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Switzerland Roaming Fees: The Cost Trap for Travelers

Switzerland Roaming Fees: The Cost Trap for Travelers


Updated on 06/09/2023 13:32

Thanks to EU roaming, many travelers now take it for granted that they can surf the web on their mobile phone while on holiday in Italy or France. However, if you are driving through Switzerland, you have to be careful – otherwise it will be expensive.

More about the evidence

Holidays in other EU countries have many advantages: no border controls, often the same currency and, since 2017, no more roaming fees when surfing the internet. This makes some consumers careless and forget that there is a wanderlust trap waiting in the middle of Europe: Switzerland.

Switzerland is not part of the European Union, so service providers there are not obligated to maintain the same tariffs for travelers as they would in their home country. So if you keep your mobile data on on your way through Switzerland and use it to navigate or stream music, you could lose a lot of money.

Since flat data rates often do not apply to Switzerland, internet usage is billed per megabyte. Depending on the provider, prices vary widely between 5 cents/MB and 12 EUR/MB. Several megabytes can be consumed in a matter of seconds. The automatic SMS of information informing you of the high prices will come too late.

Switzerland is not the only stumbling block

Also, be careful when using the internet with mobile data in other countries in Europe. This is how the EU roaming regulation is applied Not for:

  • San Marino,
  • andorra,
  • isle of man,
  • channel islands,
  • Tarek mountain ,
  • Vatican City and
  • European Overseas Territories in the Caribbean.

Before using the data, travelers should check their contract for applicable tariffs.

Great Britain is also no longer part of the EU’s roaming area since Brexit was completed in 2021. The biggest providers O2, Telekom, 1&1 and Vodafone are still currently giving a transition period. From 2024, some of these providers can also charge roaming fees in Great Britain.

The opposite is true for current EU accession candidates in the Western Balkans. Currently, EU citizens still pay roaming charges when using data for:

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina,
  • serbia,
  • the black Mountain ,
  • Kosovo
  • Albania and
  • North Macedonia.

That will change with accession to the European Union, which heads of state have been negotiating for some time.

This way you avoid huge costs

You can easily avoid the cost trap abroad. If you don’t need the Internet, turn off mobile data on your mobile phone or switch the network selection to “Manual” in Settings so that your device does not automatically connect to a foreign network.

If you also want to surf outside the EU, find out about international data packages before you travel. These should always be cheaper than paying per megabyte.

For long stays outside the EU, purchasing a prepaid card locally may also be beneficial. So data usage is usually cheaper. However, you will have to change the SIM card in your cell phone to do this, which means that you will also have a new cell phone number for this period.

Sources used:

  • Consumer Centre: Roaming in the EU – Important Questions and Answers
  • An overview of roaming in Switzerland

Disclosure: WEB.DE and GMX are part of United Internet AG, which also owns 1&1. 1&1 also offers mobile tariffs.