It has become customary for at least one mobile service provider to slash data roaming rates ahead of the summer vacation period. Switzerland’s largest telecom service provider Swisscom has gotten an early start on the action by introducing new roaming rates from April 1, 2019 (and no, it is not an April Fools gag).
Data roaming bundles are of significance to mobile users who want to use mobile data outside of Switzerland, but whose mobile plans either do not include roaming allowances or (depending on the plan) have insufficient allowances.
No more standard rate cost trap
The most important change: Swiss is discontinuing its use of standard roaming rates across almost all plans. Up until now, many Swisscom users who (often unwittingly) made use of data roaming were automatically billed based on standard roaming rates. Standard Swisscom data roaming rates ranged between 4.90 Swiss francs and 13.90 francs per 10 megabytes. Now, Swisscom users whose plans do not include roaming allowances must choose to purchase a data roaming bundle before they can use data roaming.
Data roaming in Europe
Swisscom offers 3 different data roaming bundles for Europe: 200 megabytes for 4.90 francs; 1 gigabyte for 14.90 francs; and 3 gigabytes for 39.90 francs. The cost of the first bundle is 3 francs lower than it was previously. The cost of the second bundle is 5 francs lower than previously and that of the third bundle is 10 francs lower. That equates to a price reduction of between 20 and 38 percent by Swisscom. Depending on the size of data bundles, the cost of 1 gigabyte ranges between 13.30 and 24.50 francs. Up until now, Swisscom charged between 16.63 and 450 francs per gigabyte.
Data roaming in the United States, Thailand and Australia
Swisscom now offers 4 different data roaming bundles covering countries which fall under its World 1 category. Countries in this region include the United States, Australia and Thailand, among others. Swisscom has added a 10-gigabyte data roaming bundle to its World 1 lineup.
The World 1 bundles now offered by Swisscom are: 200 megabytes for 6.90 francs; 1 gigabyte for 29.90 francs; 3 gigabytes for 49.90 francs; and 10 gigabytes for 79.90 francs. The first 3 bundles now cost 3, 10 and 30 francs less than they did previously. Depending on the size of the data bundle used, Swisscom bundle users pay between 7.99 and 34.50 francs per gigabyte – compared to the previous 26.63 to 650 francs. That equates to a data bundle price reduction of between 30 and 38 francs.
Data roaming in other countries
The cost of data roaming in countries in Swisscom’s World 2 (Costa Rica, Vietnam and more) and Rest of the World (Malawi, Central African Republic, and more) categories has been reduced by 14 to 30 percent. Swisscom users now pay between 5.90 and 138 francs per gigabyte of data roaming in World 2 countries (down from 79.90 to 790 francs), and just under 300 francs per gigabyte in Rest of the World countries (previously between 349.50 and 1390 francs).
Conclusion by moneyland.ch telecom expert Ralf Beyeler
“Swisscom’s move to rid itself of its exorbitant standard data roaming rates is absolutely welcome,” says Beyeler. The new system is far more customer friendly. Customers who do not have roaming allowances in their mobile plans can only use data roaming if they buy a data roaming bundle. In other words, customers who do not specifically buy a data roaming bundle cannot be charged any data roaming fees. A number of mobile service providers, including Wingo, Coop Mobile and M-Budget already use this more customer-friendly system.
It is too bad that Swisscom data bundles still come with a 30-day expiry period. Typically, mobile users buy higher data roaming bundles than they actually need, and unused data expires and becomes worthless. This could have been a good opportunity for Swisscom to begin offering data roaming bundles which do not expire – like Coop Mobile has done.
Good to know: The interactive roaming calculator on moneyland.ch makes it easy to find out how much your mobile service charges you for roaming in a country of your choice. The calculator also shows you the cheapest roaming solution for your trip.