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Old 28.08.2014, 07:25
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Using my USA cell phone in Switzerland?

Hi! So I am moving to Switzerland for a year in the next couple of months. I am planning on keeping my current cell phone. I just recently bought it and I love it. It's a Samsung Galaxy s5 and I was just wondering if anyone knew what kind of adapter I would need to charge it in Switzerland? I know they make many, but I wasn't sure which one exactly or what to look for as in certain specs or requirements, voltage, etc. I wouldn't want to just buy one and risk damaging my battery.

Also, as far as using my phone abroad, I do not plan on using an international plan with Verizon (my current provider). My phone is unlocked and can be used overseas with a valid SIM card. I was told by customer service that I would just need a Swiss SIM card and that I would have a Swiss number and I would pay the Swiss company. How exactly would I go about that? I read that Zurich has a Swisscom shop in the airport. Would I absolutely have to go the prepaid route with the SIM card? If anyone has had experience with this, it would be great to be enlightened!

If anyone can help me, so I can be better prepared, that'd just be awesome. And if this wasn't the correct forum to post in, I do apologize and would appreciate being redirected. I've been a creeper on here the past three months, but just now registered.
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Old 28.08.2014, 09:57
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Re: Using my USA cell phone in Switzerland?

You don't need a voltage changer, just a simple US to CH plug adapter.

You can go to Swisscom or Orange etc and set up a sim only contract where you keep your phone, or get a pay as you go sim. For a contract you will need your residence permit first, so might be easier to start with prepay then switch to a contract once you are settled.
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Old 29.08.2014, 20:58
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Re: Using my USA cell phone in Switzerland?

Thank you very much for your information and help!
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Old 29.08.2014, 21:30
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Re: Using my USA cell phone in Switzerland?

This might be outdated but Verizon uses CDMA, which doesn't operate on sim cards, and their phones dont have a slot to put the sim card in. That was true about 3 years ago though, and I dont know about now.
If your phone does have a slot, and is unlocked, you can put any sim card from any swiss operator in and use it.
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Old 29.08.2014, 22:09
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Re: Using my USA cell phone in Switzerland?

you may find with many pre-pay SIMs that you need a Swiss passport or permit.
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Old 01.09.2014, 11:18
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Re: Using my USA cell phone in Switzerland?

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you may find with many pre-pay SIMs that you need a Swiss passport or permit.
Actually, you should just need a valid ID, Swiss or not, (like your American passport) to register in shop. This comes from the new regulations that were created as a part of anti-terrorism measures (in order to identify pre-paid Sim cards owners and prevent them from using it to build bombs).
For any post-paid though, you might need a permit, that will allow the operator to make sure you're leaving (and staying) in CH, and will be here to pay for it each month. Tip : your passport and a residence certificate from the local residents’ registration office should be enough to subscribe to a post-paid offer at Swisscom, for exemple, saving you a few weeks.
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Old 01.09.2014, 11:23
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Re: Using my USA cell phone in Switzerland?

so you agree then....?

After 9/11, the Swiss companies required any passport.

In the past 3-4 years, this has become a requirement to prove residence. Certainly, Swisscom, Orange and Sunrise all require evidence of residence and that usually is an official document (i.e. permit).

I don't know if the MVNOs also require this but I expect it to be the case.
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Old 01.09.2014, 11:41
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Re: Using my USA cell phone in Switzerland?

Why would one need to have residence?

I certainly have Italian friends with no Swiss residence who have Swiss phone cards, as well as Swiss residents (such as myself) who have Italian phone cards with no Italian residence, in fact I got one a couple weeks ago.

Tom
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Old 01.09.2014, 12:08
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Re: Using my USA cell phone in Switzerland?

Verizon is going GSM.

One does not need to have residence here in Switzerland to get a prepaid SIM, but to get a contract residence is necessary.
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Old 01.09.2014, 12:17
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Re: Using my USA cell phone in Switzerland?

Yes, for postpaid :-) For prepaid, just your passport is enough.
I also don't know for the MVNOs, but you're right, I also expect it the be the case.
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Old 01.09.2014, 12:56
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Re: Using my USA cell phone in Switzerland?

Don't use an adapter.
You simply need a microUSB cable. It's got a microUSB connector on one end that goes to the phone, and two rounded pins on the other. This connector is called "Europlug", you can use it in most Europe countries, including all countries bordering Switzerland.
As a matter of fact, most phones now use a microUSB connector because of EU regulations. Even Apple will have to comply by 2017.
You can find this cable everywhere.

The Galaxy S5 needs a card in microSIM format. Ask for that or just show your phone to the shop employee.
If you've got the CDMA version of the phone, I've read it will work here in Europe on 2G (GSM), 3G (HSPA), and 4G (LTE) networks.

Although there all dozens of mobile carriers in Switzerland such as Coop Mobile, Aldi Mobile, M-Budget Mobile and so on, there really are only 3 network operators: Swisscom, Sunrise / TDC and Orange.
Swisscom has the best network coverage and much more 3G/4G.
M-Budget Mobile uses the Swisscom network and is a cheaper alternative to Swisscom which is very expensive if you don't use your phone much, however they (only) have flat rate plans.

There is a very helpful website listing all the plans for all the operators:
http://en.comparis.ch/telecom/mobile.aspx

Hope this helps!
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Old 01.09.2014, 13:23
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Re: Using my USA cell phone in Switzerland?

It has not been mentioned yet, but can purchase just the north america to swiss plug adapter for 5-6 francs at larger jumbos.

Full voltage inverters are a bit harder to come by over a need of 500w. But chances are, if you need over 500w you are likely to be in switzerland for a while and will purchase new items as needed.
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