Transform your Swiss house into your new home with our guide to setting up TV, internet, and home phone in Switzerland.
Whether you’re moving into a cozy apartment in Zurich’s historic center or relocating to the Swiss alps for some mountain air, one thing’s for certain: setting up TV, internet, and a landline phone in your new Swiss home is going to be high up on your to-do list.
Sorting out your home telecoms can seem like a daunting proposition if you’ve just arrived in Switzerland. However, it shouldn’t be. In fact, getting your new home connected to Swiss TV and the internet is a fairly straightforward process. To give you a head start, our helpful guide lays out everything you need to know about getting connected, including:
- Communications in Switzerland
- Getting connected in a new home
- Getting a landline telephone in Switzerland
- Setting up an internet connection in Switzerland
- Setting up Swiss TV
- Paying for your bills
- Making a complaint about a Swiss telecoms company
- Useful Resources
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Communications in Switzerland
Essentially, the Swiss telecoms market is liberalized, which means that new arrivals will soon find out they have an ever-increasing number of options when it comes to getting connected. The Swiss market is well-stocked with internet and TV providers vying for your custom. This means that you have plenty of choices, so be sure to shop around before signing up to ensure that you have found the best deal to meet your needs.
These days, telecom companies offer a range of products, including TV, internet, home phone, and even mobile phones. Some of the biggest home telecoms providers in Switzerland include:
If you’re also in the market for a Swiss mobile contract or SIM card, then it may work out cheaper to bundle your subscriptions together with one provider. You can compare your options easily using a comparison website such as Alao or moneyland.ch.
Getting connected in a new home
Have you relocated the whole family to a townhouse in Thun? Or maybe you’ve just made a downpayment in Davos? Wherever you’re moving to in Switzerland, it’s safe to say that you’ll soon want to get your new home connected. Generally speaking, if you’re buying a Swiss property, then you’ll need to set up your own TV and internet connections. An existing phone line may be present, but you’ll still need to set up your own subscription. While this does mean that you can choose your provider, the total time it takes to set up these connections will probably take longer. With this in mind, it’s wise to be prepared and start the process as soon as possible.
If you’re renting in Switzerland, your new place might already have these services connected and their cost may be included in your rent. However, they might not be, so be sure to clarify this with your landlord before signing the rental contract. You may be able to switch providers, although this will depend on your particular circumstances. Serviced and short-term apartments, for instance, will generally have all your telecoms needs included in the rental price. And while it may be possible to change providers, you should consider the minimum contract lengths and the duration of your stay in Switzerland before you make the switch.
Getting a landline telephone in Switzerland
While it might feel like you spend much of your life on your mobile phone, having a landline telephone connection remains important for many people. Indeed, when setting up their homes in Switzerland, some expats enjoy the security of having a landline connection. After all, these often offer better rates for calling friends and family abroad, so you may want to consider getting your home connected if you’re moving to the country.
Historically, Swisscom (previously known as PTT) has dominated the fixed-line home landline market. This is due its former guise as the state-owned provider. However, despite market liberalization in the late 1990s, Swisscom still dominates the Swiss home telecoms market as well as operating much of the country’s fixed-line network. Other providers do exist, but these typically use digital telephony connections.
Most providers of home phone services offer them as part of a package deal, alongside internet, TV, and even mobile phone contracts. These deals can work out significantly cheaper, so it pays to bundle them together.
How do I set up a landline phone in Switzerland?
If you’re moving into a Swiss house without any existing phone connections, then you will probably need to contact Swisscom to set up a brand new line. This can take a few working days and an engineer will likely come to your house for the installation. If your new home already has a phone line installed, however, then you can choose to either change to a new provider or keep the existing one. Once you have done your research and decided on your provider, you can set up your new connection. Be aware, though, that you may need to provide the previous tenant’s name to the phone company.
When starting a new subscription, you’ll likely need to provide your supplier with the following information:
- Identification (most likely a passport)
- Proof of address
- Proof of residency/work permit
- Bank account details
It will likely take a few days to activate your account and you will probably be informed of this in writing or via email. If you are moving within Switzerland, you might be able to move your phone number/internet contract to your new address. If you are setting up a new connection at home, however, be aware that the process can take a while and you will need to make a one-off payment. In total, this process can take a couple of weeks, so it’s best to get started as soon as you can.
Setting up an internet connection in Switzerland
It doesn’t matter whether you’re streaming, shopping, or simply chatting online, Switzerland has a great internet network. Swiss internet connections are usually via high-speed DSL or cable, with fiber-optic cables being an increasingly popular choice. This gives you significantly faster download speeds. Another alternative offered by some providers is cellular and hybrid connections that use 4G and 5G, if available. This can be a good option for those living in more rural parts of the country. Ideally, you should always do a speed-test and research the local options before signing a contract, as you don’t want to be paying for something you can’t use.
As the former state provider, Swisscom dominates the home internet market in Switzerland, accounting for just over half of all connections in the country. However, don’t let that stop you from shopping around and finding the right deal for you and your family. After all, there are a number of different providers and competition is fierce. Tariffs are typically priced according to download speed, cable type, and any other extras. This could be TV packages, music subscriptions, or something else.
The leading internet providers in Switzerland include:
When signing up for home internet, it is essential that you find the right package for the needs of you and your family. For example, if your kids spend a lot of time gaming, then you’ll need a higher download speed. On the other hand, should you only use the internet for social media and subscription TV services like Disney+ and Netflix, then you’ll probably be fine with a lower download speed. Of course, before signing a contract, make sure you read the small print so you know exactly what you are getting.
How do I set up an internet connection in Switzerland?
Have you chosen your provider and settled on the tariff that’s right for your needs? Then you’re ready to set up your Swiss internet connection. Luckily, this should be relatively straightforward, but the process will depend on the internet you choose and your existing connections. For example, if you’ve signed up with your home’s previous provider or a mobile internet tariff, then you may only need to plug in your router to get online. However, if you’re setting up a brand-new installation, this could take a few weeks. Therefore, it’s a good idea to contact your new provider well ahead of time and check your options to avoid being left without internet after moving in.
When signing up, you’ll need to provide proof of identity and residence (e.g., residence permit), alongside your bank details. You may also need to pay a one-off activation or set-up fee. If you’re renting, you may need to provide the name of the previous tenant to your internet provider when signing up. Should you already be living in Switzerland and simply moving house, then contact your provider as soon as you know your new contact details and moving date. They will be able to help you manage the move, taking the stress out of the process to ensure that you remain online as much as possible.
Getting a VPN
One handy tool to make browsing safe and easy is a Virtual Private Network (VPN). VPNs allow you access content from your home country while abroad and also let you browse anonymously. There are several VPNs you can use in Switzerland, including:
Setting up Swiss TV
If you like evenings spent curled up in front of the television, then you’ll be pleased to know that Swiss TV is generally of decent quality and widely available across the country. Unlike other European countries, Switzerland no longer has a digital terrestrial TV platform. Due to this, Swiss homes receive their TV through cable and satellite connections. These are typically bundled together with internet and home phone subscriptions. Competition is fierce and there is a surprisingly wide range of TV options available in Switzerland for all budgets, tastes, and viewing habits. Some popular Swiss TV providers include:
Essentially, the cost of your TV subscription will largely depend on the channel package you choose. Most providers offer a basic package with the most popular Swiss TV channels and a handful of international ones. However, to access additional channels, you will need to pay more. This includes international channels, live sport channels, and children’s programming. Some packages also include interactive TV and streaming subscriptions, like Netflix and Disney+. Be aware that to legally watch Swiss TV, you will need to pay the annual license fee to Billag. You can read our guide to Swiss TV for more information on this.
Paying for your bills
Whatever provider you end up choosing, paying for your Swiss TV, internet, and landline bills is usually done on a monthly basis. Your provider will let you know their preferred payment method. This is likely to be through a monthly collection (direct debit) or a bank transfer. You’ll probably need to have a local bank account to set up these payments. If you don’t have one yet, read our guide to opening a bank account in Switzerland for more information.
Making a complaint about a Swiss telecoms company
Every Swiss telecom company has its own complaints procedure should you feel the service you receive has not been up to scratch. You’ll be able to find details of how to lodge a complaint on their website. However, if you need to complain about the operator itself, you can contact Switzerland’s Federal Communications Commission (ComCom). For more information on Switzerland’s telecoms regulator and their complaints process, visit their website.
- Federal Communications Commission (ComCom) – a Swiss regulatory body