Suggested prepaid SIM cards & Wifi hotspots for Switzerland

Prepaid SIM cards & Wifi hotspots for Switzerland

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Must knows about Swiss SIM cards and alternatives

  • A prepaid SIM card for Switzerland is easy to buy, install and use;
  • Your phone needs to be SIM-lock free;
  • There is an even better option: rent a Wifi hotspot for high speed internet, without a data limit;
  • Internet coverage is pretty good in Switzerland, but don't count on it in remote mountainous areas.

There are various ways to stay online while you`re in Switzerland. A SIM card for your phone is one option. Another is to rent a personal high speed Wifi hotspot.

Option 1: mobile Wifi hotspot (the very best option)

A mobile Wifi hotspot for Switzerland, offered by Travelers Wifi: we tested this device and were impressed by the ease of use and speed. This hotspot was much faster than the Wifi in our hotel! We enjoyed having high speed internet available everywhere we went: in the train, while hiking, and while relaxing out on the terrace.

Where to buy

www.travelerswifi.com: Details and prices

Looking for a similar device for other countries? Please see www.tepwireless.com.

Advantages

  • It's fast. The hotspot uses the fast 4G network. When we tested it, we measured a 25-40 Mbps download speed and 17 Mbps upload speed. That's really fast. Fast enough for streaming video, Skyping with your family and anything else you need to do online. It can even be faster than that, depending on the location;
  • No data limit! There is absolutely no data limit. You pay a fixed amount when you order the device, and you can be online all day long. Unlike many other providers offering unlimited data, there will not be a speed reduction after you've used a certain amount of data;
  • You only need one hotspot for the whole family. You can connect up to 10 devices like phones, tablets and laptops;
  • Easy charging. The hotspot continues to work when you connect it to the charger at the end of the day. So you will keep your internet connection. Charging only takes an hour;
  • It's convenient. With your own hotspot, you do not need to replace the SIM card in your phone, so your phone number will continue to work. Also, this hotspot is an excellent solution for locked devices which cannot use any other SIM card. Even devices that don't work in Europe can get online as long as they can connect to a Wifi network. The hotspot is a light weight small device that easily fits in any pocket;
  • Excellent coverage through the Swiss 4G network;
  • No additional costs, all is paid in advance.

Disadvantages

  • This is not the cheapest option to get online. The price is CHF 13.30 per day for a minimum of 3 days, and prices drop for longer rental periods: down to CHF 5.24 per day for 50 days. On the other hand: you will get very fast and unlimited connectivity, and you can connect multiple devices. So it's not expensive at all for demanding users and families;
  • The hotspot only works in Switzerland, not in other countries;
  • The battery lasts 5 to 6 hours. The hotspot will turn off automatically after not using it for a while, but we recommend to manually turn it off if you don't need your devices to be connected while traveling. It's just one push on the button to turn it off or on. Connect it to the charger when you're in your accommodation. Make sure it's fully charged when you leave for your day trips. We experienced no issues following this procedure.

How to use the Wifi hotspot

This is how it works:

  1. Order the Travelers Wifi device for the number of days you will be in Switzerland;

  2. Choose how to receive the device: pick up at Zurich airport or a Swiss post office, or delivery to a Swiss hotel, holiday home or any other address in Switzerland;

  3. Open the package and press the button on the hotspot. It is already charged so you can use it immediately;

  4. The package also includes the hotspot password. Use it to securely connect all your devices (phone, tablet, etc.) to the Wifi network of the hotspot. You're online now!

  5. Use it wherever you go, and connect it to the included charger when you're back in your accommodation;

  6. On the last day of your stay, simply return the device where you collected it, or drop it in any of the Swiss Post mailboxes which can found in any village.

Option 2: prepaid SIM card for data (recommended for regular usage)

The "Switzerland prepaid data SIM card", offered by Simly: we have used this card ourselves and were very happy with the coverage and data speed in Switzerland.

Where to buy

simlystore.com/switzerland-prepaid-data-sim-card.html: Details and prices
simlystore.com/en/refill-balance.html: recharge your Swiss SIM card

Advantages

  • It's cheap. 1 Gb of data for € 35.90 (€ 0.035/Mb). For € 49.90, you will get 3 Gb. That's only € 0.012/Mb. 1 Gb is plenty for the average holiday and regular usage, assuming you can access Wifi in your hotel or apartment. We used less than 30% of it in two weeks;
  • Excellent coverage through the network of the national carrier Sunrise. 3G is supported;
  • Can be used in smart phones and tablets (like the iPad);
  • Also works in other countries: Austria, France, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Is that not enough? Then buy the Europe SIM card: www.simlystore.com/ en/buy-prepaid-sim-card/europe-prepaid-data-sim-card-10-gb.html. It works in Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom;
  • You only need one SIM card for multiple devices: you can use your phone as a Wifi hotspot, so your other devices (tablet, laptop) can get online through your phone. Note that the speed may be reduced a bit if sharing the connection;
  • No additional costs, all is paid in advance. There's no shipping fee either;
  • If you have used all your data you can recharge the SIM card.

Disadvantages

  • The card does not support phone calls. It only includes data. But there are ways to call anyway:
    • you can make free calls through Skype and WhatsApp;
    • if you have a dual SIM phone you can still receive or make occasional calls through your normal SIM;
  • Your device needs to be SIM-lock free;
  • Your device needs to work in Europe (quad-band and penta-band phones work in Europe and nearly everywhere else in the world);
  • Tethering (connecting your phone to a laptop to use it as a modem) is not supported, but also not needed because you can use your phone as a Wifi hotspot.

How to install the Simly SIM card

Please read the included manual and follow the recommended steps. For your convenience we'll list the procedure below:

  1. Disable mobile data on your phone while traveling to Switzerland if you don't have a (good) data plan from your current provider;

  2. Enable mobile data on your phone once you are in Switzerland. Turn off your phone, remove your SIM card, insert the Simly SIM card, and turn on your phone;

  3. Enable roaming data on your phone;

  4. You should now be online. If you're connected to Wifi you can temporarily disable that to verify you can access the internet;

  5. If you want to make calls:

    • Install Skype. Accept the phone number it displays. This is the number included on the card;

    • Or: install WhatsApp to make WhatsApp calls.

Option 3: prepaid SIM card for (unlimited) data and calls

The "Europe & More SIM card", offered by OneSimCard: a card to access the internet and make calls in Switzerland and 39 other countries.

Where to buy

www.onesimcard.com/ international-sim-card/onesimcard-europe-and-more/: details & prices
www.onesimcard.com/rates-and-coverage/: data and calling rates
www.onesimcard.com/faq/: recharge SIM card
www.onesimcard.com/faq/: data packages (250 Mb to unlimited)

Advantages

  • Free incoming calls. Outgoing calls cost $ 0.49/minute, or $ 0.25 to someone with a OneSimCard SIM card. The price for data is $ 0.25/Mb, or less with a data package;
  • Optional unlimited data for $125/month;
  • Excellent coverage: roaming to any Swiss network. 4G is supported;
  • Works in the rest of Europe too;
  • You only need one SIM card for multiple devices: you can use your phone as a Wifi hotspot and router, so your other devices (tablet, laptop) can get online through your phone;
  • No additional costs, all is paid in advance;
  • Free shipping to the US and Canada (minimum order value of $ 50);
  • If you have used all your airtime you can recharge the SIM card;
  • This is not a callback service. It's direct calling, so no delays;
  • The card includes a European phone number, and one for the US or Canada.

Disadvantages

  • Your device needs to be SIM-lock free;
  • Your device needs to work in Europe (quad-band and penta-band phones work in Europe and nearly everywhere else in the world).

Option 4: option 3 + phone

Don't have a suitable phone? OneSimCard offers phones to use in Switzerland and the rest of Europe. A phone with SIM card can be as cheap as $ 59.95.

Where to buy

www.onesimcard.com/ international-cell-phones/: phones & prices
www.onesimcard.com/rates-and-coverage/: data and calling rates
www.onesimcard.com/faq/: recharge SIM card
www.onesimcard.com/faq/: data packages (250 Mb to unlimited)
www.onesimcard.com/international-phone-rental/: rent a phone

Advantages

  • You'll get a free "Europe & More SIM card" (option 2) if you add $10 of "airtime" (SIM card balance);
  • It's not expensive. The cheapest phone costs $ 49.95, so you'll be ready to call for $ 59.95;
  • Free travel plug adapter included;
  • All advantages of option 2.

Disadvantages

  • If you prefer a more fancy smart phone, it's expensive to buy one just for one vacation. In that case you can consider to rent a phone.

Insiders tips about mobile internet in Switzerland

  • Once you have sufficient mobile data, there are plenty of Swiss apps for public transport schedules, the weather and maps to make your stay more comfortable;
  • In general, Wifi in hotels isn't bad at all, but we'd recommend not to rely on those networks alone if internet connectivity is important to you;
  • Shops at the airports of Geneva and Zurich sell SIM cards as well. However, buying a SIM card or hotspot online is much easier. You'll be able to use it immediately without loosing time, and you won't be depending on opening hours;
  • You'll also need a SIM card or mobile hotspot to use internet in the trains. There is no Wifi.

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