Do you travel regularly in Europe with your Swiss mobile plan? Whether it’s for work or to visit friends and family, how can you stay connected with your Swiss mobile plan in Europe without breaking the bank?
When you travel in Europe with your Swiss phone plan, in order to be able to communicate, you will need to activate the Roaming data. This allows you to stay connected to your favourite apps outside Switzerland on the local network. However, without the right reflexes and an adapted mobile subscription, the bill can quickly climb and you may find yourself paying a hefty amount when you return from your stay abroad.
Before your visit to Europe, it is therefore essential to understand how to use your Swiss mobile plan in Europe to stay in touch with your loved ones without risking a high bill at the end of the month.
To help you, we explain the pitfalls to avoid and our 8 tips to call and surf in Europe at the best price with your Swiss mobile plan during your trips in Europe.
What is Roaming ?
Roaming is when a person uses their mobile phone package on occasional trips outside the country where they live. Roaming consists in calling, receiving calls, sending SMS, using apps or surfing the Internet outside Switzerland. More specifically, your phone will automatically connect to the local network of an operator with which your Swiss provider has an agreement. This way you can use your operator’s mobile networks to stay connected wherever you are in Europe.
For many years, many travellers have experienced the misfortune of being charged astronomical bills on their return after using their phone abroad. The proposed rates, which were sometimes abusive, are now regulated with the implementation of the end of roaming charges in the European Union. Since June 15, 2017, the European Union has indeed obliged operators to allow their customers the same use of their package regardless of the country of the European Union, without any additional charges. This measure thus makes it possible to benefit from the same services included in one’s package in Germany, as in Sweden or any other country of the European Union. However Switzerland is not part of the European Union!
Unfortunately, customers of Swiss operators do not benefit from this directive and are still charged higher rates than if they stayed in Switzerland. With a Swiss mobile package, additional roaming charges are still applied within Europe. Although some Swiss mobile operators have reduced their prices for roaming in Europe for their Swiss mobile subscriptions, big price differences still remain. So be careful when choosing your mobile plan and using roaming in Europe.
The 8 golden rules to use my Swiss mobile plan in Europe at the best price
When you are roaming, your internet connection and calls will generally be more limited than in Switzerland. In order not to increase your mobile bill excessively, here are some tips to avoid exploding your mobile bill in Europe.
Tip 1: Activate your roaming data only if your mobile plan includes roaming or if you have an active roaming option
If you are going to Europe, the first thing to do is to make sure that the roaming data option is activated on your cell phone. This will be essential if you want to continue to have an internet connection, as it will allow your smartphone to switch to a non-Swiss mobile network.
When you cross a border, you will receive a message from your operator informing you that you are roaming and reminding you of the rates it offers in the country you are entering. Keep it carefully, it will give you a good indication to understand how much your out of bundle consumption will cost you during your stay.
If you use a prepaid card, pay attention to the credit used for your roaming calls
A prepaid package usually includes a certain amount of data in Europe. In this case, you can directly activate the roaming data. If your pack does not include roaming data for Europe, you may be billed for your usage using your remaining credit. This solution can quickly become expensive and «drain your prepaid credit». That’s why we advise you to buy a roaming data pack or, if necessary, to limit your consumption by using Wi-Fi whenever possible.
If you have a subscription phone: beware of subscriptions that do not include roaming data in Europe!
Before activating roaming data, check that your plan includes data in Europe or in the zone you are travelling in. If so, have a look at the options offered by your Swiss mobile operator. You can buy an additional package (roaming option) to allow you to surf while abroad. A tip: don’t activate data roaming without buying a pack or an option beforehand, to avoid a hefty bill when you return to Switzerland from your vacation.
Tip 2: Use WhatsApp instead of a regular call
Whenever possible, we recommend that you use WhatsApp or your favourite messaging service for calls from Europe. Indeed, if you have a WiFi connection it will be free to use. If you don’t have a WiFi connection, you can always use WhatsApp via the 3G/4G cell phone network using your roaming data pack included in your Swiss mobile subscription. This will usually be much more affordable than the roaming rates applied to calls, which are rarely included in Swiss mobile subscriptions.
For example, at MUCHO Mobile, for one hour of conversation in Europe via phone, you can buy a Talkminiroam pack which costs you CHF9.90. Whereas with WhatsApp this is totally free with any of the MUCHO packs that include roaming data. Indeed, WhatsApp consumes on average 500Kb/minutes with 4G, so you will need 24MB for 60 minutes of use. All MUCHO mobile plans offer a certain volume of data in roaming, so this call will be included in your pack, and will not incur any additional costs.
Tip #3: Use packages or options rather than per-minute or per-gigabyte data usage.
To use your cell phone in Europe, you have two options. Without a roaming option, you risk usings your remaining credit if you use a prepaid mobile or getting a bigger bill when you come back if you have a mobile subscription. The solution? Buy roaming packs with a data volume according to your needs. This last solution is always the most advantageous. Indeed, let’s suppose that you go to visit your family in Spain. If you want to make a call from Spain to Switzerland the rate will be 0.39CHF/min or CHF 23.40 for 60 minutes of communication. Whereas if you buy a Talkminiroam pack including 60 minutes of consumption this same call will cost you CHF9.90! That’s MUCH savings.
Concerning your internet connection, our MUCHO packs contain a certain amount of roaming data included in your package. For example, DUOMINI offers 500MB of roaming and DUOMAXI 2GB of roaming data. You can also add an additional roaming pack for Europe valid for 12 months during your trip:
Tip 4: Deactivate your voice mailbox (combox)
When you travel abroad, the voice messages left on your mailbox are diverted from Switzerland to abroad and then again from abroad to Switzerland. The calls transferred to this mailbox cost twice as much. This billing will even triple at the time of listening to the message. If your voicemail is active, any incoming call that is answered by your voicemail will cost you, even if your smartphone is switched off during your stay! So, before you leave, think about deactivating the Combox function on your cell phone to avoid unpleasant surprises.
Tip 5: Set a spending limit for roaming
Some mobile operators who want to offer a good roaming experience offer their customers the possibility to define a daily spending limit in CHF to be applied to roaming. This limit of expenditure in roaming is defined by the customer himself, who defines a limit not to exceed either at the time of the conclusion of his mobile subscription, or at any time via the customer space.
MUCHO MOBILE offers this possibility to its customers via its customer space, called myMUCHO.
Tip 6: Use the offline function of your streaming applications
During your vacations, you don’t want to give up your favourite music or series. To avoid costly roaming, download your Spotify playlist in advance or download episodes of your favourite series on Netflix only when your smartphone is on WiFi. You can then enjoy them whenever you want at no extra cost.
Tip 7: Be careful with the automatic default connection
If you live in Switzerland near a border, remember to deactivate mobile data roaming when you return to Switzerland. Indeed, your cell phone is configured by default to use the best mobile network among those available. In a border area, instead of picking up the Swiss network, your phone is likely to connect to the neighbouring German or French mobile network, for example, without your knowledge, thus using the roaming data available to you.
To make sure that your Swiss phone plan remains on the local network when you return, remember to deactivate this option.
Tip 8 : Choose your mobile operator for Switzerland and Europe
Some operators offer in Switzerland mobile packages including data roaming for Europe. The contracts are with or without 12 or 24 months commitment, and can vary from CHF 20 to more than CHF 100 per month! These mobile subscriptions allow you to use your mobile package in Switzerland as well as in Europe, without additional costs. Today, it is possible to communicate and surf in Europe with your Swiss mobile package without breaking the bank. However, faced with the considerable number of operators and possibilities, it becomes complicated to find your way around and to sort them out.
Which criteria to choose the right Swiss mobile package for travel in Europe?
The first question to ask yourself when selecting your mobile plan is to define your consumption needs. Do you often go back to Europe? Do you go there every week because you live in a border area? Do you go to Europe only for your vacations? How many minutes of calls and internet volume do you need during your travels? As a reminder, consulting 250 emails will generally consume 100MB, and watching a 60-minute video or movie will spend 1GB. Whether you use little or a lot of internet data, a pack including data for roaming in Europe will give you more peace of mind. You will then have the possibility to add data packs on the spot as you need them. If you don’t spend it all on your trip, don’t worry. Roaming packs are now valid for 12 months, so they will still be usable the next time you visit. If you only travel occasionally in Europe and spend little on internet data, a Swiss mobile pack without Europe will be more suitable. In the same way, you will have the possibility to buy Roaming Packs for Europe depending on your usage.
Your consumption is not the only criterion for choosing your Swiss mobile operator. Others include:
- The mobile network coverage in Switzerland
- Contracts with or without minimum contract duration
- Roaming options available
- And many more …
You are European and you are moving soon to Switzerland? To know more, discover here all our tips for selecting the best mobile offer for Switzerland and Europe.
The mobile packages to call and surf in Europe
You are beginning to see more clearly through the jungle of Swiss phone packages for Europe? To enable you to compare the various prepaid offers available in Switzerland, you can discover our comparison here.
At MUCHO, we operate on the N°1 Swiss mobile network. Thanks to our agreements with more than 160 countries in the world and Europe, we offer the most affordable rates to communicate in Switzerland and in Europe.
To get your SIM card, nothing could be easier. Just follow these 3 steps. MUCH easier!
Communicating in Switzerland and in Europe without breaking the bank is therefore possible. To do this, choose the MUCHO package that corresponds to your needs with more or less roaming included for Europe, on the spot prefer to buy a package rather than use by the minute, and finally keep in mind that an intelligent use of roaming will ensure you make precious savings.
What do the experts of MUCHO think ?
Concerning the Roaming offers » the prepaid provider MUCHO Mobile is the best price » – MONEYLAND
«A clear winner emerges: the Geneva-based prepaid provider MUCHO Mobile is the cheapest» – MONEYLAND