business mobile plans switzerland

How to Choose the Right Mobile Plans for Your Business

October 16, 2023 - Ralf Beyeler

This guide explains what to consider when choosing mobile plans for your business in Switzerland.

Many businesses offer their workers company mobile plans. Many employers offer these plans not only to management, but to their entire workforce. Here, telecom expert Ralf Beyeler answers the most important questions.  

What should my business consider when choosing a telecom partner?

The most important aspects to consider vary somewhat depending on the kind of business you run. Examples of variables which play a role include whether your company has multiple domiciles, or just one, and whether you need a company plan for one person or for numerous employees.

The following points are worth accounting for when choosing a mobile telecom partner:

  • Network coverage: If your business demands a mobile workforce, then network coverage is an important factor. Whether or not your employees travel around much, you will want good reception in your offices, at least.
  • Pricing: If your company runs on tight budgets, then pricing is a key factor in determining what kind of mobile plans to offer your employees. Companies with many employees can normally negotiate prices with telecom companies.
  • Internet connection speeds: The Internet speed you need depends on the urgency and size of data transfers in your daily business operations.
  • Customer service: If being able to contact customer services directly when issues come up, then you will want to look at the way in which customer services are organized and whether or not your company will have access to a dedicated customer care representative.
  • Reaction time when disruptions occur: If reliable communications with employees are very important to your business, you will want to use service providers which provide speedy troubleshooting. The timeframes within which you can expect issues to be solved are published in service level agreements (SLAs).
  • International calls and roaming: If your business involves international travel and communications, then a plan which includes international call and roaming allowances can make sense – particularly for employees whose job description includes communicating with foreign customers or frequent travel outside of Switzerland.
  • Standby solutions: Many companies need standby numbers which customers, civil servants, or other employees can contact both inside and outside of regular business hours. Mobile service providers need to guarantee that these standby numbers remain active at all times. One challenge is presented by changing work shifts. A simple solution is to have employees physically pass on standby phones to those on the next shift before clocking out.
  • Employee mobile plans: Some employers offer personal employee mobile plans to their workers, and in some cases the families of employees as well. If you want to offer these personal plans as an employee benefit, make sure that the telecom company bills each individual directly, rather than charging the collective bill to your company.
  • Contract terms: it is generally preferable to use plans which do not have minimum contract terms. Fixed contract terms are particularly problematic if your employee turnover is high, as having to continue paying for unused company phone plans can generate huge, unnecessary costs.

How should I go about choosing a mobile service provider?

  1. Firstly, you have to know what your specific needs are. Every company has its unique requirements. The list above can help get you started.
  2. Create a list of the features which you want from your telecom partner and your company plans. if you have many employees, then accounting for their varied telecom needs can also be beneficial.
  3. Establish clear rules for the use of company phones.
  4. Get informed about the network coverage of different service providers. Ideally, you should have good mobile reception across the areas you work in.  
  5. Get quotes from multiple telecom companies. Compare the offers against each other. Negotiating better deals is a common practice, particularly among larger employers.

Are there different kinds of plans for different kinds of businesses like sole proprietorships, startups, SMEs and large companies?

Self-employed individuals also have the option of using personal mobile plans. Because the personal telecom market is far more competitive, personal mobile subscriptions are often cheaper than business plans.

Service providers like Salt, Sunrise, and Swisscom have offers for startups and small businesses which are similar to their mobile plans for private individuals. The plans are branded differently, and in some cases, there are small differences between these business offers and personal plans.

Major telecom providers like Salt, Sunrise, and Swisscom have special solutions for large companies. While the mobile plans themselves are standardized, telecom companies price the plans on a case-by-case basis. It is common practice for bigger businesses to negotiate pricing.

Which telecom service providers offer company plans?

Only a handful of Swiss mobile service providers have offers for businesses. The majority of business offers come from the three big Swiss telecom companies, Salt, Sunrise, and Swisscom. Some smaller, independent mobile service providers like Digital Republic and Galaxus Mobile also explicitly offer their plans to business customers.

The following service providers have business mobile plans:

  • Swisscom
  • Sunrise
  • Salt
  • Digital Republic
  • Galaxus Mobile

The budget mobile service subsidiaries of the three major telecom companies do not offer plans for businesses. This applies to: Salt subsidiaries Das Abo, Lidl Connect, and GoMo; Sunrise subsidiaries Lebara and Yallo; and Swisscom subsidiaries Coop Mobile, M-budget Mobile, and Wingo.

But it is possible to offer your employees plans from mobile service providers which do not provide business solutions. In this case, your employees sign up for plans on a personal basis and simply pass on the costs to you as their employer as work-related expenses. The advantage of this approach is that personal plans are often cheaper than company plans, when purchased during special promotions.

If you are self-employed with a registered sole proprietorship, you can save money by getting a personal mobile plan from a budget provider instead of a business offer.

How are business mobile plans different from personal mobile plans?

In many cases, the differences between mobile plans for private individuals and those for businesses are very small. In many cases, only the name of the plan is different, but the regular price-tag and the services included are identical. Some company plans include unlimited calls to other phone numbers from the same company. But today, when unlimited calls within Switzerland are included in many flat fee plans, that feature is only found on a few plans with low base fees or flat fees.

Special plans are available for big companies and larger SMEs. Telecom companies normally use a modular system, offering different plans based on the demands and requirements of big customers. Pricing for large companies and bigger SMEs is negotiated with each business customer individually.  

What do Swiss business mobile plans cost?

A plan’s pricing is, predictably, heavily dependent on the services required and the telecom company which offers it. The size of the negotiated discount also plays a role.

The cheapest mobile plans for businesses start at 10 francs per month. But these low-cost offers include very limited allowances, with one telecom company including just 1 gigabyte of data and no phone calls in its budget plan.

Sunrise and Swisscom both charge 65 francs per month for business mobile plans with unlimited local data and calls. Salt charges 30 francs. Digital Republic and Galaxus charge business customers the same prices as private customers. A plan with unlimited, mid-speed local mobile Internet costs 30 francs per month with Digital Republic and 49 francs per month with Galaxus Mobile.

Note that these are the standard price tags, and do not account for promotional offers or negotiated discounts.

Are there special promotions for company phones?

Yes, telecom companies do run promotions for business phone plans. But because many mobile service providers – including Lebara, Wingo, and Yallo – do not offer business plans, there are much fewer special promotions for businesses than for personal mobile plans.

Can I negotiate company phone plans?

Companies which require a lot of mobile plans are particularly well positioned to negotiate discounts with telecom service providers. Discounts are said to be as high as 70 percent off standard prices. Small companies can also try to negotiate and get different quotes. But in practice, smaller businesses are less likely to get significant discounts.

Can I choose a specific phone number for my business?

Some telecom companies do let businesses choose their own phone numbers. The main stipulation is that the desired number is not already in use. Telecom providers charge for particularly memorable phone numbers. The more exclusive the number, the more it costs.

Do business mobile plans support 5G?

Most mobile plans for business customers support 5G. Some charge a markup to add 5G connectivity. If using the new mobile standard is important to you, then make sure that 5G coverage is included in your contract.

Can employees migrate their personal phone numbers to company plans?

It is normally possible for employees to move their personal phone numbers to company plans. That way they remain available to personal contacts on their existing number. Of course, both the employer and the employee have to agree to port a personal number. For employers, passing on company numbers from previous employees with the same position to new employees is often a more sensible move.

It is also possible for employees to take their numbers with them when they leave your employment. In practice this can be problematic, because the former employee’s number which was previously used for work remains available to customers and coworkers. Another possible problem is that telecom companies may charge high penalty fees when you terminate contracts ahead of schedule. Minimum contract terms of 24 months are common.

What should a company consider with regards to company phones?

Taking time to think things through and set clear rules for company phones is a good move. These are questions which you will want to ask yourselves as a company: Which employees should have company phones? Should employees be allowed to use work phones for personal activities as well? Which apps should employees be allowed to install on company phones?

If you decide to allow employees to use company phones on a personal basis as well, ask yourselves: Which costs will employees have to cover themselves? How will roaming charges incurred when employees travel abroad be handled?

What should you pay attention to when company phones are used on a personal basis?

As an employer, you should clearly inform your employees about what personal use of company phones entails – namely, that their personal number is also their work number. By choosing to use a company plan as their personal number as well, they lose the clear differentiation between their work and personal communications. They remain available to business contacts during their leisure time and holidays. If they switch off their work phone to escape work-related calls, they will not be available to personal contacts either.

Can employers monitor company phones?

In Switzerland, employers are allowed to anonymously monitor the work-related digital activities of employees for security reasons and in order to prevent misuse. If there are concrete suspicions of misconduct, then checking or monitoring company phones can be acceptable.

An important requirement for any kind of surveillance is that employers clearly inform the employees which will be affected by these measures before any monitoring takes place. The secret surveillance of employees is forbidden.

Additionally, any kind of surveillance must be justifiable and you must have clear reasons for why monitoring employee activity is necessary. It is illegal to monitor individual employees without a clearly defined and legitimate reason.

What are the main pitfalls to watch out for?

Watch out for possible penalty fees for early termination of contracts. Many contracts have minimum contract terms of 24 months. Sticking to contracts which do not have minimum terms is preferable. Unfortunately, while personal plans without minimum terms are common, business offers without long contract terms are limited.

Mobile roaming can be a major pitfall. This is especially true if the company covers these costs, as employees are more likely to use their phones while traveling without worrying about the costs. Take time to consider whether or not to disable roaming for employees – or at least for employees whose job descriptions do not include international travel.

Personal use of company phones can become a problem when people leave your employment, especially when your relationship with the employee is strained. For that reason, it is important to set clear rules about how company phones can and cannot be used.

More on this topic:
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Expert Ralf Beyeler
Ralf Beyeler is the telecom expert at and also covers other areas of personal finance.
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