children mobile plans prepaid guide

Mobile Plans and Prepaid Mobile for Children

November 10, 2022 - Ralf Beyeler

Find tips for choosing the right mobile plan or prepaid service for your child in this guide by independent online comparison service

Follow these useful tips to choose the right mobile plan or prepaid offer for your child.

1. Use prepaid instead of a plan

This is the simplest and most important tip. Using prepaid mobile services usually works out cheaper than using mobile plans. This applies to adults and to children as well.

Some mobile service providers offer prepaid bundles which include data and call allowances. Smaller bundles typically include several hundred megabytes of mobile data and several minutes of call time. Larger bundles may include many gigabytes of mobile data and unlimited phone calls within Swiss telecom networks.

But in addition to being cheaper, prepaid mobile has an added educational value for children. Children can learn how to budget their monthly data and call allowances so that they last throughout the month – a lesson which will serve them well in managing their finances. You or your child have to purchase prepaid services before you can use them, which makes it easier to keep track of costs because you will never pay more than you load.

2. Compare prepaid bundles for children

A number of mobile service providers offer prepaid bundles which include small data and call allowances. You can use these to teach your child how to divide up data and call use over the full month.

These prepaid offers are well suited for children:

  • Lidl Connect Smart Prepaid with a data bundle (500 megabytes for 4.90 francs)
  • Mucho Mobile with DuoMicro (180 minutes and 1 gigabytes for 9.90 francs)
  • Coop Mobile Prepaid with the Surf bundle (750 megabytes for 9.90 francs)
  • Yallo All in 10 (60 minutes and 1 gigabytes for 10 francs)

Swisscom’s inOne mobile prepaid kids is a prepaid mobile service for children up to 18 years old. The prepaid bundle costs 9.90 francs per month and include 500 megabytes of mobile data. It also includes unlimited phone calls to 5 Swisscom number of your choice.

The interactive prepaid mobile and mobile plan comparison makes it easy to find the best solution for your child’s mobile needs.

3. Consider age requirements

Swisscom offers prepaid services for children aged 7 or older and mobile plans for children aged 11 and older. Sunrise offers both prepaid mobile and plans for children aged 7 or older. Salt does not have minimum age requirements.

In every case, you will have to sign for your child’s mobile service contracts until they turn 18 years old.

4. Know the pros and cons of flat-fee mobile plans

A surprisingly large number of parents get their children mobile plans which include unlimited call and data allowances for a flat monthly fee. The benefit of this approach is that the child can use their smartphone without any limitations on calls or data. As long as your child only uses their phone in Switzerland and only calls Swiss numbers, you generally will not be charged more than the standard flat fee.

The disadvantage is that flat-fee plans are not normally the cheapest option. Another disadvantage is that children miss out on the opportunity to learn how to budget.

Mobile plans are also risky in that your child could rake up high phone bills if they were to make international phone calls, use their phone while traveling outside of Switzerland or use carrier billing to pay for purchases.

5. Do not get lured by offers marketed for children

Swisscom, Sunrise and Salt all market special prepaid offers and mobile plans for children. But in many cases, these special child offers are expensive. There are “regular” offers which do not target families that are cheaper. Use the prepaid service and mobile plan comparison to find the best deals.

6. Beware of data-related cost pitfalls

When looking at mobile plans for your children, always carefully review the terms and conditions governing mobile data.

This is especially important if a mobile offer which only includes a limited data allowance. Many mobile service providers charge very high prices for data in excess of the allowance included in the plan.

To avoid the risk of high costs, stick with customer-friendly mobile service providers which do not continue to provide and charge for data once the included allowance is exhausted.

Many prepaid services and mobile plans throttle the Internet connection once the included data allowance has been used. That means the data connection becomes much slower for the remainder of that billing period. When the data connection is throttled, your child can still send and receive messages via messaging apps but streaming video and many other data-intensive functions are virtually unusable. On the upside, you do not pay any extra fees.

7. Pay attention to data settings

If your child’s prepaid bundle or mobile plan does not include unlimited data, make sure to configure their smartphone so that data-intensive functions like system or app updates are not performed using mobile data.

You can also disable unnecessary functions which consume mobile data. Deactivating push notifications also reduces data consumption.

8. Note that streaming music and video is data-intensive

Unless you get a plan with unlimited data for a flat fee, you should make sure your child avoids data-intensive activities like streaming music and video. Streaming will quickly exhaust a limited data allowance.

Because using audio streaming, Internet radio and video streaming requires so much data to be transferred, it is best that your child only streams when their phone is connected to a WLAN. Teach your child how to determine when the phone is connected to a WLAN by using the system icons.

Tip: Your children can learn to download videos using a home WLAN connection. They can then watch these videos while mobile without consuming mobile data.

9. Take advantage of free WLAN connections

There are numerous complimentary WLAN connections which your child can use while out and about. Many parks, train stations and cafés offer public WLAN connections. If you do not get your child an unlimited flat-fee plan, consider teaching them where to connect to WLAN for free. Older children in particular will quickly learn to find these hotspots for themselves.

10. Deactivate mobile data while traveling abroad

Pay attention to data connections when your child travels outside of Switzerland. This is especially true if your child has a mobile plan because spending on data roaming is not limited and can easily add up to hundreds of francs. If your child uses prepaid mobile, they could very quickly lose all of their prepaid credits if mobile roaming is not disabled.

Tip: Deactivate data roaming and mobile data in the settings of your child’s phone. You can also have your mobile service provider completely disable data roaming.

Receiving phone calls while roaming outside of Switzerland also costs money. If you prefer not to risk being hit with roaming costs, activate flight mode on your child’s phone. This will disable the mobile connection while still allowing your child to use WLAN connections.

11. Watch out for supplemental paid services

Extra services which are charged to your mobile service provider and passed on to you can easily add huge costs to your phone bill or quickly deplete your prepaid credit. Extra services which are charged to you through your phone bill include calls to 090x numbers and SMS messages to short code SMS services. Many merchants do not transparently state that you will be charged fees when you send in an SMS or use a web service.

Direct carrier billing is another financial risk. Some merchants let you charge purchases to your mobile service provider using your phone number, and these in turn are charged to your phone bill or prepaid credits. The SMS payment option offered by Selecta vending machines is an example of carrier billing. The Swisscom carrier billing service Easypay which lets you pay for online purchases with your phone number is another. Swisscom lets you disable Easypay, and this is something to consider if your child uses a Swisscom plan.

Tip: Ask your mobile service provider about options for disabling extra paid services for your child’s mobile plan or prepaid service.

12. Disable in-app purchases

When it comes to mobile plans for children, in-app purchases are a disaster waiting to happen. In-app purchases are purchases which are made directly within games and other apps and are charged via carrier billing, credit card, prepaid card or mobile wallets.

Many app-based games include in-app purchases as part of the gaming experience, offering your child virtual add-ons in exchange for real money. It is also common for free apps to offer an advertisement-free paid version within the app.

The gamified nature of in-app payments can make it difficult for children to understand that they are spending real money. Some apps deliberately disguise in-app purchases and purchase confirmation button in such a way that making in-app purchases is almost inevitable unless extreme caution is exercised.

Tip: Block all in-app purchases in your child’s phone settings. Consider not linking payment card information to your child’s phone at all and have the mobile service provider disable carrier billing.

13. Set clear rules

Before you get your child a phone at all, it is important that you discuss smartphone use with your child. Ideally, you should set clear rules for correct phone use and agree on these with your child before they get their own phone. You can find more tips in the smartphone guide for parents and children.

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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