swiss roaming study 2023
Telecom News

Major Price Differences for Mobile Roaming

July 4, 2023 - Ralf Beyeler

An analysis of Swiss telecom service providers ahead of the summer holidays shows that Swiss consumers could save substantial amounts of money by using the right bundles. Differences between mobile service providers are still very large.

The summer holidays are at the door, and for most people, mobile phones are a constant holiday companion. But using your phone while traveling abroad can bring unpleasant surprises. To help holidaymakers avoid these, telecom expert Ralf Beyeler analyzed the current roaming offers from Swiss telecom companies.

“Consumers should always get informed about roaming data bundles and mobile roaming options from their telecom provider before they travel,” recommends telecom expert Ralf Beyeler from Otherwise, it is still possible to rake up hundreds of francs on your phone bills within minutes, in addition to having your mobile data blocked for the rest of your holiday.

Beware of roaming rip-offs

Many mobile service providers have made such major improvements to their roaming services that getting hit with crazy roaming bills is now much less likely. But it is still possible to generate very high costs with some mobile service providers, especially when you make calls while roaming. A one-hour phone call made while roaming in an EU country can cost up to 120 francs. The same call would cost just 18 francs with the right roaming option. That may still be a lot of money, but it is 85 percent less than the standard price.

Making phone calls while roaming can be expensive

According to the 2022 roaming statistics published by the Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM), 29.5 percent of telecom customers who used roaming made phone calls at standard roaming rates. That translates into 36 million minutes. Depending on the service provider, standard rates can be up to ten times higher than the lower rates available with roaming options. “Many consumers still pay their mobile service providers much more than necessary for mobile roaming. According to a estimate, Swiss consumers collectively spent around 30 million francs more than necessary in 2022,” explains Beyeler.

Mobile roaming costs compared

This year, as in previous years, online comparison service compared Swiss mobile service providers. The first comparison (see table 1) accounts for the total cost of roaming for consumers who spend two weeks abroad on summer holiday and one week abroad on autumn holiday, plus two short, four-day trips abroad every year. Each of their trips is to an EU country. During their 29 days of combined travel, the profile user uses a total of 6 gigabytes of roaming data and makes 120 minutes of mobile roaming calls. Short-term special promotions are not accounted for in the comparison.

Swisscom has the cheapest mobile roaming for all EU countries

With total roaming costs of 86.60 for this profile, Swisscom is the cheapest mobile service provider for roaming in all EU countries. It is followed by Aldi Suisse Mobile (plan) at 89.60 francs, and Digital Republic at 100 francs. The budget mobile service providers Yallo and Lebara are more expensive, at 170 francs, while the profile user would pay 180.80 for roaming with Sunrise.

Some telecom companies have different roaming prices for different EU countries. For example, Mucho Mobile has low total costs for this profile for roaming in some EU countries, at 82.80 francs, but for roaming in other EU countries, Mucho Mobile is more expensive than many of its competitors, with total roaming costs of 229.80 francs. Salt also uses different mobile roaming rates for different EU countries. Roaming with Salt is relatively expensive, with total roaming costs of between 133.90 and 367.90 francs for this profile, depending on the EU country and on the mobile plan or prepaid mobile offer being used.

Swisscom is now cheaper, Sunrise is more expensive

It is also interesting to look at what has changed compared to previous years. Customers of Digital Republic (70 francs cheaper) and Swisscom (25 francs cheaper) now pay a lot less for roaming than they did in Summer 2022. Both of these service providers have notably improved their roaming rates. The exact opposite applies to Sunrise. Customers of Switzerland’s second-largest mobile service provider who match the profile used will pay 15.50 francs more for roaming than they did in 2022. Sunrise, which already had very average roaming rates last year, has since raised its prices.

The cheapest offers for data roaming in EU countries

Making phone calls via mobile networks has become less important for many consumers. For many mobile users, staying connected to the Internet while traveling is much more important. A look at official roaming statistics from OFCOM confirms the growing importance of data roaming. In 2022, all customers of all Swiss mobile service providers collectively transferred 54 million gigabytes of data over foreign mobile networks. The bulk of this data, at 51 gigabytes, was used in countries in the EU, the European Economic Area (EEA), and the UK.

Because data roaming has become so important, analyzed the costs of data-only bundles for data roaming in EU countries. Galaxus Mobile, Digital Republic, and Teleboy are the cheapest. All three telecom providers offer 1-gigabyte bundles for data roaming in EU countries with a one-year validity period for around 10 francs (see Table 2). With 3-gigabyte and 10-gigabyte data bundles costing 20 and 50 francs respectively, Digital Republic is the cheapest mobile service provider for data roaming in EU countries, by a wide margin. The second cheapest offers cost 45 and nearly 25 percent more.

Little has changed since last year with regard to data roaming bundles for EU countries, with the main event being the introduction of two new data roaming offers by Digital Republic. These two offers are now the cheapest options for 3 gigabytes and 10 gigabytes of roaming data. Market leader Swisscom lowered the price of its 10-gigabyte bundle by one-third, from 89.89 francs down to 59.90 francs. Sunrise, on the other hand, got more expensive. Sunrise customers now pay 49.90 francs for 3 gigabytes of roaming data – 10 francs more than they did last year. 10 gigabytes of roaming data from Sunrise now cost 99.80 francs, or 20 francs more, which translates into a 25-percent price increase.

The cheapest offers for data roaming in other countries

If you travel to countries outside of the EU, you have to count on paying more for mobile roaming. But even in some EU countries, using data while roaming can be expensive. For example, Croatia is not included in Salt’s low-cost Europe roaming region. compared the cost of using 1 gigabyte of roaming data in a selection of 14 different countries (see Table 3).

Which telecom provider is cheapest depends on which country you travel to. With a cost of around 10 francs, 1 gigabyte of roaming data for Croatia, Turkey, the US, and Canada is cheapest at Digital Republic, Galaxus Mobile, and Teleboy. Galaxus Mobile offers its own data roaming bundle for certain travel destinations. It is the cheapest option for 1 gigabyte of roaming data for Montenegro and Thailand (both 10.90 francs), Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia (both 12.90 francs), and Albania (14.90 francs). The market leader Swisscom has the lowest costs for one gigabyte of roaming data for the territory of Kosovo and for North Macedonia (19.90 francs each), and for Cuba (49.90 francs, offered since July 1, 2023). Sunrise is the cheapest for one gigabyte of roaming data for Tunisia and Vietnam.

Galaxus Mobile has the lowest data roaming prices for 8 out of the 14 analyzed travel destinations. It is also the only telecom provider which charges less than 50 francs for using one gigabyte of data in each of the 14 countries.

Lower prices for roaming in Cuba

Since the summer of 2022, there have been a number of price reductions for roaming outside of Europe. Galaxus Mobile, which was still known as Digitec Connect at the time, radically lowered its roaming prices for some holiday destinations last autumn. The cost of 1 gigabyte of roaming data is now between 10.90 and 14.90 francs, down from 160 francs. Roaming in Cuba with Swisscom has also become much cheaper. Until May, 2023, the cost of using one gigabyte of data while roaming with Swisscom in Cuba was theoretically around 10,000 francs. In May this year, Swisscom began to charge 59.90 francs per gigabyte of roaming data for Cuba, and at the beginning of July, it lowered the price to 49.90 francs. Quickline too reduced its rates for roaming in the analyzed countries, with the cost of using 1 gigabyte while roaming in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, or Serbia going down from 50 to 38 francs over the past year.

Huge differences in costs

This year too, the analysis shows enormous differences in the prices that different mobile service providers charge for roaming. “Using one gigabyte of data in the same country can cost 10 francs with one telecom provider, 20 francs with another, and more than 100 francs with another,” explains telecom expert Ralf Beyeler. “The power lies with consumers. If they would consistently migrate to the most affordable mobile service provider, then telecom companies would no longer be able to charge exorbitant prices, and would have to lower their rates to stay in business,” adds the expert.

Saving tips from experts

According to roaming statistics from OFCOM, more than 37 percent of the Swiss mobile plans in use include roaming allowances. Some plans include just a few megabytes, while others include many gigabytes of roaming data as well as call roaming allowances. But for typical holidaymakers, mobile plans with many included allowances are an expensive solution. There are only a few scenarios in which getting a mobile plan with included roaming allowances makes financial sense. In most cases, it works out cheaper to buy affordable roaming options or bundles separately ahead of your trip.

If you travel outside of Switzerland many times every year, you should look at roaming bundles which are valid for one year. Most mobile service providers offer these.

You can find more tips in the guides to data roaming and call roaming. The data roaming calculator makes it easy to find out which data bundles are available for the country you are traveling to.

More on this topic:
Download the detailed Swiss mobile roaming comparison (German PDF)

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