flatmates shared home switzerland internet streaming tv mobile telecom guide

A Guide to Internet, Streaming, TV, and Mobile Plans for Flatmates in Switzerland

September 1, 2023 - Ralf Beyeler

Do you and your roommates want to use mobile phones, home Internet, and TV? This moneyland.ch guide explains what you should pay attention to.

If you want to use home Internet, streaming services, TV, and mobile phones in your shared home, there are a number of points to consider. Here, moneyland.ch offers important telecom tips for flatmates. 

1. Home Internet for flatmates

Today, having a fast Internet connection is often very important for shared homes. These are the points to consider when choosing a home Internet plan:

  • Who is the contractual partner? An Internet plan can only be subscribed to by just one person in your shared home. It is not possible to jointly subscribe to a home Internet contract together. One person will have to sign up for the Internet plan that will be shared by all flatmates. Normally, you all make an agreement by which the cost is divided between all flatmates, who pass on the money they owe to the person who has the subscription.
  • What happens when the contractual partner moves out? The easiest thing to do if the person who signed up for the home Internet plan moves out of your shared home is for one of the remaining flatmates to take over the contract. In the event that the person who’s moving out wants to keep the existing contract to use for their future home, then one of the remaining flatmates will have to sign up for a brand-new Internet plan for your shared home.
  • How fast should our Internet connection be? You should get a plan with an Internet speed that divides into between 20 and 60 Mbps per flatmate, depending on your shared home’s needs and what you all use the Internet for. A 1 Gbps home Internet connection is sufficient for most shared homes. But you should be aware that in many cases, the actual speeds you get are slower than the advertised maximum speed, and factor this into your calculation.
  • Which kind of connection works best for shared homes? While optical fiber connections (recognizable by their OTO sockets) normally run more or less problem-free, Internet plans that use coaxial networks (cable) and telephone lines are often much slower than their advertised speeds. Ask your prospective Internet service provider about the speeds you can actually expect in practice. You can also see which speeds you can expect at your address in the home Internet plan comparison on moneyland.ch, if the information is available.
  • Do minimum contract terms and notice periods matter? Always choose a plan with the shortest possible minimum contract term. The required notice period should also be short. If not, you risk being hit with a nasty surprise in the form of a penalty fee when you terminate your Internet plan (if your flatshare breaks up, for example). Depending on the Internet service provider and the circumstances, penalty fees can cost you well above 1000 Swiss francs.
  • What about Internet for guests? In addition to the Wi-Fi connection you share as flatmates, it can also be helpful to set up a separate Wi-Fi connection for guests. That way you can share the guest password with visitors, without having to share the login information of your main Wi-Fi network. You can set up the separate Wi-Fi network for guests by configuring your router.
  • What will our shared home Internet connection cost? There are huge price differences between different home Internet plans. moneyland.ch offers a comprehensive comparison that you can use to quickly find the cheapest home internet offer for your address.
  • What should we consider if we work from home? If you work online from home, having a stable Internet connection is even more important. If your work involves video conferencing, the you need to get an Internet plan with an adequate upload speed. You should count on a minimum upload speed of 10 Mbps per ongoing video call, but higher upstream speeds are preferable. If many of you all make video calls at the same time, then you need to multiply that amount by the number of calls which might occur simultaneously to find the total upload speed needed for your shared home.
  • Can we use mobile hotspots instead of a home Internet connection? Many shared homes in Switzerland no longer use home Internet connections at all. Instead, each flatmate uses their own mobile data connection. While it is certainly possible to get online through your mobile phones, the Internet connection is often unstable or slow.

You can use the home Internet comparison on moneyland.ch to quickly find the cheapest plan for your specific address.

These guides from moneyland.ch offer useful tips for optimizing your home Internet connection. These tips also generally apply to shared homes.

 2. Video and music streaming for flatmates

All of the most popular streaming services let you share your subscription with other members of the same household. A ban on sharing your login information is not on the horizon, even though Netflix and Disney have tried to discourage account sharing.

If you want to share a video streaming subscription, it is beneficial to use a streaming service that lets you make separate user profiles for household members. The advantage of profiles is that each flatmate can receive personalized recommendations based on their film preferences, and carry on watching where they left off. Netflix lets you create up to five user profiles per subscription, while Amazon Prime Video and Disney Plus let you create up to seven profiles.

Another important consideration is how many different videos you can stream on different devices with the same subscription. Netflix lets you simultaneously stream on between one and four devices, depending on which Netflix plan you use. Amazon Prime Video lets you stream on three devices at once, and Disney Plus lets you stream on four different devices at the same time.

Many music streaming services have special subscriptions which can be used by up to six people living in the same household. For many people though, the free subscriptions from music streaming platforms are sufficient.

Compare Swiss video streaming services and music streaming services on moneyland.ch.

These moneyland.ch guides to using streaming services in Switzerland provide helpful information and tips:

3. TV plans for flatmates

Flatmates in Switzerland generally have two different options. The first option is for each flatmate to get their own TV plan, as needed. TV plans that can be used over any Internet connection are a good choice in this case. The second option is to get just one TV plan and share it between all flatmates. Many TV plans are only available in combination with a home Internet plan from the same provider. You can easily compare bundled TV and home Internet plans using the interactive Swiss TV plan comparison on moneyland.ch. But in many cases, getting separate Internet and TV plans makes more sense. If you get your TV plan separately, then the considerations about contractual partners, minimum contract terms, notice periods, and pricing are identical to those for choosing a home Internet plan (see point 1).

There are some additional points to consider for TV plans specifically:

  • Are you an open book? With many TV plans, all of your flatmates can see exactly which shows you have been watching. Additionally, the personalized recommendations of TV shows are based on the preferences of all flatmates combined, which can make them completely useless. In short: Your TV life is an open book.
  • Do you want to share your recordings? Many TV plans let you record TV shows. But only a handful of TV plans let you create individual user profiles for different household members. As a result, recordings by different flatmates can quickly become jumbled because they are all mixed together.

It is also possible to watch TV without a paid plan. If you are okay with watching TV shows as they are broadcasted, then you will find numerous free TV plans to choose from. On the other hand, if you want to use features like TV time-shifting, you will normally need a paid TV plan. Another option is to watch TV shows in the online media libraries offered by broadcasters, or on streaming platforms like Youtube. The downside of that option is that many shows are not available.

Whether or not your shared home even has a TV set, every Swiss household is obligated to pay the Swiss television and radio tax. This “Serafe fee” only applies once per household, even if the household is a shared home. A good approach is to simply divide the cost of the tax between all flatmates.

You can find useful tips for getting the most out of Swiss TV plans in these moneyland.ch guides:

4. Mobile plans for flatmates

In most cases, each member of a shared home gets their own mobile plan.

There also are not any Swiss mobile plans that are designed specifically for flatmates. But there are some “family” mobile plans that reward you with discounts when members of the same household all get the said plans from the same service provider. However, the cost of these plans is often higher than other comparable Swiss mobile plans, in spite of the multiple-plan discounts.

Galaxus Mobile offers a discount when you and your “friends” all get plans from them together. That lowers the monthly fees by up to five francs per month, per person. You can use this offer whether or not you live together.

The mobile plan comparison on moneyland.ch helps you quickly find the cheapest mobile plan.

You can find practical tips and information about mobile plans in these moneyland.ch guides:

More on this topic:
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Expert Ralf Beyeler
Ralf Beyeler is the telecom expert at moneyland.ch and also covers other areas of personal finance.
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