Traveling to Switzerland soon? Don't get stuck with high roaming costs or slow overseas data bundles. Did you know they reduce the internet speed abroad? Switzerland is already expensive enough so get yourself a local sim card on arrival. It is easy, fast and the cheapest way to stay connected. In this guide you will find everything you need to know about buying a sim card in Switzerland with the best network, up to date prices for prepaid sim cards as per June 2021, info about 5G, EU roaming and more.
Getting connected to the internet is the first thing I do when I get to a new country. That is how I already wrote more than 150 local sim card guides from all over the world. I covered every country in Europe: France, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, UK, Spain, Sweden, etc. and all major airports like: Paris, Rome, London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, etc.
Are you flying to Geneva and want to buy a sim card on arrival then check out my guide for buying a sim card at Geneva and I can already tell you there is actually a pretty good sim card deal available at the airport.
Why buying a sim card for Switzerland
All hotels, bars and restaurants have free WiFi, yet I still recommend you to get a local sim card for traveling in Switzerland. Life these days is simply so much easier when you have a data connection. Think about ordering an Uber, get directions on Google Maps, finding a hotel, supermarket, restaurant and so on. Many reasons for you to get a sim card in Switzerland.
Also just don't rely on WiFi, some hotel WiFi's are slow, have little reach in your room and above all public WiFi is an UNSECURED network.
Traveltomtom recommends a Sunrise prepaid sim card for a trip to Switzerland. They have a great network and offer unlimited 5G for about $3 per day.
We DO NOT RECOMMEND global sim cards for travelers. Do not buy one of those crazy expensive international sim cards please. A local sim cards is ALWAYS a better deal. Some of these travel sim cards I even call scams. Have a look at my article with the 11 Best International Sim Cards and find out that only very few are worth considering.
If you prefer to not swap sim cards and change phone numbers then there is the option to use a pocket WiFi. How this works? Check out my article about getting WiFi on the road and I give you my HONEST review about these portable WiFi devices.
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Swiss sim cards and EU roaming
HEADS UP! Switzerland is a European country however, it is NOT PART OF THE EU! That means that most prepaid Swiss sim cards do NOT include FREE EU ROAMING. That means if you buy a sim card in Switzerland and then travel onwards to Milan in Italy, roaming charges apply and you can NOT use your data, voice and text bundles anymore.
Basically if you want to use your Swiss sim card for traveling in Europe expect to pay heavy charges and that is NOT recommended.
Buy a sim card for Switzerland online
Good news is that there are European sim cards that INCLUDE Switzerland in their FREE EU ROAMING packages. That means that with a UK sim card you can use your data, voice and text bundle in Switzerland at NO extra costs. Check out my article with a review and comparison of the best sim cards for traveling in Europe.
You can also buy a sim card for traveling in Switzerland directly online through the Simoptions website. Check out the offer from Orange for example that gives you 20 GB data for $50 and the sim card will be send to your home address prior to your trip.
Mobile internet operators Switzerland
There are three main internet operators on the Swiss mobile market: Sunrise, Swisscom and Salt. All three have multiple shops in a central locations in big cities around Switzerland. Unfortunately you won’t find them in Zurich, Bern or Geneva Airport.
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Where to buy a Swiss sim card
Airports, like Geneva and Zurich tend to sell different sim cards like Lyca Mobile, Lebara and Yallo who operate on one of the networks of the above mentioned main internet providers. Best is to buy your Switzerland sim card in a official retail store. They are in every big city or shopping mall. Just go to Google Maps and type in the by you preferred store and Im sure there is one within walking distance ones you are in the city center.
They also sell Swiss sim cards at gas stations and convenience stores, but you will have to do the activation process all by yourself.
What to bring when buying a prepaid sim card Switzerland
When buying a Switzerland sim car for tourists you will need to bring your passport or a copy of your passport. The Swiss sim card will be registered on your name.
Best Swiss mobile network in 2021
Like everything in Switzerland the mobile network is very well organized. Basically everywhere in the country apart from very remote places in the mountains are covered. Switzerland already has a pretty decent 5G network. Below you will find the Switzerland network coverage maps of Sunrise, Swisscom and Salt (source: nperf.com)
Sunrise Switzerland network coverage
Salt Switzerland network coverage
Swisscom network coverage
As you can see from the above the Swiss mobile network maps, everywhere you go you will find a good signal. Must say Swisscom has the best (5G) network in Switzerland.
Prices prepaid Switzerland sim card in 2021
Based on the network it doesn’t really matter which Switzerland sim card for tourists you buy, but let’s have a look at the prices and the prepaid packages all the Swiss mobile operators offer. Prices below are in CHF, but at the time of researching in June 2019 the CHF and the USD were exactly the same.
Swisscom sim card
A Swisscom prepaid sim card cost 20 CHF, but also comes with 20 CHF credit. It is not possible to buy a data package with a Swisscom sim card. A data connection cost 2 CHF per day, calling is 29c per minute and sms is 15c per text. Data is only valid in Swiss, not in the EU! Roaming in France cost for example 5 CHF per day.
Be aware that the daily unlimited internet for 2 CHF ends at 00.00. So if you use the internet for the first time at 23.00 (11pm) then you only have 1 hour left.
Very important!! Swisscom claims unlimited internet per day, but note that there is a limit of 10GB per month. That means if on your first 5 days you already use 2GB per day. You run out of data! Sucks big time Swisscom! May that occur extra charges apply. Roaming charges outside of Switzerland apply.
For more info prepaid sim card info see the Swisscom website.
Salt Switzerland sim card
You can get a FREE Salt Mobile sim card, but it comes with 0 credit and you basically can NOT use it unless you top up. There is also the following option with 20 CHF credit. Surfing the internet cost 2 CHF per day, calling is 49c per call and texting is 12c per sms.
Its data is NOT valid in the EU either. Salt Switzerland does NOT have a 10GB cap per month on its data. The unlimited data per day always ends at midnight. You are allowed to use a hotspot. For more detailed info see the Salt Mobile website.
Sunrise Switzerland sim card
Just like Swisscom and Salt a Sunrise prepaid sim card cost 20 CHF and comes with 19.90 CHF credit. You can use a hotspot on your phone to connect your Macbook to the internet.
Sunrise offers unlimited data per day in Switzerland for 2,5 CHF per 24 hours. There is no limit, but data is only available in Switzerland. Roaming charges are expensive! If you want to use 5G you pay 3 CHF per 24 hours. These are the set fares as per June 2021, confirmed by the info I found on the Sunrise website.
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Best Switzerland sim card in 2021
I am not a big fan of prepaid Switzerland sim cards for the simple reason that they are expensive and there is NO FREE ROAMING IN EUROPE! Prices and network coverage are more or less the same for all three the Swiss mobile internet providers, but there is a small difference...
The best sim card in Switzerland for tourists is Sunrise. They offer unlimited data per 24 hours and not per day!
Buy a Swiss sim card online
Save the hassle of buying a Switzerland sim card on arrival, let it be shipped to your home address before your trip to Switzerland. The following Switzerland sim cards are also great for traveling in Europe as they offer free roaming. You can order them all of them through the Simoptions website, who sell sim cards for travelers.
1. Orange Holiday ZEN - $29.90
- 8 GB data
- Unlimited calls in Europe
- 30 minutes worldwide
- Unlimited sms in Europe
- 200 sms worldwide
- Valid 14 days
2. Three PAYG AIO20 - $39.90
- 12 GB data
- Unlimited calls within Europe
- Unlimited sms within Europe
- Valid 30 days
- 20 GB data
- Unlimited calls in Europe
- 120 minutes worldwide
- Unlimited sms in Europe
- 1,000 sms worldwide
- Valid 14 days
My recommendation is the last option from Orange. That is the sim card I use for traveling as well. It has free roaming in more than 50 contries and topping up online is easy, fast and reliable. Click on the link to check out all the details, order it directly and get it shipped to your home address.
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I hope all the above tips for buying a prepaid Switzerland sim card were helpful. May you still have questions please leave me a comment below. I am also more than happy to help you out with questions and travel tips for Swiss.
Enjoy your trip to Switzerland!
Some links in this article about the best Swiss sim card are affiliate links. If you buy any of the products after using the outgoing links I’ll earn a small commission. Don’t worry this is at no extra cost to you, but I have the duty to inform you. Thank you for your understanding!