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Old 19.02.2008, 01:51
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Mobile Phone Options in Switzerland and US

First of all this is my first post here. I have been reading for several days and love what I have been seeing. I am sorry if this is repetitive but I feel in these cases each person has there own issue. I may been moving to Basel in July for a two year assignment and I currently am a satisfied Verizon Wireless customer. I spoke to their customer support today and realize that I need to let them go once moved. My issue is the following:

1) I need a number that my employees in the the states can call from work or their cells and have no International call charges

2) I need a local Swiss number so my kids can call and tell me they are home from school without calling a US number

3) I need a number that I can use when I come back to the US for quarterly meetings

I could care less what service/provider that I need , I know I need an International phone and I MUST have data access for email and Internet too. Please let me know the best options for each of these scenarios. Cost is really not an issue as my company will pay for it but I want to make sure I am covering all bases.
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Old 19.02.2008, 08:48
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Re: Mobile Phone Options in Switzerland and US

I am currently using AT&T in Switzerland as I'm only here for a month; I have a Motorola Razr. The service has been great - even in the small villages I've visited I get crystal reception. And friends can call with no international fees. In the states, service is generally good - it tends to drop in basements and on subways, but mostly a-ok. I can't recommend the phone however, it's user-interface borders on deplorable. I don't use it for email or internet, so I can't comment on that issue.
Still, I pay $0.99/minute for incoming and outgoing calls with the U.S., and $0.50/message for texts. This is fine for one month, but I imagine the cost would quickly outstrip the simplicity. Perhaps you need to have one international phone and a carrier in each country - pop in a different SIM for each country. Or perhaps someone else can describe the possibilities with just a Swiss carrier (if you haven't yet, check comparis.ch).
Good luck! Let us know what you find.
.n
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Old 19.02.2008, 09:10
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Re: Mobile Phone Options in Switzerland and US

I have set up a Vonage phone with multiple US numbers for people to reach me in CH from the US. So my parents can make a local call from CA and fiancee's parents can make a local call from NC. All it takes is a high speed data connection and you pay Vonage a monthly fee for unlimited calling to just about anywhere in the world (US$30.00/month). You can have these calls forwarded to a CH mobile phone, for a small cost. I think AT&T offers a similar VOIP plan.

Can't advise on the mobile phone/data plan. I use Orange (without data) and seems to be the best for me traveling throughout Europe and to US. I seem to remember a recent thread about data plans that you can probably find. I think Orange was highly rated.

If you want to keep your US mobile, you can switch to the cheapest monthly plan and when you get to the US, swap the US SIM card with the Swiss one. I carry multiple SIM cards, though roaming charges are dropping so I have gotten rid of most of my Euro SIMS.

Good luck.

Last edited by fduvall; 19.02.2008 at 09:32.
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Old 19.02.2008, 09:22
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Re: Mobile Phone Options in Switzerland and US

There used to be a couple of models of GSM phones that allowed multiple cards to be inserted and used at the same time. Apparently, the carriers didn't like this, and you can't get them any more. There are a few dodgy after-market solutions that you can find on the web, but I don't think they allow you to use both cards at the same time.

Another option would be do get an computer running asterisk (or some other phone switching software) to run as your central phone system at home/in the office. You could use this to funnel various voip numbers into the box and then have it call out to whatever phone you need it to at the time.

It's not a very simple solution, but what you're asking for is a bit complex.

You should check out voip providers like switzernet, sipcall and sipphone. You can search through the forum to find out what sort of experiences people have had with these companies.

Myself, I have a number in the US from sipphone (Gizmo). Which rings my Siemens 450 IP wireless handset. It does, however need to be hooked into a landline. Adding an asterisk pc would allow forwarding to a cell phone. There might be providers that already provide forwarding to cell phones as a service.

Oh, and as a last note. Verizon's network protocol, CDMA, is incompatible with most of the world's cell phone networks. To my knowledge the only network available in Europe is GSM, this is certainly the case in Switzerland. You'll need a three or four band GSM phone to access the networks here.
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Old 19.02.2008, 10:49
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Re: Mobile Phone Options in Switzerland and US

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Oh, and as a last note. Verizon's network protocol, CDMA, is incompatible with most of the world's cell phone networks. To my knowledge the only network available in Europe is GSM, this is certainly the case in Switzerland. You'll need a three or four band GSM phone to access the networks here.
there are a few CDMA / W-CDMA operators in Europe, but mostly in CEE - Zapp in Romania being an example. This is more to do with data than voice, as the lack of infrastructure makes it cheaper to deploy CDMA technology.

for the OP, I would advise a VoIP set up for incoming calls, you may want to explore a dual handset with both GSM & VoIP over Wireless Broadband / 3G. Nokia N95 being a good example

with regards to roaming charges, I would opt for Orange, as their coverage & rates are much better than either Swisscom or Sunrise on business tarrifs, especially to the US & Western Europe.
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Old 25.06.2008, 12:24
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Re: Mobile Phone Options in Switzerland and US

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there are a few CDMA / W-CDMA operators in Europe, but mostly in CEE - Zapp in Romania being an example. This is more to do with data than voice, as the lack of infrastructure makes it cheaper to deploy CDMA technology.

for the OP, I would advise a VoIP set up for incoming calls, you may want to explore a dual handset with both GSM & VoIP over Wireless Broadband / 3G. Nokia N95 being a good example

with regards to roaming charges, I would opt for Orange, as their coverage & rates are much better than either Swisscom or Sunrise on business tarrifs, especially to the US & Western Europe.

I think all these responses are useful, to a point, but the original inquiry asks too much for what is possible and economical.

There is only one real solution to this matter, and that is:

1. In Switzerland, you cannot escape the charges (you'll get them on your mobile phone bill) for incoming or outgoing calls on a Swiss network, which you will have to have.
2. A triband is a minimal system, and all of the local carriers (Swisscom, Orange, and Sunrise) provide this.
3. Watch out for the unsolicited and unadvised automatic renewal on an annual or other period contract. If you do not advise you do not want to renew with a minimum of 90 days notice, you are on the hook (no pun intended) for another year for monthly basic charges.
4. It is true that Orange has the most competitive plans and is probably the most economical way to satisfy most of your needs.
5. You can't have your cake and eat it, too. The best combination is to live with the Swiss-supplied mobile and get a trunk overseas plan (via Worldcom or something similar) with a US-based toll free number or discounted international calls to Switzerland included. This way, you avoid the outgoing charges for air time from your kids or other US-based landline callers, though you cannot avoid the airtime costs on the incoming to your mobile. At least, only you will see the costs on the deadly monthly statement.
6. I have had both Swisscom and Orange, and have found that once you tell Swisscom you are quitting them because of higher charges, they seem to cave and offer better plans. I have avoided Sunrise, because my colleagues have had terrible experiences with them. Shedding Sunrise is similar to trying to get rid of old luggage...seems to stay with you for life.
7. What I do is to try to get people to call me on the mobile only in emergencies, and to leave a voice mail. If this cannot be done for one reason or another, I ask that they please call me on my landline at a convenient time. Costs for landline calls are pretty good from either direction to/from Switzerland, and even Swisscom has a good half-tariff plan, if you insist on it.
8. Skype is the best solution for lengthy calls.
9. Swisscom has a deathgrip on overall communications, as you will find in most European countries that they are behind the excessive, not to say usurious charges for hotel Internet access.

I think that Swisscom is trying to be more competitive these days, but, as they say, caveat emptor intro SIM (watch out, buyer!).
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Old 25.06.2008, 13:02
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Re: Mobile Phone Options in Switzerland and US

I had a meeting last week with a company called United Mobile (www.united-mobile.com). They have just moved their HQ to Zurich and seem to be offering really good rates for int'l roaming and will be offering data services soon.

Anyone used them or heard of them? I am thinking of trying them out, as there does not seem to be any contract. I don't need data services, at the moment, but definitely travel a lot outside of CH and could benefit from lower roaming rates. Looks like you have to have a Lichtenstein # and prepay.

fduvall
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Old 25.06.2008, 14:54
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Re: Mobile Phone Options in Switzerland and US

I tried to phone United after visiting their Website. I had also e-mailed them, but still have no response. I waited on the phone queue for about 15 minutes before being advised that they were very "busy", and would I please call back. I was immediately and uncermoniously disconnected.

Not very promising, if one must anticipate the inevitable service technical help calls.

As another alternative, WRS (World Radio Switzerland) in Geneva is touting another service including a simple phone for "seniors" to be introduced at a selling price of around Sfr 100. This is to be provided by Goldinc of Neuchâtel. Whether or not you are interested in this phone, the "Gadget Guru" has an audio series (2 of 3) in which Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Apple's 3G, and Samsung phone models are rather objectively discussed. Worth the few minutes to download and listen to.

Check out http://www.worldradio.ch/wrs/news/sw...rs.shtml?10374 for WRS and

http://www.goldinc.ch/pdf/altoen.pdf

for a special phone for seniors, the Alto.

Good luck.
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Old 27.06.2008, 04:56
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Re: Mobile Phone Options in Switzerland and US

Thanks for all of your help. Since posting here I dropped and broke my current Verizon phone so when looking at options I spent almost an hour on the phone with a very helpful Verizon rep. I decided to go with the Blackberry World Edition for use in Switzerland. To be honest I am not going to know 30-40 Swiss folks while there so will not spend much time on the phone. It comes with unlimited data for $99 which will allow me to email and stay up with work when not at home. The per minute rate is outrageous at .99 per minute but have no intentions of using the phone just for "chatty" conversations. I think I will get a Swiss phone to carry around in town and that should take carry of all my coverage?
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Old 27.06.2008, 07:18
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Re: Mobile Phone Options in Switzerland and US

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There used to be a couple of models of GSM phones that allowed multiple cards to be inserted and used at the same time.
They've become increasingly popular and there are now a couple of models readily available:

http://www.expansys.ch/p.aspx?i=161646

or:

http://www1.ch2.conrad.com/scripts/w...kies=&cookie_n[1]=ch2_insert&cookie_v[1]=R9&cookie_d[1]=&cookie_p[1]=%2f&cookie_e[1]=Tue%2c+29-Jul-2008+04%3a19%3a15+GMT&scrwidth=1920

Just put in a US-SIM and a Swiss one and you're all set.

Peter
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Old 27.06.2008, 08:39
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Re: Mobile Phone Options in Switzerland and US

I've been here a month and use AT&T with no problems (fewer dropped calls than in the USA). But for the convenience of having colleagues and family call a US number it costs a bundle as other posts have mentioned. If you have receive lots of data then your monthly bill can easily exceed $500.
One other option is to have an international calling card (I use Pingo but there are many others). When calling from the USA or from here you need to enter a string of numbers but once you are past that you dial as if you were dialling long distance in the US (i.e. 1 + area code then number). It costs pennies per minute and of course you can program your phones to call the access numbers
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Old 27.06.2008, 15:01
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Re: Mobile Phone Options in Switzerland and US

Hello there are some better alternatives
1. Keep your US number so people can call you: Get VOIP provider that supports Number portability

2. Calling US for "free" -- you can get swiss 800 number with your VOIP provider that you can call in through the same as if you are using your wired VOIP service - Switzerland subscription is USD10/month.

3. Receiving calls from US -- You can use a normal land line phone (with internet connection). what I do is forward the calls to my work number which costs 2 cents per minute (calling a Swiss land line from the US) and when needed to my cell phone from Work.

So I do this with JoiPhone their service is 6.99 per month or 8.95 for unlimited calling to US and Canada -- other International options exists for calling free to various countries. I made an extensive research and they are the cheapest VOIP with all features including phone portability.

If you want to use them use me as referral and you will get $15 credit



Ah yeah and I use a pre-paid Sim Card when I'm in the US -- T-mobile has the best rates on that.

And Dual Sim phones -- check eBay thye have a bunch and some of them do work with 2 SIMs at the same time
For 150 you will get PDA like phone from a Chinese Maker

Last edited by Nathu; 07.09.2009 at 22:03. Reason: Email removed on user's request.
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