"Shock prices" and high roaming charges still common in Switzerland
Despite new laws by the Swiss government to limit data roaming charges on mobile phones, consumer advocates have accused telecom companies of “trying to keep the cash cow alive.” They say some companies have not set reasonable limits on roaming charges, which can leave customers up to 500 Swiss francs in the red.
Roaming charge limits remain high in Switzerland
In July 2021, the government announced changes to its “Telecommunications Act,” which allows new customers to set their own cost limits on additional roaming charges. For those who are already on a data plan, telecom operators are supposed to set a “standard limit” across all users for extra data, phone and roaming use - but consumer advocates say this is causing issues.
Salt., for example, had set its standard limit at 1.000 Swiss francs - 500 for telephone costs and 500 for data - before public pressure forced it to lower the price to 500 Swiss francs total. Other companies have also kept prices high, at between 100 and 500 Swiss francs. As roaming charges are usually accrued in error, “Shock prices are unfortunately still possible depending on the provider,” said Managing Director for the Foundation for Consumer Protection, Sara Stalder.
Calls to set reasonable limits on data roaming
She accused Salt. of “salami tactics”, a German phrase meaning to react or confess to an error by slowly admitting the truth and adjusting a policy. She noted the 500 Swiss franc limit was still far too high and called for all telecom operators to set reasonable limits on excess costs.
In response, Salt. said in a statement that hardly anyone reaches the top limit of their roaming charges, which is why it sees no need to set a lower limit. In a statement, they said, “There are no plans to adapt them further. However, in the event of “accidents” we are always accommodating."