Most calling plans are complex and built to confuse, but the following points should help:
Ask yourself when you call (morning, day or evening). Prepaid and contract rate plans have two groups: hourly rates and universal rates. Hourly rates divide the day into several time segments each with its associated price per minute. Tariffs are much lower in the early morning and late in the day and are at their peak during business hours. Universal rates are simpler in that they offer one fixed rate regardless of the time of day, but this is on average higher.
Ask yourself where you call (fixed lines or which mobile provider). There are different rates depending whether you called a fixed line, to mobiles with the same company and to other mobiles. Calls to mobiles with the same operator are the cheapest while calls to mobiles outside that operator are the most expensive, so it can be worth finding out what operator your friends use.
Prepaid or contract?
Similar to other European countries, you can pay for your calls in two different ways: prepaid or contract.
Prepaid phones: With prepaid phones, you have maximum flexibility since you pay as you go. As you need more credit you simply buy recharge cards.
Rates for prepaid cards have dropped significantly in recent times. In some cases they are even lower than those of a contract. New providers such as M-Budget-Mobile, Coop Mobile and yallo have made this possible.
yallo no longer distinguishes between Europe and the rest of the world. Our rates are favourable throughout the country and abroad. Remember: phone calls abroad are cheaper than domestic ones. Have a look on www.yallo.ch for the current rates.
Contract: The other option available is to sign a contract. Besides delaying payment until the end of the month, the benefits of a contract are lower calling rates (quite significantly in some cases) and better deals on new phones. When evaluating which plan is best for you, be sure to read all the other conditions such as the monthly fees ( Grundgebühr – prix mensuel), the connection cost ( Verbindungskosten – coût de connexion) and the minimum monthly consumption ( Mindestumsatz – consummation minimum). The typical length of a contract is one or two years. If you cancel before this, you will usually have to pay a penalty. If you unsure about how long you will be staying in Switzerland, signing a contract may not be the best option for you.
All operators subsidize mobile phones when you sign a contract with them. However, a subsidized phone usually implies a minimum contract length of one or two years. If you leave Switzerland before the end of the period, you will have to pay at least the remaining monthly fees of your contract.