SwitzerlandA while ago we described how to get affordable 3G access when traveling to Italy. Today, we continue this series with a report on Swiss prepaid data tariffs. In Switzerland there are three providers, Swisscom, Orange and sunrise. Swisscom has by far the best 3G coverage covering 93% of the population.

Luckily Swisscom also offers the most attractive prepaid card with data tariff. There are plenty of different prepaid options available. Two options are interesting for travelers who want to avoid monthly charges:

  NATEL easy liberty uno NATEL Easy BeFree
Data usage CHF 1.–/MB, CHF 5.–/day max. CHF 4.–/day flat when used
National calls: CHF 0.80/h CHF 3.–/day flat when used
SIM card (valid 24 months): CHF 40.– CHF 40.–

There’s a “fair” use policy on data usage: After more than 2 GB/month the bandwidth will be throttled.
Incoming calls and SMS while logged into the home network are free as usual in Europe.

More details on the Swisscom website.

Getting the SIM card

swisscom-logo.pngSIM cards can’t be ordered online in advance so make your plans to visit a Swisscom store. Swisscom stores can be found in every major city. Use Where To? (Shopping:Mobile Phones:Swisscom) or the Swisscom store finder to find the next one. To create the account, bring your passport or ID. The SIM card will be CHF 49.– including a CHF 9 .– prepaid credit. Even though it’s just a prepaid card, calculate 30 minutes for the paperwork. You’re essentially signing for a 24 months contract (without ongoing fees). So if you come back to Switzerland in less than 2 years, you can still use the account and save the CHF 40.– per SIM card.

When the credit is eaten up, you’ll be notified via SMS and you can top up the account online via credit card.

iPad packages

For iPad, Swisscom offers similarly priced data-only packages:

Data usage: 100 MB 300 MB 2 GB
Costs: CHF 5.–/day CHF 19.–/30 days CHF 39.–/30 days
SIM card:
CHF 19.90 (includes CHF 20.- credit)

Although iPad SIM cards can be purchased online, due to legal reasons, registration and activation of the SIM card has to be done in a Swisscom store.

APN settings

Usually, the iPhone is auto-configured for the Swisscom network, so you don’t have to enter any APN settings. If the connection doesn’t come up, you can enter these manual settings:

APN gprs.swisscom.ch
Username gprs
Password gprs

All articles how to get 3G data access internationally


  • StuFF mc

    wrote on August 4, 2011 at 10:34am

    Ortwin, you probably have tags or categories on this blog, right? Which one would it be to get all the “Traveling to… How to get 3G” articles? Would be *very* helpful to find them with one link. Thanks for making them!

  • Ortwin Gentz

    wrote on August 4, 2011 at 10:59am

    Here you can find them all: http://www.futuretap.com/blog/?tag=international-3g-data

  • Johan van Nieuwenhuizen

    wrote on October 1, 2011 at 3:36pm

    Dear Ortwin,

    Thank you for the articles.

    There is another less published volume based data option with lower data rates on the prepaid Swisscom Natel sim cards.

    (Available in 100, 300MB and 2GB data bundles valid for 30 days, activated via SMS)

    See link below:


    Kind Regards,

    Johan van Nieuwenhuizen

  • First timer to switzerland

    wrote on December 6, 2011 at 7:16pm


    Just to clarify, I’ll be able to use my blackberry messenger and whatapps once I have data right?
    Can the sim card be used for blackberry phones? 🙂


  • Ortwin Gentz

    wrote on December 6, 2011 at 8:35pm

    No idea about BlackBerry specifically. As long as your device is not SIM-locked or net-locked, you’re good to go.

  • iPad user

    wrote on July 4, 2012 at 11:03am

    Hi I use a wifi iPad and am in Lausanne next month. Is there a 3G wifi modem available with any of the Swiss providers that I can use with a sim card and data plan? There are two of us and we both use iPads so USB dongles are not an option.

  • Ortwin Gentz

    wrote on July 4, 2012 at 11:59am

    I recommend using either an unlocked iPhone with Tethering or a MiFi Wireless Router such as the Huawei E585 (around 80€ unlocked). Also, check the format of the SIM (normal or micro) and bring an adapter or a SIM cutter (or a sharp knife) if needed.

  • Sanjay

    wrote on September 2, 2012 at 4:01am

    Hi. I am going to be in Lausanne for 3 days, then in South of France 4 days and then back to Geneva for 2 days. What would you recomend for an iPad sim card? Should I take separate ones for the 2 countries or would you recomend i use a swiss 3 g card and just pay the roaming charges for France ?
    Thanks in advance.

  • Ortwin Gentz

    wrote on September 2, 2012 at 8:30am

    Probably 2 SIM cards make more sense, depending on the data volume you need.

  • Sanjay

    wrote on September 2, 2012 at 9:39am


  • Simon

    wrote on October 14, 2012 at 8:29pm

    Hi. I am going to visit Switzerland for 9 days. I would like to have internet browsing services in my smart phone. I will use whatsapp, line and skype. What sim card would you recommend?? Thanks a lot

  • Mayur Shah

    wrote on April 15, 2015 at 5:35pm

    Will be visiting Switzerland for 9 days this May.
    I expect to make about 50 phone calls (estimated 100 minutes talk time).
    I would think 1Gb of data should be enough to help me with sightseeing trips, rail travel, locating cafes, weather checks etc.
    Please advise which telecom plan I should get for my Samsung Duos smartphone.
    Many thanks in advance

  • Marion Russek

    wrote on October 13, 2015 at 1:25pm

    Hi there, is there no such thing as in Tokyo where you can hire a portable modem? I want to use Google maps to get around in Switzerland, meaning that I am online a lot…

  • Ortwin Gentz

    wrote on October 13, 2015 at 1:31pm

    @Marion, you can buy a Mifi bridge or something similar for sure and maybe there are also providers renting such devices. I’d just ask in the next Swisscom (or Orange or Sunrise) shop.
    Also, since you’re here, you might want to consider using our Where To? app to get around. 😉

  • Marion Russek

    wrote on October 13, 2015 at 1:51pm

    Thanks Ortwin. Of course, I will look into this ;-). And I will talk to one of the providers about this MiFi bridge – great advice.

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