roaming m-budget travel rates pricing 2021
Telecom News

M-Budget Mobile: Changes to Roaming Rates Explained

June 22, 2021 - Ralf Beyeler

New roaming rates will apply to M-Budget customers from Summer 2021. Ralf Beyeler from explains the new terms and conditions in this report.

M-Budget Mobile has radically simplified its roaming schedule. It now uses just one unified country list instead of separate schedules for phone calls, SMS messaging, mobile plans and prepaid mobile.

What changes is M-Budget Mobile making to data roaming?

From July 1, 2021, M-Budget Mobile will offer different data roaming bundles for each region. The new bundles only expire after 12 months, in keeping with updated Swiss telecom regulations. Previously, M-budget Mobile bundles expired after 30 days.

M-Budget Mobile users will be able to buy these bundles for data roaming in most European countries (but excluding some, like Albania and Kosovo):

  • 500 megabytes for 9.90 francs (same as previous offer).
  • 1 gigabyte for 15.90 francs (new bundle).
  • 3 gigabytes for 42.90 francs (new bundle).

M-Budget no longer offers its 100-megabyte bundle for 3.90 francs. That is a loss for customers who only need small amounts of roaming data.

These data roaming bundles will be available for the World 1 region covering some European countries (like Albania and Kosovo), Australia, Canada, Thailand, Turkey, the United States, and other countries:

  • 500 megabytes for 15.90 francs (1 franc more expensive than the previous offer).
  • 1 gigabyte for 21.90 francs (new bundle).
  • 3 gigabytes for 54.90 francs (new bundle).

The smallest bundle previously available for this region is also disappearing. Up till now, M-Budget Mobile has offered a 100-megabyte bundle for 5.90 francs.

These bundles will be available for data roaming in the World 2 region, which includes countries like Costa Rica, Tunisia, and Vietnam:

  • 100 megabytes for 9.90 francs (previously 12.90 francs).
  • 500 megabytes for 39.90 francs (new bundle).
  • 1 gigabyte for 64.90 francs (new bundle).

These offers will be available for data roaming in countries like Angola and Madagascar (Rest of the World region):

  • 100 megabytes for 19.90 francs (previously 39.90 francs).

What changes is M-Budget Mobile making to call roaming?

From July 1, 2021, M-Budget Mobile will offer its customers Voice Travel roaming options with 60 minutes of call time. Options can be used for call roaming in any of the countries corresponding to their region. These options expire after one year.

The costs of options:

  • Europe (primarily EU countries) for 16.90 francs.
  • World 1 (Albania, Australia, Kosovo, the United States, and others) for 32.90 francs.
  • World 2 (Costa Rica, Tunisia, Vietnam, and others) for 54.90 francs.
  • Rest of the World (countries like Cuba, Malawi, and others) for 64.90 francs.

Once the call minutes have been used up, customers can either continue to call at standard roaming rates or buy another bundle.

In terms of price, M-Budget’s offers are not particularly affordable. Customers pay up to 10 percent more than what Swisscom will charge for the call roaming bundles it will offer from July 1, 2021. It is worth noting that M-Budget Mobile is a service provided by Swisscom in collaboration with Migros.

The previous Voice Travel Option from M-Budget will no longer be offered. This option cost 15 francs and include 15 minutes of call time, with a reduced charge of just 25 centimes per minute (for roaming in Europe) once that allowance had been used.

What changes is M-Budget Mobile making to SMS roaming options?

M-Budget now offers an option for sending SMS messages while roaming. Unlike data and call roaming, the new SMS bundle does not have a region. It applies worldwide.

A bundle with 100 SMS messages costs 9.90 francs and is valid for one year.

What changes is M-Budget Mobile making to its standard rates?

Standard rates apply when customers use roaming without first buying an additional option or bundle. Because standard rates are very expensive, roaming at these rates normally is not worth it.

From July, unified roaming rates will apply to all calls within a region. These rates apply to incoming calls, outgoing calls within the country that you are roaming in, and calls from other countries to Switzerland. Up until now, different rates would apply depending on the type of call, and whether you used an M-Budget plan or prepaid mobile.  

These standard rates will now apply to roaming calls:

  • Europe (primarily EU countries) costs 60 centimes per minute (previously between 27 and 85 centimes).
  • World 1 (countries like Albania, Australia, Kosovo, the United States) costs 1.80 francs per minute (previously 0.80 to 4.30 francs).
  • World 2 (Costa Rica, Tunisia, Vietnam, among others) costs 3 francs per minute (previously between 1.60 and 4.30 francs per minute).
  • Rest of the World (Cuba, Malawi, and others) costs 4.20 francs per minute (previously between 1.60 and 4.30 francs).

The rate changes make answering phone calls while roaming hugely more expensive than they were previously. That is true even if you account for the switch from the former per-minute billing to more favorable per-second billing.

But depending on how you use your phone and plan or prepaid mobile, standard rate calls may also become cheaper after the change. Prepaid customers in particular will pay somewhat less in the future.

When is it worth getting a roaming bundle?

M-Budget customers who make more than 28 minutes of roaming calls in Europe each year can save money by adding the Voice Travel option. For roaming in other regions, bundles are already cheaper than standard rates from 15 to 20 call minutes per year.

What are the advantages M-Budget’s roaming changes for customers?

The most important change is the lengthening of the expiry period from 30 days to one year. M-Budget had to make this change in order to be in compliance with updates to Swiss telecom laws which take effect on July 1, 2021. “The big benefit for customers is that they can use the same data bundle many times throughout the year. For example, an M-Budget customer could get just one bundle and use it for their summer holidays, a long weekend in the fall, the spring holidays, and also shopping trips throughout the year,” explains telecom expert Ralf Beyeler.

Thanks to the simplified regions and rate schedules, customers will also get a better overview of roaming costs.

What are the disadvantages of M-Budget’s roaming changes?

The biggest disadvantage for customers who do not use roaming often is that M-Budget will no longer offer its smallest roaming bundles. If you only use small amounts of roaming data, you will pay more going forward.

M-Budget customers who make a lot of roaming calls will in many cases also pay more after the price changes. For example, answering a two-minute call while travelling in Spain previously cost 68 centimes, but now costs 1.20 francs. That is a 76 percent price increase.

Conclusion by telecom expert Ralf Beyeler:

“The simplified pricing is easier for customers to understand, as there is just one rate per country. The downside is that depending on user habits, roaming can be much more expensive than before the change,” says Beyeler. “It is also unfortunate that M-Budget will continue to charge expensive standard call roaming rates to customers who forget to buy call roaming bundles. M-Budget quit using standard rates for data roaming a long time ago.” Customers can only use mobile data outside of Switzerland if they have a data roaming bundle, so there is no way they can be charged additional fees at standard rates.

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Expert Ralf Beyeler
Ralf Beyeler is the telecom expert at and also covers other areas of personal finance.