mobile plans students tips

Mobile Plans for Students: 12 Pointers for Better Deals

November 11, 2022 - Ralf Beyeler

Are you a student looking for the best mobile plan for your money? Find useful tips in this guide.

If you are like most students, a life without smartphones is hard to imagine. In order to use a smartphone, you need a mobile plan or prepaid service.

Here, we list 12 key tips to help you get the best mobile service for your money.

1. Look out for student offers

Swiss mobile service providers do not advertise special offers for students through their conventional outlets. That does not mean they don’t have special student offers. It just means they advertise them through other channels like social media, websites or messaging. For example, Projekt Neptun frequently offers heavily-discounted mobile plans to eligible university students.

2. Compare youth offers

Swiss telecom service providers like Swisscom, Sunrise and Salt offer special privileges for teenage and young adult subscribers. Some mobile services include access to music streaming with your mobile plan, or give you discounts on the SBB Half Fare card for public transportation.

Swisscom customers who are younger than 26 years old are classified as “youths.” Sunrise applies youth discounts to adults as old as 30. Discounts also apply to students, if they meet certain criteria.

As a student, you must be aware that when you pass the age threshold, you may automatically be billed for the higher “adult” prices. Mobile plans for adults are much more expensive. Some offers remain in place even after you become an “adult” and are not bumped up to adult prices.

Important: Youth offers are not necessarily the best option, as the unbiased mobile plan comparison on shows. In many cases, there are standard offers which are cheaper than special youth offers.

These are some of the current offers which may be interesting for teenagers: Lidl Connect Smart Prepaid with added data bundles (2 x 500 MB, totaling 1000 MB for 9.80 francs); Aldi Suisse mobile with added surf bundle (1 GB for 9.90 francs); Mucho Mobile Duo Mini (300 minutes and 5 GB for 17.90 francs), Yallo All in 20 (400 minutes and 3 GB for 20 francs).

3. Consider flat-fee mobile plans

Many students want permanent access to the Internet from their mobile phones. Being able to use streaming services like YouTube, Netflix and Spotify is also a must for many students. If you fall under the “heavy user” category, you should consider getting a mobile plan with unlimited Internet access for a flat fee.

The flat-fees of Swiss mobile plans normally include unlimited local data, phone calls and SMS messages within Switzerland. These plans let you use online mobile services as much as you want – although normally only in Switzerland. The downside is that the flat fee is generally high. You can find out whether or not the cost of an all-inclusive mobile plan makes financial sense based on your mobile habits using the interactive mobile plan comparison on

4. Compare mobile plans with limited data

There are many students for whom plans with unlimited data for a flat fee are not the cheapest solution. Plans which only include a limited amount of data per month are cheaper. These are generally a better choice if you only use your phone for messaging and other low-data activities. On the other hand, you will generally be better off getting a plan with unlimited data if you: stream video or music; use your phone as your main Internet hotspot; perform updates over your mobile connection; or use cloud-based services.

Typically, these plans include several gigabytes of mobile data per month. That works just fine if you use WLAN connections for all the data-intensive stuff and just need to stay connected between hotspots. Most Swiss universities, libraries and cafes now provide high-speed WLAN on a complimentary basis.

5. Compare special offers

Many Swiss mobile service providers run special offers in order to attract new customers, and they can be advantageous to you as a student. There are two main categories of special offers. Some give you extra services (i.e. data, call time) for the standard price. Others give you standard services for a discounted price. In some cases, special offers knock 50% or more off the standard price for plans or prepaid bundles. 

6. Negotiate

It is possible to negotiate prices with some mobile service providers. That is especially true if you are already a customer. It is not uncommon for mobile service providers to slash plan fees for existing customers by as much as 50%. In many cases, it is simply a matter of calling and asking, and it is certainly worth a try. Read the guide to negotiating better mobile deals for ideas.

7. Change mobile plans regularly

The telecom market is constantly becoming more competitive and Swiss mobile service providers regularly launch new offers. Meanwhile, the loyal, longstanding plan holders are generally left behind. If you work on a tight budget (as many students do), switching to the best available plans as they are launched is a great way to optimize value for money.

Good to know: Existing customers are generally able to switch to new plans from the same provider. Sadly, some service providers are actually customer-unfriendly enough to charge a penalty fee when you terminate you contract early, so clear that up before you make the move.

8. Don’t just look at the price

Comparing costs is an important aspect of choosing a mobile plan. But there are other things to consider as well – namely, what you are getting for your money. Criteria to consider include: network coverage; included data allowances (for Internet use); the availability and quality of customer service; the presence or absence of safeguards against potential cost traps.

Customer satisfaction ratings are also a good indicator of whether a mobile service provider is getting it right or wrong. That’s why we at conduct regular customer satisfaction surveys and includes the ratings in our interactive mobile plan comparison.

Other factors to look at are minimum contract terms and notice periods for ending your contract. Customer-friendly service providers offer short minimum contract terms and short notice periods. That benefits you because you can easily quit the contract when a better deal comes along.

9. Understand roaming costs

As a student in Switzerland, you are probably used to unlimited Internet access anytime, anywhere at a flat fee. But when you travel outside of Switzerland, things get a bit more complicated.

Data roaming – using mobile Internet via a third-party service provider – is the primary source of nasty roaming pitfalls. Getting informed about possible roaming charges and choosing the best roaming solution before you leave the country is the only way to protect yourself. Not using protection can – in the worst case – result in your being hit with hundreds of francs in roaming charges. Check out these tips for mobile data roaming to learn how to avoid that scenario.

10. Beware of baited offers

Many mobile service providers offer desirable smartphones or other devices “for free” or for a symbolic price (1 franc, for example). Beware of these baited offers. The price of the device is worked into the monthly fee and you pay it off over the life of the contract. In many cases, these offers are simply a bait used to pawn off expensive mobile plans.

Buying your device separately and getting a stand-alone mobile plan is a much better financial move. Electronics retailers, including online retailers like digitec, Brack and Microspot, generally charge less for the same device than mobile service providers do.

11. Using your phone as your home Internet connection

If you use a mobile plan which includes unlimited Internet at a flat fee, you may not need to get an additional home Internet plan. In many cases, just using your mobile phone as a hotspot eliminates the need for a phone-line, cable or optical fiber connection.

That is not always the case. For example, if your home is very well insulated, you may not get a very good signal. This could result in heavy battery use and overheating. It may also result in your being exposed to higher levels of electro-smog than you would be with WLAN, due to the more powerful signal transmitted from your phone.

Another possible disadvantage is that all of your mobile network’s users in your area share the bandwidth of the nearest cellular antennas. Depending on the place and the time of day or week, data transfer speeds can become very limited because bandwidth must be shared among all users.

12. Buy a cheaper phone

The newest iPhones and Samsung Galaxy models can easily cost 1000 francs or more, which is very expensive. There are many phones with price tags starting from 250 francs with almost identical functions. While brand appeal is obviously a consideration, you have to ask yourself whether that factor is worth an extra 700 to 800 francs.

Second-hand phones provide a viable alternative if you (being a student and all) cannot afford a new phone. Buying second-hand is also a sensible alternative to buying new phones if the environment and sustainable living are things you particularly care about.

More on this topic:
Interactive mobile plan comparison
Guide to mobile plans for young people

Swiss mobile plans in comparison

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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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