Prepaid SIM cards & Wifi hotspots for Switzerland

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We had rented the Travelers Wifi based on this website and found it worked everywhere.

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 wherever you go. Fall promotion: get a 10% discount with coupon code THISSWISSAUTOMN19MSA: www.travelerswifi.com;
  • Internet coverage is very good in 99% of Switzerland, but there may be no signal in some remote uninhabited areas;
  • Switzerland is not a member of the EU, so don't assume low call and data rates even if you live in the EU. Double check with your provider.
TravelersWifi hotspot

The convenient TravelersWifi hotspot offers fast internet wherever you go.

Option 1: premium mobile Wifi hotspot (the 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 trains, while hiking, and while relaxing out on the terrace.

Where to buy

www.travelerswifi.com: details and prices

Fall promotion: get a 10% discount with coupon code THISSWISSAUTOMN19MSA. Order until 20 November 2019. Enter the code under "Optionals & coupon" while ordering through www.travelerswifi.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: it's enough for streaming video, Skyping, uploading your photos to the cloud, and anything else you need to do online. It can even be faster than the speed we measured, 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 included 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 and contacts stored on your SIM card will remain available. Also, this hotspot is an excellent solution for locked devices which cannot use any other SIM card. Even phones 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;
  • Knowledgeable helpdesk via phone and email. We didn't need it as it worked perfectly.

Disadvantages

  • This is not the cheapest option. The price is CHF 17.45 per day for a minimum of 2 days. Prices drop for longer rental periods, e.g. down to CHF 6.54 per day for 30 days. We think it's worth it as you will get very fast and unlimited connectivity, and you can connect multiple devices. This hotspot is affordable for demanding users, groups and families;
  • The hotspot only works in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. There is a slightly more expensive version that covers most countries world wide including Switzerland. This version also offers unlimited data, but there will be a speed reduction if you use more than 2 Gb of data per day outside of Switzerland and Liechtenstein;
  • The battery lasts 10 to 12 hours. We recommend to 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. If you expect to use it continuously and can't recharge daily, it's recommended to order along an extra battery.

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: delivery to your home address, a Swiss hotel, holiday home or any other address in Switzerland. Or reserve one to pick it up from the airport, several train stations, post offices, tourist offices;

  3. Once you have your devide, 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! The SIM card in your phone can stay in place and will work as normal;

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

  6. On the last day of your stay, you can put the device in the return envelope and return it where you collected it, at a post office, or drop it in any of the Swiss Post mailboxes which can be found in any village. Instructions are in the package.

Option 2: budget prepaid SIM card for data/calls/text (recommended for regular usage)

We recommend the Europe & UK SIM card offered by SimCorner. It offers plenty of internet data, calls and text messages not only in Switzerland, but also the rest of Europe. It can be used for 30 days.

Where to buy

simcorner.com/europe-sim-card.html: details of the 12 Gb Europe & UK SIM card
simcorner.com/shop/europe.html: more SIM cards for Europe (higher speed, suitable for tablets, etc.)
simcorner.com/pricebeat: best price guarantee

Advantages

  • It's affordable: 12 Gb of data for € 25/$ 29. Even 1 Gb is plenty for the average holiday and regular usage, assuming you can access Wifi in your hotel or apartment. We've used less than 1 Gb in two weeks. 12 Gb is enough to share among multiple people, or to watch videos (unless you want to do so all day long);
  • Excellent coverage because it works with many network carriers, such as T-Mobile, AIS, Vodafone, Three, etc.;
  • Good speed: 3g or 3.5g (HSPA+) in most countries, which isn't as fast as 4g, but very acceptable for normal usage. 4g is available in the UK, Sweden, Denmark, Austria and Ireland. During our test with this card, we measured a download speed between 2.2 and 11 Mbps and an upload speed between 1.4 and 5.6 Mbps;
  • You only need one SIM card for multiple devices: you can use your phone as a Wifi hotspot (test this before departure), so other devices of you or your family (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;
  • Works in Austria, Azores, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Canary Islands, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, French Guyana, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guadeloupe, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, Isle of Man, Israel, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malta, Martinique, Mayotte, Netherlands, Norway, Northern Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Reunion Islands, Republic of Ireland, Romania, San Marino, Saint Martin (French), Saint Barthelemy, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and Vatican City (Italy);
  • Calls and text included: 3000 minutes (50 hours) of calls and 3000 SMS messages within and to all the mentioned countries. Exceptions: while in the UK, one can only call and send messages to UK phone numbers. While in Israel, only data will work. Calling and texting to other countries can be done through apps like WhatsApp and Skype;
  • Free incoming calls;
  • Always fits in your phone as it comes in standard, micro and nano format;
  • Affordable shipping: € 7.00 to most countries and free to Australia. Orders will be shipped the next business day and arrive within 7 to 12 business days (quicker to Australia).

Disadvantages

  • The SIM card can only be used in phones, not in other devices. Other devices can use the hotspot of your phone though;
  • Your phone needs to be SIM-lock free;
  • Your phone needs to work in Europe (quad-band and penta-band phones work in Europe and nearly everywhere else in the world);
  • You can't recharge the SIM card when the 30 days have expired or data is all used up. If you need more, you will need to buy another SIM card.

How to install the SimCorner SIM card

Please read the instructions. 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 data plan from your home provider;

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

  3. Enable roaming data on your phone;

  4. You will now receive a text message letting you know that the configuration of your card has been started. The configuration normally takes a minute or two, but can take up to 30 minutes. Another messages will instruct you to turn your phone off and on to complete the setup;

  5. You should now be online. If you're connected to Wifi you can temporarily disable that to verify that you can still access the internet without Wifi;

  6. Your phone number is printed on the plastic card that contained the SIM card. Replace the first zero by "+44" as it's a UK number. This is the number people can call to reach your phone.

Option 3: search for alternatives

Do the above mentioned products not match your needs? Please find alternatives to explore here.

Wifi hotspots

Data SIM cards

Data and calls SIM cards

Option 4: use your own SIM card

If you live in the EU, calls and internet usage on your cell phone cost the same whether you're in your own country or elsewhere in the EU. So you may not need to buy anything if rates, data speed and data amounts are just fine for your holidays as well. Do note that Switzerland is not a member state of the EU. Many providers do count Switzerland as a EU country. Some don't, so you'll pay more.

Try to estimate how much you will call and how much data you will need during your stay. Check the rates of your provider for calls and data in Switzerland. It can still be cheaper to buy a SIM card or Wifi hotspot. For fast internet, and especially if you travel with multiple people, renting a mobile Swiss Wifi hotspot is an excellent option.

Insider tips about mobile internet in Switzerland

  • 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;
  • There are plenty of Swiss apps for public transport schedules, the weather and maps to make your stay more comfortable.

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