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Switzerland - Telephone
To dial Zurich, you may need to use a dialling code of either 043 (+41 43) or 044 (+41 44) depending on who you are calling. Other area dialling codes for major Swiss towns and cities are as follows:
Basel ------- 61
Bern -------- 31
Geneva ------ 22
Lausanne ---- 21
Lucerne ----- 41
Lugano ------ 91
Winterthur -- 52
Freephone calls have an 0800 prefix but charges apply when calling these numbers from a mobile.
Swisscom's largest competitor is Sunrise, with Orange also a major competitor for mobile and internet packages. All three of these telecoms providers have shops throughout Switzerland in addition to online stores. However, more remote areas are served only by Swisscom, who are also responsible for public payphones. Swisscom have English-language web services and will also be able to deal with you in English in person or by phone if required.
If you prefer a cable service, UPC Cablecom can offer you a package (currently CHF 25 monthly) with free fixed line calls. This can be bundled with internet services and digital TV as required. Their web services are available in English and they have a number of Service Points around Switzerland where you can speak to someone in person.
To arrange a connection on moving into your new home, you will need to let your provider know the name of the previous occupant so that they can reactivate the correct line. If you are in a new-build property, inform them of the plot number. A charge will apply if an engineer needs to visit to identify your line, so it is worth having these details to hand. You can request a line activation by calling into a provider's shop, getting in touch with your chosen provider online, or calling on another line.
To order a brand new line with Swisscom, you can use a web-based form on their website, send an email or call on a freephone number. Transferring a Swisscom residential line can also be carried out online provided you have the relevant details available. Activation can take a day or two, with delays over weekends or public holidays.
With Swisscom and other major telecoms providers you will be able to set up online billing. Swisscom currently offer a cashback incentive for this and others may likewise give reductions or benefits to online customers. Your choices in paying your Swiss phone bills include setting up a Direct Debit with your bank or PostFinance, pre-registering with the E-bill serivce for one-click payment of online bills, or paying online via e-banking after receipt of your bill. Your bill will include a fixed line rental per month in addition to any call charges.
In addition to the mobile network infrastructure providers Swisscom, Orange and Sunrise, you have a further choice from a variety of mobile providers who use these networks. These include supermarket-affiliated providers such as CoopMobile and ALDI mobile. Some of the larger ones who operate in a number of countries are Lebara Mobile, Lycamobile, and MTV Mobile. Yallo is also popular.
You can find a wide range of mobile tariffs to meet your needs. These include data packages, fixed rate calls, and SMS/MMS services. You can upgrade for free calls at nights or on the weekend, and can pre-pay for SMS or data credits.
Mobile telecommunication technologies are frequently upgraded. Most of the country has GSM 2G/2.5G and UMTS 3G/3.5G coverage, with HSPA+ technology in 500 locations allowing transmission of up to 42 Mbits per second. Generally your actual speed will be below this maximum and will vary.
Note that it can be difficult to obtain a mobile phone contract if you are in Switzerland on a temporary L residence permit. Expect to be asked to pay a large deposit if accepted by a provider.
You can find payphones in post offices and on-street locations. Some modern street booths are circular. The phones are grey with red handsets and have a slot into which you must either insert a debit card or a pre-paid phone card which has a chip. These are sold at the post office and at kiosks. As Swisscom hold the monopoly on payphones their rates are relatively expensive.
http://www.swisscom.ch/ (available in English)
Swisscom (Switzerland) AG, Contact Center, CH 3050 Bern
Tel: 0800 800 800 (free)
Tel: +41 848 800 811 (international, charges apply)
Sunrise Communications AG, Binzmühlestrasse 130, Postfach, CH 8050 Zürich
Tel: 0800 707 707
Tel: +41 800 707 707 (international)
UPC Cablecom GmbH, Industriestrasse 19-21, CH 8112 Otelfingen
Tel: 0800 66 88 66
Tel: +41 800 66 88 66 (international)
Zurich Office: Orange Communications SA, Hardturmstrasse 161, CH 8005 Zurich
Tel: 0800 700 700
Tel: +41 78 700 70 00 (international)
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