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Getting Swiss SIM card

Getting Swiss SIM card might save your roaming fees while allowing you to call, text and use mobile internet carelessly.

Prepaid

Best choice is to go with national provider Swisscom, who is permanently offering best rates. With standard prepaid SIM card, calls are 29c per min, unlimited internet is CHF 2 per day - good deal for those not needing monthly plan. This SIM card can be bought in any Swisscom store for CHF 20, coming with credit CHF 20.

Swisscom office: At Gare Cornavin (train station), go to bottom level, to Metro shopping cornavin - Swisscom office is located on the left.

Other variations include going with Yallo, Lycamobile, Sunrise.

Generally prepaid option has expensive data options, unlimited internet with Swisscome would cost you CHF 60 per 30 days. That makes postpaid better variant, if you are staying in Geneva.

Postpaid

To get a postpaid plan, you need to have either work permit or legitimation card, or be Swiss citizen.

Prices for unlimited calls, SMS and internet in Switzerland start at CHF 65 per month. Paynment for invoices can be handled by post or ebanking.

To find out about the best mobile plans, head to MobileZone at Rue du Mont-Blanc.

How to use your phone and data in Geneva

  • What you need to get a Swiss SIM card
  • Main operators: Swisscom, Salt. (ex-Orange) and Sunrise
  • Mobile virtual network operators: should you consider them?
  • Price Comparison
  • What about roaming ? Should you use your SIM card from abroad in Switzerland?
  • Important facts and tips

Mobile phones and tablets are absolute necessity today, for work, entertainment and communication. Now you are arriving to Geneva. Should you buy a local SIM card or should you use your own and pay the extra roaming charges? Let's find out.

What you need to get a Swiss SIM card

To get a Swiss SIM card, you need a valid ID (passport or identity card). You can buy one in regular shops, in electronics stores, at the main train station, at the airport, in operators' shops, small shops, at the post office. Credit to top your card can be bought at the same places, or online.

Swisscom, Salt. and Sunrise

First off, let us say that mobile and data coverage (2G/3G/4G LTE) is generally excellent in Switzerland, and Geneva is no exception. There are three main operators in Switzerland:

  • Swisscom (partly owned by the Swiss Confederation),
  • Salt. (formerly Orange, bought by Xavier Niel from Free)
  • Sunrise (property of TDC).

They all offer prepaid SIM cards in regular, micro, and nano formats. If you've the picked the wrong SIM format, phone shops like Mobilezone will cut it for you, sometimes for free.

The Swiss mobile industry is considerably more expensive than its European neighbours. Swisscom offer the best coverage, but this comes at a steeper price. Sunrise generally has better prices and offers daily flat rates for data. Orange was known for its bad customer service. It is too early to say how the situation will evolve now that it is Salt.

Mobile virtual network operators:

should I consider them?

Mobile virtual network operators (MVNO) are virtual in the sense that they don't own their cell towers. They buy wholesale minutes and data from the three main operators and sell their services to end users. Using them might be cheaper. Coop, Migros, Aldi, Lebara, Lycamobile, etc.: you will be spoiled for choice.

Compre different mobile and data plans

The best way to find which operator should you consider, have a look at rates comparator website such as comparis.ch.

Example:

Consider light monthly plan with mobile internet: Calling (60 min), sms (30 messages), mobile data (500MB). Here are the 3 cheapest options (virtual providers) and the cheapest option from a regular mobile network provider. Data by comparis.ch.

What about roaming? Should you use your own SIM card in Geneva?

You should check with your own provider before coming to Geneva. Some providers offer international packages, especially during the summer. France is a particular case. The French mobile market is extremely competitive. Since Geneva is surrounded by France, you could get by with a French SIM card and still get a decent coverage. The same rules stated earlier apply to acquire a French SIM card. You will have to go to Annemasse, Saint-Julien, Thoiry or Ferney-Voltaire, the nearest French cities around Geneva.

Tips & Advices

  • If you need a special tool to extract your SIM card, don't forget it at home.
  • Switzerland generally has good mobile connection coverage, for every operator.
  • You need a valid ID (passport or identity card) for either a Swiss or French SIM card
  • Check with your provider before your trip to Geneva if you plan to use your own card and pay the roaming charges.
  • Don't forget to use the free wifi spots around the city to cut down your data usage.
  • Unlock your mobile phone at King Of GSM at Rue de Berne 58.

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Population: 194 800 (2017 est)
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Airport: GVA Geneva Airport
Hotels: 143 (€29 - €2900)
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