prepaid mobile plan switzerland questions answers

Swiss Prepaid Mobile Offers: Questions and Answers

October 10, 2023 - Ralf Beyeler

Find answers to the most important questions about prepaid offers in this guide.

One-fifth of all SIM cards issued in Switzerland are prepaid. Here, online comparison service answers key questions about using prepaid mobile services in Switzerland.

What are the differences between prepaid mobile and mobile plans?

With prepaid mobile, you have to buy credits before you can use mobile services. Credits are added to your prepaid account balance, which is debited to pay fees when you use mobile services. As long as your prepaid mobile balance is high enough to cover fees, you can make phone calls and use mobile data.

You can still receive local phone calls even if you do not have any credits in your prepaid account, but you cannot make outgoing calls. Using mobile data is generally not possible when you do not have a positive account balance. Exception: If you purchased a prepaid data bundle, you can continue to use mobile data until the bundle expires – even if you do not have credits in your prepaid account.

A mobile plan is a subscription for which you typically pay a recurring subscription fee. You are billed in arrears for any paid services you use which are not covered by the subscription fee. There are also mobile plans for which the basic subscription fee must be paid in advance, while additional charges and incidental charges for options and data or roaming bundles are billed in arrears.

Which Swiss mobile service providers offer prepaid mobile?

Most Swiss mobile service providers include prepaid offers in their product lineups. Galaxus and Quickline are exceptions to this rule, as they only offer mobile plans.

These Swiss service providers currently have prepaid mobile offers:

  • Aldi Suisse mobile
  • Coop Mobile
  • Das Abo
  • Lebara
  • Lidl
  • M-Budget
  • Mucho
  • Salt
  • Sunrise
  • Swisscom
  • Talktalk
  • Yallo
  • Wingo

Tip: The Swiss mobile plan and prepaid mobile comparison makes it easy to find and compare all Swiss prepaid offers. Just activate the prepaid filter to compare prepaid mobile only.

How many mobile users in Switzerland use prepaid?

According to official figures from the Federal Office for Communications (OFCOM), there were just under 3 million active prepaid connections in Switzerland in 2021. One out of five active SIM cards in Switzerland is a prepaid SIM.

How do I buy prepaid mobile credits?

It is easy to load a prepaid mobile account. There are four common ways to buy prepaid mobile credits.

  1. You can buy prepaid mobile credits as vouchers at the tills of retail outlets like supermarkets, kiosks, stores operated by telecom companies, post offices and gas station shops.
  2. You can buy prepaid mobile credits online using a credit card or Twint.
  3. You can also buy prepaid mobile credits using SBB ticket vending machines, PostFinance ATMs (only with PostFinance debit card), and the ATMs of many Swiss banks (only with Swiss Maestro and V-Pay cards or M-Card).
  4. Mobile plan users can credit prepaid mobile accounts. The cost is charged to the mobile plan user’s phone bill. This is only possible if both the plan and prepaid user share the same mobile service provider.

Not all prepaid mobile providers offer all of these options. Which mobile service provider you use determines the prepaid credit purchasing options available to you.

In some cases (SBB ticket vending machines, for example) you simply need to enter your phone number to have the prepaid credits loaded to your prepaid account. However, with most purchasing options you receive a unique code. You must enter this code in the call field and press the dial button to apply the credits to your prepaid account.

You can find out which prepaid credit purchasing options are offered by each Swiss prepaid mobile provider in this guide.

How much does Swiss prepaid mobile cost?

There are numerous prepaid offers in Switzerland, and pricing varies substantially between offers. In many cases, prepaid mobile offers have more favorable pricing than mobile plans. However, there are also prepaid offers which are relatively expensive.

The interactive mobile plan and prepaid mobile comparison on makes finding the costs of each offer based on your specific needs quick and simple. The comparison also accurately accounts for the costs of supplementary bundles and options.

Are Swiss prepaid mobile offers also suitable for mobile data users?

Many Swiss prepaid mobile offers are well suited to mobile Internet use.

Some prepaid mobile offers have very slow data connections. If you stream a lot of videos on your phone using mobile data, look into prepaid offers with maximum data speeds of at least 10 Mbps. Mobile data connections rarely reach their maximum data speeds. Getting a connection with more bandwidth than your actual online activity demands is recommended. This is accounted for in the 10 Mbps recommendation.

Good to know: The mobile plan comparison on lets you select a maximum data speed to limit results to plans which match your needs. The Internet speed of each offer is also clearly shown in the comparison.

In many cases it is important for you as a prepaid mobile user to buy an additional data bundle. Mobile service providers now offer many different data bundles which include anything from a few megabytes to unlimited data. The comparison clearly shows you which bundles make sense for your data needs.

You can find useful tips on how to choose the right data speed for data plans and prepaid mobile here.

Are Swiss prepaid mobile offers suitable for making calls in Switzerland?

Swiss prepaid mobile offers are also well suited for making phone calls. The days of having to pay for each minute of calling individually are past, and there are now offers which – for a prepaid fee – give you unlimited local phone calls within Switzerland for a predetermined length of time.

Is using Swiss prepaid mobile for data roaming a good idea?

Many Swiss prepaid offers have higher data roaming fees and charges than mobile plans from the same provider.

This is not a big issue for prepaid users who only occasionally travel abroad or who do not use mobile data when traveling. If you have the option of using local Wi-Fi networks on a complimentary basis when you travel abroad, these provide a free alternative to mobile data.

Tip: Consider buying a local SIM to use a local data connection at local prices.

Are Swiss prepaid offers suitable for call roaming?

Swiss prepaid mobile is generally not well suited to call roaming. Many Swiss mobile service providers include much more favorable call roaming conditions in their mobile plans than in their prepaid offers. Additionally, many call roaming bundles are only offered to mobile plan users.  

Are Swiss prepaid mobile offers good for international phone calls?

That depends entirely on which prepaid offer you use. Some have very high pricing for international calls, but there are also more affordable offers. Some prepaid mobile providers specialize in low-cost international phone calls. Making international calls with prepaid offers from these providers can cost less than making international calls with mobile plans.

Tip: Apps like Skype, Threema, WhatsApp and Signal let you make voice calls to users all over the world via a local Internet connection.

What kind of mobile users can benefit from using prepaid mobile?

Using prepaid mobile is beneficial if you prefer to pay for services in advance and do not like to be unpleasantly surprised when you get your telephone bill.

Knowing exactly how much you spend is the biggest advantage of prepaid offers. You never have to pay more than the balance of your prepaid account allows for.

Prepaid mobile offers are also a good choice for savers because many prepaid offers are cheaper than mobile plans.

How can I find the best prepaid offer for my needs?

Just use the mobile plan and prepaid mobile comparison on to quickly find the best prepaid mobile offer for your specific telecom needs. Enter your individual specifications and limit comparison results to prepaid offers to quickly find out which Swiss prepaid mobile offer is the best match.

Can I suspend a prepaid mobile service whenever I want to?

A major advantage of prepaid mobile is that you are not tied into a subscription. You can give very short notice. Unless you want to port or terminate the phone number, suspending the service is not even necessary. You can simply stop using your SIM and you will not be billed.

Tip: A disadvantage of prepaid offers is that your prepaid credits expire if they are not used within certain timeframes. Make sure to use your credits before they expire.

How can I switch to a different prepaid mobile offer?

Migrating to another prepaid offer or mobile plan from a different service provider is not difficult.

If you do not want to keep your phone number, you can simply get a new SIM for your new prepaid service or mobile plan.

If you want to keep your mobile phone number, you have to notify your new mobile service provider when you apply for your new prepaid service or mobile plan. Your new service provider will tell you what to do. Typically, you have to enter a code in the call field and press the dial button on your phone.

Do I need a special SIM card for prepaid mobile?

The SIM cards used for prepaid mobile are technically identical to those used for mobile plans. However, some mobile service providers use separate SIM cards for prepaid mobile and mobile plans.

Do prepaid credits expire?

Yes. Your prepaid credits do expire. Terms and conditions governing expiry vary between service providers. With many mobile service providers, your prepaid credits only expire when you do not make use of any paid services (phone calls, SMS messages, data) over a full year. You can find more information about prepaid credit expiry by mobile service provider here.  

Can I lose a prepaid mobile phone number?

Yes. If you do not use a prepaid SIM for a long period of time, the mobile service provider will deactivate the phone number. Rules governing how long SIMs remain active without use vary between service providers.

You can keep your phone number when you switch to a different prepaid offer or mobile plan, even if you migrate to a different Swiss mobile service provider.

What are the advantages of prepaid mobile?

The biggest advantage of prepaid offers is cost control. You can never be charged more than the balance of your prepaid mobile account.

Another advantage is that many prepaid offers are have more favorable pricing than many mobile plans.

What are the disadvantages of prepaid mobile?

Prepaid offers can be less convenient than mobile plans because you always have to go through the trouble of loading your prepaid account balance.

Mobile roaming with prepaid mobile is often more expensive than roaming with mobile plans.

Another possible disadvantage is that your prepaid credits can expire if you do not use them for long periods of time. This is not an issue if you use mobile services on a regular basis.

More on this topic:
Compare Swiss prepaid mobile offers and mobile plans now
Guide to loading Swiss prepaid mobile offers
Guide to expiry periods of Swiss prepaid mobile offers

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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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