Salt and Sunrise. There are of course more providers, but every provider uses one of these three networks. Low-priced offers can be found at Yallo (Sunrise network)*, M-Budget Mobile (Migros)* and Coop-Mobile*. The typical area codes of Swiss mobile phone providers are 076, 077, 078 and 079, although the area code alone does not provide any information about the network, as anyone can also take their number with them when changing providers.

Hotlines and service numbers

Premium numbers or fee-based hotlines start with 090x. Be careful when calling or calling back, the costs for this can be very different. If the basic charge and/or the price per minute exceed CHF 2, the price must be announced free of charge before the call begins. These numbers can be blocked by the telephone provider on request, so that you can protect yourself from this cost trap. The prefix 0800 is only used for free phone numbers. However, if you call these numbers from your mobile phone, from telephone booths or from abroad, you may still incur costs. 084x is often used for service hotlines, these numbers are not free of charge, but from the fixed network you will be charged a maximum of 8 centimes per minute.


The most important emergency numbers in Switzerland
112 General emergency call
117 Police
118 Fire brigade
144 Paramedic


Other important emergency numbers
114 Ambulance
140 Breakdown service
143 Pastoral care by telephone - "Dargebotene Hand"
145 For poisoning - Toxicological Service
147 Telephone help for children and young people
1414 Helicopter Rescue Service

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