In most apartments that have previous residents, there will already be a phone line installed. Getting your line connected is a straightforward process that is done remotely, though you will be expected to pay a connection fee to Swisscom.
If you are a foreigner without a C-permit, you may be required to pay a deposit to Swisscom before your line is connected.
If you move into a new apartment or house which doesn’t already have a phone line, you will have to pay Swisscom to install one. To have a phone line installed, you can contact Swisscom on 0800 800 800, or visit your local shop. Swisscom will arrange an appointment with you. Make sure you are at home at the arranged time – it is likely that the engineer will arrive on time and will not wait for you to get back. Otherwise, you may have to pay for a return visit.
Analogue or ISDN
When getting a phone line in Switzerland, you can choose between an analogue or ISDN connection. Besides offering a higher connection speed for Internet dial-up access, ISDN also allows you to use multiple phone lines simultaneously (you can be online whilst using the phone).
If you want to use a company other than Swisscom as your call provider, you have the option to shop around for the best tariffs or system.
Different call provider
You can choose to pay Swisscom to provide the telephone line, and then a separate call provider, who can offer you a better tariff that is customised to your needs. It is quite common to receive only one monthly bill from this call provider. The total amount payable includes the amount payable to Swisscom.
Several companies such as UPC Cablecom offer a modern cable connection, which provides internet, telephony and television services in one cable. This can offer high quality phone calls and only one monthly bill for phone, internet and television services.
VoIP and LCR
These are two new options that are becoming more popular in Switzerland. VoIP uses an internet connection to place calls over an internet connection. Least Cost Routing (LCR) attaches a device to the telephone exchange, and analyses the type of phone call, in order to select the path with the lowest cost.
Your telephone bill ( Rechnung - Facture) is issued monthly, whether by Swisscom or another provider. It will show you the charges for the previous month, separated between national and international calls. Often, you will have the option to view your bill online, though can have a paper copy delivered. You can also ask for detailed calling lists to be sent to you with your bill, but you will be charged for the privilege. All telephone charges are subject to 8% VAT.
If you want to avoid the inconvenience of not being disconnected when you forget to pay the phone bill, consider paying your bills by direct debit (Dauerauftrag - mandat), in which case the amount due is automatically debited from your bank account.