Mobile communications services

The mobile communications services index, based on the three main Swiss service providers, decreased by an average of 10.2% for an average user compared with the previous year. This increase varied depending on the particular market segment (subscriptions or prepaid cards). Prices decreased 1.9% for average users with a subscription whereas the index decreased strongly by 22.1% for those who use a prepaid card. The analysis also took into consideration several mobile service resellers, and their performance was compared with the overall indexes which are calculated for the three main providers. The study included mobile telephony, SMS and mobile data services.  

Slight upward trend for most users

The price trend between 2017 and 2018 is characterised by a decrease in prices for all types of users. The small user saw his bill decrease by 9.0%, the average user by 10.2% and the large user by 7.6%.

Subscriptions vs prepaid cards

Prepaid offerings generally stand out as being the most suitable for users with an average or low consumption. Conversely, subscriptions are the best way of meeting heavy users' needs. 

However, if we only consider Swisscom, Sunrise and Salt (Orange) products, it is apparent that this has not been the case since 2011. Subscriptions are now often more beneficial for average users and prepaid cards remain the best option for light users in some cases. This change is explained by the strategy adopted by the major providers; they are making subscriptions more attractive compared to prepaid cards and are leaving the prepaid card market to mobile service resellers, although recent efforts have led to a rapprochement. 

In the subscription market, between 2017 and 2018 prices slightly decreased, while in the prepaid card market, there are significant price decreases due to the launch of new products, and in particular that of the Sunrise supplier, which offers unlimited consumption in 90 days. On the subscription market, prices have stagnated: +2.7% for a small user, -1.9% for an average user and, finally, -1.8% for a large user. In the prepaid card market, the price trend is: -36.9% for a small user, -22.1% for an average user and -11.3% for a large user.

Special cases

As in previous years, 2018 was characterised by atypical products which cannot meaningfully be compared with other products. These products stand out from the competition by offering prices that are much lower for calls terminating in the same mobile network. In reality, however, these tariffs apply only rarely because the market shares of these providers are relatively small. Caution is therefore advisable when interpreting their positioning.

 
Price indexes for mobile communications services based on user profiles, 100 = 2012 period, source: OFCOM
Year Light user Average user Heavy user

1998

204.6

261.2

358.1

1999

192.1

243.5

326

2000

184.8

224.9

289.6

2001

155.2

226.3

296.7

2002

155

224.5

289.8

2003

154.8

222.6

286.6

2004

153.6

221.8

284.7

2005

145.3

188

240.8

2006

118.2

139.3

162.4

2007

117.4

137.5

159.4

2008

114.8

132.3

148.8

2009

119.3

134

148.1

2010

117.7

129.6

138

2011

115.2

122.1

139

2012

100

100

100

2013

90.6

94.7

104

2014

76.5

91.8

95.7

2015

66.2

72.1

70.4

2016

64.3

69.4

69.5

2017

64.3

73.6

71.5

2018  58.5  66.1  66.1 

Specialist staff
Last modification 04.01.2019

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