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Cell plan coverage in Switzerland

I will have a European cell phone that has roaming in the EU countries. Does anyone know if that will also work in Switzerland?

Posted by
11484 posts

It certainly should. We have had SIMs from both the UK and Italy and had no problems in Switzerland.

Posted by
40 posts

Thank you, Laurel. What mobile service were you using?

Posted by
32264 posts

Sue,

With a "European cell phone", you should have no trouble roaming in Switzerland or any other country in Europe. Which network is the SIM card attached to?

I've been using international roaming with my home cell network for the last few years, and it's always worked well all over Europe. That approach is a bit expensive, but it's very convenient as I have to be reachable from home.

Posted by
40 posts

Ken, I have yet to buy the SIM card but will buy it in Amsterdam and must decide which service. We'll be in Europe too long to justify the expense of using our US plans. When I read about Vodafone or T-Mobile, they refer to "EU roaming," but Switzerland is not in the EU. That is my concern.

Posted by
11484 posts

We bought our UK SIM at "EE" in London and our Italian one at "TIM." Wherever you buy it will work on the local networks in Switzerland. When you buy in Amsterdam they will fill you in.

Posted by
5687 posts

I have a Dutch Vodafone SIM and I highly recommend it. You can buy one in Amsterdam when you arrive, though I bought mine ahead of time on eBay. I have not used it in Switzerland, but I am fairly sure it works there at the same data roaming rules as in the EU countries.

You need to put credit on the SIM, then (almost certainly) buy a "bundle" with the credit, good for a month. Dutch Vodafone SIMs use a "You" bundle - up to a 20 Euro bundle gets you 3GB of data for 30 days. (If you need less data, there are cheaper bundles.) Note however that calls to numbers outside of the Netherlands are at extra cost (and the bundle gives you only a few free calling minutes to Dutch numbers anyway). You can use credit on the SIM to make those calls per-minute. The bundle will include the data.

Last year, I used my Vodafone SIM for 17 days in Europe and used only 2GB of my 3GB of data. I did use WiFI mostly at hotels, and I didn't stream videos which would eat up data quickly.

However, European SIMs generally include free unlimited incoming calls (and texts), so you can give your new Dutch number to people in Europe (e.g. hotels) who might need to reach you and it won't cost you anything to receive calls, only to make them.

If you need to call home to the US, install the Google Hangouts app on the phone (also Hangouts Dialer for Android phones) - then you can call US phone numbers for free, even landlines, within Hangouts. If you have a US smart phone now that you won't be using, I would install Hangouts/Dialer on it too and make a test call with it, so your Google account will have the ability to make such calls; use the same Google account when you setup your European smart phone and you should be able to make free calls to US numbers with Hangouts there too.

Posted by
32264 posts

Sue,

How long are you planning to be in Europe? I assume you're familiar with the Schengen regulations?

One other phone solution you might consider would be to use a "travel SIM" from Cellular Abroad or iRoam. They provide plans which operate across Europe. That way you'd have a working phone as soon as you step off the plane.

Posted by
40 posts

Thanks, Andrew. That's all useful advice.

Posted by
40 posts

Ken, that's a new one for me. I'll look into Cellular Abroad. I'm definitely familiar with Schengen. In our one-month trip we'll be in Germany, Netherlands, and Switzerland, with 75% of the trip in Germany.