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This Is How Swiss Make Phone Calls

Phone calls still enjoy a high level of popularity among residents of Switzerland. But there are notable differences in the ways in which Swiss consumers make phone calls.

Independent online comparison service moneyland.ch conducted a representative survey of the telephone habits of 1517 individuals. The results show interesting differences across telephone service providers, genders, age groups and regions.

Phone calls are still popular

Phone calls have remained popular in Switzerland despite the onslaught of messaging services. 94% of survey participants stated that they make at least one phone call per week. 57% make telephone calls every day, 30% make multiple phone call per week, 6% make one phone call per week, 5% make several phone calls per month and 1% make one phone call per month.

On the whole, residents of French-speaking Switzerland make phone calls more often. This holds true across various telephone services. While around half the population (53%) of German-speaking Switzerland calls every day, nearly three-fourths (72%) of French-speaking Swiss make phone calls on a daily basis.

Adults younger than 25 years old make phone calls less often than adults in other age groups. Still, phone calls are popular among a large portion of young adults. Almost one out of two participants between the ages of 19 and 25 years old make phone calls every day. 89% of young adults make phone calls at least once a week.

Telephone services compared

Direct phone calls over mobile phone networks without the use of apps are the most popular: 99% of Swiss make phone calls directly from their mobile phones. The use of Whatsapp has become more widespread in recent years: 85% of participants already use Whatsapp to make phone calls. These are followed by landline phone calls (75% of the population), Skype calls (50%), Facebook (33%), Facetime from Apple (25%), Viber (11%) and Threema (6%).

French-speaking and German-speaking Switzerland communicate differently

There are no notable differences in telephone behavior between the urban and non-urban population. But that is not the case between French-speaking and German-speaking Switzerland. “The proverbial Röstigraben is clearly visible in telephone behavior” says telecom expert Ralf Beyeler from online comparison service moneyland.ch.

51% of participants resident in French-speaking Switzerland make direct phone calls through their mobile service provider every day, while 47% make phone calls using Whatsapp on a daily basis. Only 29% of participants in German-speaking Switzerland make direct calls through their mobile service provider on a daily basis, while 32% make calls over Whatsapp every day.

Landline phones are somewhat more popular in German-speaking Switzerland (76% make calls using landlines) than they are in French-speaking Switzerland (71% call using landline phones). French-speaking Swiss are more open to trying new communications technologies. On the whole, telephone apps (like Whatsapp, Skype, Facetime from Apple and Viber) are more widely used in French-speaking Switzerland. The use of Facebook provides a good example, with 56% of French-speaking Swiss using Facebook to make phone calls, compared to just 27% of German-speaking Swiss.

How men and women make phone calls

Previous moneyland.ch surveys have revealed clear divisions in the ways in which men and women make payments and invest their money. That is not the case with regards to telephone behavior, and no significant gender-based differences are evident in survey results.

72% of women make phone calls from home using landline phones, compared to 77% of men. Men also make use of video calls, Threema, Viber, Facebook and Skype somewhat more frequently than women. The exact opposite trend is apparent among Whatsapp users, with 87% of women using Whatsapp for phone calls compared to 83% of men. Direct calls over mobile networks using mobile phones and Apple Facetime are equally popular among women and men.

Phoning apps are particularly popular among young adults

Among adults between the ages of 19 and 25 – the youngest age group included in the survey – a “low” 66% make landline phone calls, 93% use Whatsapp, 59% use Skype, 47% make video calls (across all service providers), 42% use Facebook to make calls, 41% use Facetime from Apple, 20% use Viber and 10% use Threema.

By comparison, 81% of adults above the age of 50 use Whatsapp, 47% use Skype, 28% use Facebook to make calls, 20% make video calls (across all service providers), 18% use Facetime from Apple, 8% use Viber and 4% use Threema.

Whatsapp dominates the telephone app space

“Whatsapp and other free apps are presenting an ever-greater challenge to telecom service providers,” observes moneyland.ch telecom expert Ralf Beyeler. Swiss mobile telecom service providers have responded to this development: “Mobile plans now primarily differ in the data they provide. Even affordable plans often include unlimited calls to all Swiss phone numbers in their flat fee,” says Ralf Beyeler.

“In spite of data-harvesting scandals, Whatsapp has quickly established itself as a permanent companion of the majority of Swiss consumers.” 35% use Whatsapp to make phone calls every day – somewhat more frequently than direct calls over mobile service providers. 18% use it several times per week, 8% use it once a week, 9% use it several times per month, 6% use it once a month and 9% use it several times per year.

Whatsapp is more widely used by young adults than it is by adults in other age groups. 93% of adults aged 19 to 25 use Whatsapp to make phone calls, compared to 87% of adults aged 26 to 49 years old and 81% of adults aged 50 to 74 years old. Women use Whatsapp somewhat more frequently than men: 87% of women use Whatsapp, with 38% using it every day. 83% of men use Whatsapp, with 32% using it to make phone calls every day. 87% of adults in French-speaking Switzerland use Whatsapp, compared to 84% in German-speaking Switzerland. Regional differences in the frequency with which calls are made over Whatsapp are also outstanding, with close to one out of two French-speaking Swiss (47%) making phone calls over Whatsapp every day, compared to around one out of three German-speaking Swiss (32%).

Skype

Within Switzerland, Skype has waned in popularity in comparison to Whatsapp. However, Skype is still widely used for occasional Internet phone calls. 50% of survey participants use Skype (with varying frequency). 26% only use Skype several times per year. 7% use it once per month, 6% use it several times per month, 5% use it once a week, 3% use it several times per week and 3% use it daily. Skype is somewhat more widely used among young adults: 59% of adults aged 19 to 25 use Skype, compared to 51% of adults aged 26 to 49 and 47% of adults between the ages of 50 and 74. Men are somewhat more likely to use Skype than women.

Facebook

Making phone calls using the Facebook app is not as popular as calling through Whatsapp – which is also owned by Facebook. Still, 33% of survey participants use the Facebook app (with varying frequency) to make phone calls and 12% make phone calls through Facebook every day. 7% make call through Facebook several times per week, 2% use it once a week, 3% use it several times per month, 2% use it once a month and 7% make calls through Facebook several times per year.

A major divide between German-speaking and French-speaking Switzerland is apparent. Only 27% of German-speaking Swiss use Facebook to make phone calls, compared to more than half of French-speaking Swiss (56%). Age-based differences are also visible: 42% of adults between the ages of 19 and 25 use Facebook to make calls, compared to 37% of adults aged 26 to 49 and 28% of adults aged 50 to 74.

FaceTime from Apple

Facetime from Apple is used by 25% of participants (with varying frequency). 1% of participants use Facetime every day. 12% only use it several times per year. Facetime is used by around a third of the French-speaking population (32%), and by around one-fifth of the German-speaking population (23%). Only 18% of adults above the age of 50 use Facetime (typically not very often), compared to 29% of adults aged 26 to 49 and 41% of adults aged 19 to 25.

Use of video calls compared

Video calling (across all service providers, including Skype and Facetime) is already fairly well established in Switzerland. Around 29% of participants make video calls (with varying frequency). 2% make video calls every day, 3% make multiple video calls per week, 3% make video calls once a week, 4% make use of video calling multiple times per month, 4% use video calling once a month and 13% only use it several times per year.

Video calls are less widely used by women than by men. In French-speaking Switzerland, 34% of adults make video calls (with varying frequency), compared to 27% of adults in German-speaking Switzerland. Among the youngest age group included in the survey (adults aged 19 to 25), nearly half (47%) make use of video calls (either frequently or occasionally). 22% of adults aged 26 to 49 make video calls, compared to just 20% of adults between the ages of 50 and 74 years old.

Viber

Making phone calls via Viber is notably less popular than making phone calls using Whatsapp, but it is slightly more widely used than the Swiss app Threema. 11% of consumers use Viber (with varying frequency), with 5% of these only using it several times per year. Young adults are more likely to use Viber than other adults, and men are more likely to use it than women. Calling through Viber is relatively more popular among French-speaking Swiss than among their German-speaking compatriots.

Threema

Although it provides a secure Swiss alternative, the Threema communications app has not been able to claim a large market share from Whatsapp. Only 6% of survey participants use the Swiss app to make phone calls, with 1% using it to call on a daily basis, 1% using it several times per week and 1% using it several times per month. Men use Threema somewhat more often than women. Threema is significantly more popular among young adults, with 10% of participants between the ages of 19 and 25 using Threema (although most use it only occasionally). Only 4% of adults aged 50 to 74 years old use the app.

Direct mobile calls without apps

Direct calls from mobile phones through telecom service providers like Swisscom, Sunrise and Salt without third-party apps are the most popular. 34% of consumers make direct mobile calls every day, while 33% call this way several times per week, 11% several times per week, 11% several times per month, 5% once a month and 5% only make direct mobile calls several times per year.

Age-based differences in user behavior are not major: 98% of adults aged 50 to 74 years old use their mobile phones to call directly through their mobile service provider (with varying frequency) compared to 99% of adults in the 26-49 and 19-25 age groups. Gender-based differences are also insignificant. The most notable difference in telephone user behavior is the divide between German-speaking and French-speaking Swiss: 51% of French-speaking Swiss make direct calls through their mobile service provider every day, compared to 29% of German-speaking Swiss.

Landline calls from home compared

Phone calls from home landline phones have declined as mobile communications have progressed. Still, 13% of participants make calls from their home landline phones every day, 26% make landline calls several times per week, 11% once a week, 10% several times per month, 6% once a month and 8% several times per year.

Age-based differences in landline use are large: 86% of adults between the ages of 50 and 74 years old use landline phones to make phone calls compared to 64% of those aged 26 to 49. The use of landline phones is somewhat less popular among women than it is among men.

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