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Mobile Plans for Children: Back to School Price Comparison

August 4, 2020 - Ralf Beyeler

With the new school year fast approaching, telecom expert Ralf Beyeler from independent online comparison service analyzed the pricing of Swiss mobile plans for children. The results show enormous differences in pricing between service providers. The rates of offers specifically marketed for children are often two to three times higher than those of regular plans.

August 10 marks the back-to-school date in 11 of Switzerland’s cantons, with school commencing on August 17 in another 12 cantons. To mark the back to school season, independent online comparison service studied the pricing of mobile plans for children.

For the cost comparison, used three different profiles based on different kinds of young mobile phone users. The study included both prepaid mobile services and mobile plans, and accounted for plans marketed as child mobile plans and regular plans.

The verdict from telecom expert Ralf Beyeler of “The differences in mobile rates for children are huge. Parents often pay hundreds of francs more than necessary.” An interesting point is that offers which are marketed as children’s offers are often two to three times more expensive than offers which do not target any specific age group.

Emergencies-only user profile: Prepaid is cheaper than mobile plans

The first comparison is based on a fictional mobile user named Anna. Anna carries a mobile phone so that her parents can reach her anytime in the event of an emergency. She only needs a simple phone capable of making and receiving calls, and does not use mobile Internet. Every month, Anna makes 8 phone calls with an average length of 2 minutes each. She also sends 15 SMS messages.

Results: Anna’s parents would pay around 5 francs per month with one of several different mobile service providers. The most affordable option is Aldi Suisse, at a total cost of 52.40 francs for the first year. Coop Mobile is just slightly more expensive at 52.80 francs for the first year. Lidl Connect takes third place.

Salt (68.40 francs per year), Swisscom (82.70 francs) and Sunrise (93.50 francs) are significantly more expensive. There are also offers which are specifically marketed for children. These are more than two or three times as expensive for this profile (Sunrise: 116.90 francs. Swisscom: 174.50 francs).

“Using a prepaid mobile solution for children who are only just beginning to use mobile phones is a sensible choice,” explains Ralf Beyeler. “The main advantage of prepaid mobile is that children learn how to manage their phone budgets.” Another advantage to using prepaid is that your child cannot generate mobile costs in excess of the prepaid credits available.

Parents who prefer to start their children off with simple “dumb” phones should make sure that the phone supports new mobile service standards in addition to the GSM standard. Many mobile network operators have begun to shut down their GSM networks.

WLAN surfer user profile: Cost differences as high as 250 francs per year

The second comparison is based on a fictional child names Lars. He has a smartphone and uses online applications, primarily via WLAN connections in his home and school. In addition to WLAN consumption, he also uses 2 gigabytes of mobile data. He rarely makes phone calls.

Results: The most affordable option for this profile is Mucho Mobile, with a total cost of 147.20 francs for the first year. Aldi Suisse comes next, at 185.60 francs. UPC also performed well, thanks to a special promotion, with a total cost of 228 francs for the first year.

All three of the major telecom service providers are expensive for this profile, with costs in excess of 250 francs for the first year. The most affordable offer from Sunrise costs 296.90 francs for the first year – around twice as much as the most affordable offer. Swisscom and Salt are even more expensive at 331.70 francs and 358.40 francs respectively. Swisscom’s special offer for children, the inOne mobile prepaid kids, costs a total of 403.70 francs for the first year for this profile.

Intensive user profile: All-inclusive plans with flat fees are often the cheapest

For the third comparison, used a fictional profile based on a child named Paula. As an intensive phone user, Paula uses her phone to communicate with friends and to stream music and videos. Because she uses mobile data a lot, paying a flat fee for unlimited local mobile data works out cheaper than paying for data on a per-megabyte basis. Paula rarely makes phone calls.

At standard rates, Paula’s parents would have to count on spending around 500 francs per year on her mobile phone habits. However, service providers frequently run special promotions which drastically reduce the cost of flat fee plans. For example, Swisscom’s budget subsidiary Wingo is offering unlimited local data for an annual flat fee of 280 francs. The annual fee must be paid in advance by credit card.

Yallo, Salt and UPC also lead in terms of special promotions. Special promotions aside, the cheapest flat fee offer at standard prices is a Sunrise prepaid service which costs 479.90 francs per year.

Special promotions can save parents a lot of money, but it is important to review the terms and conditions carefully. For example, Quickline is currently offering all of its mobile plans with no monthly base fee for the first year. The total cost for Paula and her parents would be just 54.40 francs for the full first year. However, from the second year, the cost increases to 554.40 francs per year.

More on this topic:
Compare Swiss mobile plans now
Guide to choosing mobile plans and prepaid mobile for kids
Smartphone tips for parents and children

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