iPhone frenzy heats up in Switzerland: a view from within

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Across Europe, Apple's mobile service partners and mobile phone retail outlets have begun prominent marketing efforts for the new iPhone 3G. Here in Switzerland, mobile phone stores and electronics stores have been selling iPhone accessories for months, despite the fact that nobody has been selling the iPhone itself.



Grey market already flourishing



The lack of official availability hasn't stopped consumers from importing the phone into the country themselves; the weak dollar has made it popular to travel to New York or San Francisco to buy several iPhones and then resell them here, paying for the trip.



In May, daily newspaper 20 Minuten reported that 42,000 iPhones were already in use in Switzerland, citing Swisscom spokesman Carsten Roetz, who said 25,000 iPhones were in use on his company's network, Orange spokeswoman Therese Wenger, who said there were 10,000 iPhones users on her network, and Sevgi Gezici, who reported an additional 7,000 iPhones were in use on the Sunrise network.



Competition to kick into overdrive



Now however, service providers and mobile outlets including Mobilezone are counting down to July 11, when the iPhone 3G will officially go on sale here. Window banners at Mobilezone were promoting the launch with the tagline "Das iPhone, auf das Sie gewartet haben," (the iPhone that you've been waiting for), placed front and center surrounded by more price-oriented advertisements for heavily subsidized Sony Ericsson and Nokia phones.







Of the three Swiss mobile providers, Orange and Swisscom will be competing to provide official service for the iPhone 3G. Current iPhones can roam across any of the GSM networks here, although Swisscom typically offers the best coverage. The third network, Sunrise, has limited EDGE service in many areas, forcing the current crops of iPhones to fall back to the even slower GPRS data service when browsing the web or checking email.



Users without an existing plan in another country have to jailbreak the existing iPhone first, which then allows it to work with any SIM card on any provider with full data service apart from the use of Visual Voicemail. Attempts to use that feature are simply transferred to an audio call into standard voicemail. While the iPhone 3G will be tied to either Orange or Swisscom, those 42,000 existing iPhones will continue to work on any provider and the new model will presumably be cracked in short order for users who want to use Sunrise. Â*



No iPhones: How About an iPod Touch?



Sunrise competes mainly on price, offering cheaper plans and higher subsidies for new phones. While it won't be selling the iPhone 3G, it is already marketing the iPod Touch. In a newspaper advertisement for consumer electronics superstore InterDiscount, Sunrise offered a bundle of the Nokia 2630 and an 8GB iPod Touch, both subsidized into the same service plan for just 49 Swiss Franc ($49 US) upfront.



The curious plan is described as "ohne Grundgebühr" (without basic charge rate plan), but lasts for 24 months and requires a "Mindestverbrauch" (minimum purchase) of 24 Swiss Francs ($24 US) per month throughout the term.





Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    Doesn't the Apple ad look classy next to the cheesy ones either side in the top pic?



    I am hanging on for a PAYG iPhone from O2 in the Uk - was gutted when they announced t would not be coming until Christmas - had hoped it would be available on 11 July alongside contract phones
  • Reply 2 of 11
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 1,755member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    No iPhones: How About an iPod Touch?



    Sunrise competes mainly on price, offering cheaper plans and higher subsidies for new phones. While it won't be selling the iPhone 3G, it is already marketing the iPod Touch. In a newspaper advertisement for consumer electronics superstore InterDiscount, Sunrise offered a bundle of the Nokia 2630 and an 8GB iPod Touch, both subsidized into the same service plan for just 49 Swiss Franc ($49 US) upfront.






    OK, this is pretty cool! This helps sell iPods and makes Apple look good at the same time! It sort of indicates, if you dont have an iPhone, at least you must have an iPod--making other phone/MP3 players look useless...



    I wonder if people are taking it up?
  • Reply 3 of 11
    You've just mentioned in your article that Sunrise has limited EDGE coverage.



    In fact they have limited 3G coverage (HSDPA @3.6Mbps) and pretty extensive EDGE coverage as much as every other provider here in switzerland, thanks to network sharing among providers. In fact they're the only network to offer an unlimited flat(ish: 3.5CHF.- per day of usage) rate for data called "[email protected] Away".



    Here are some other offers from sunrise for mobile internet.



    I'm personally an Orange customer (already ordered my 16GB Black this morning), but for mobile access through my Mac I use a [email protected] Away (until tethering through the iPhone is official) with a Novatel USB Modem MC950D and I'm quite happy with coverage/speed for the moment, but I'm not the most mobile of people, I only use it from a handful of places.



    Note: Links should be available in german and italian (and some in english) use the links at the top right...
  • Reply 4 of 11
    fuyutsukifuyutsuki Posts: 293member
    Quote:

    Strong iPhone news mania has made it popular to travel from New York or San Francisco to report on several iPhone launches at once, for media outlets like AppleInsider, paying for the trip.



    Here's hoping AI did precisely that Dan. Everything else about Switzerland is damn costly!
  • Reply 5 of 11
    cedriccedric Posts: 28member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by speedmind View Post


    In fact they're the only network to offer an unlimited flat(ish: 3.5CHF.- per day of usage) rate for data called "[email protected] Away".



    Actually Swisscom has kind of a flat rate too:



    For NATEL easy liberty uno the cost of data transfer is CHF 1 / MB max. 5.- per Day

    I hope the max of 5 CHF per day applies to other subscriptions as well once the included monthly data transfer was used... However I'm not sure... I will have to ask it at the Swisscom shop
  • Reply 6 of 11
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Quote:

    iPhone frenzy heats up in Switzerland



    Did anyone spot anything in that piece that would indicate a 'frenzy' taking place in Switzerland?



    Me neither.



    Remind me, does Apple make anything else besides phones? I seem to vaguely recall they used to do other stuff but haven't seen any of it mentioned in a while
  • Reply 7 of 11
    swissmac2swissmac2 Posts: 216member
    Funny how the article concentrates on the one Swiss provider who will not be able to offer any iPhones on Friday! As for saying "the new model will presumably be cracked in short order for users who want to use Sunrise." that is a bit misleading because as I understand it contracts need to be signed before iPhones can be taken away so even if you jailbreak or unlock it, you will still have to pay the contract. When the author mentions "roaming across other networks" I read this as being for "those users not normally resident in Switzerland" because all European mobile phone companies allow their phones to call all numbers on all networks (not just those on their own network as I once read some networks do in the US) and IIRC roaming is the term used to describe what happens when you access mobile phone networks outside of the country in which you have a mobile phone contract. There is also no charge for receiving a phone call, only for making one.



    Swisscom has an HSPA 3G network that covers 85% of the population at up to 7.2 Mbps. Its cheapest business plan costs CHF 12.- pcm (plus another CHF 10 pm for the data option with 100 Mb pm). The cheapest private plan is CHF 25.- a month. One drawback with the Swisscom offer is the high cost of data downloads. The cheapest contract only offers 100 Mb then it's onto CHF 1 per 10 Mb. Cost of WiFi is worse though - Fr. 230.- per month. Swisscom only offer a 24 month minimum contract term. The 8 Gb /16 Gb iPhone cost is CHF 249/349 with them for both business and private. It does reduce if you pay more per month though.



    Orange currently offers HSPDA with speeds of up to 3.6 Mbps. At least Orange include 1 Gb data in their CHF 44.- pm package as well as 30 mins talk time, 100 min WiFi from 1,500 hotspots and 50 SMS texts - and they only have a 12 month minimum tie in. Cost of 8 Gb iPhone on 12/24 month contract is CHF 349/199 for the cheapest of 3 packages. CHF 50 more for the 16 Gb. As with Swisscom, it does reduce if you pay more per month though.



    If you used all Orange offer on Swisscom it would cost a lot more than with Orange, but a low use user would do better with the A la Carte Swisscom contracts with per minute, per text and per Mb billing. My problem is, as a new user on an iPhone, how much data can I expect to download? Will I use the iPhone more because it is so easy to use? Decisions, decisions...
  • Reply 8 of 11
    isb74isb74 Posts: 2member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SwissMac2 View Post


    Funny how the article concentrates on the one Swiss provider who will not be able to offer any iPhones on Friday! As for saying "the new model will presumably be cracked in short order for users who want to use Sunrise." that is a bit misleading because as I understand it contracts need to be signed before iPhones can be taken away so even if you jailbreak or unlock it,



    Well - there is still the prepay offer from Swisscom for the 8GB (CHF 519) and 16 GB (CHF 619), although it is not so clear how that one will work out besides that it will be simlocked...



    @SwissMac2: you might want to have a look at the graphic here: http://www.20min.ch/digital/dossier/...story/10344982 (follow link to "Infografik: iPhone Swiscom-Orange") - it will show you how much you would pay for the iPhone 3G by price AND contract fees over the 12, resp. 24 month of use/contract duration...



    On the rest I'll agree - it is a little hard to tell how much traffic one will need... I for my side am an existing swisscom user which means that I am eligible get an iphone trough swisscom, but probably less subsidied as new users would be (swisscom could not tell me on the phone how much it will be - I will have to go to a shop to ask - a little bit awkward... and adding more confusion to the whole business )
  • Reply 9 of 11
    swissmac2swissmac2 Posts: 216member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by isb74 View Post


    Well - there is still the prepay offer from Swisscom for the 8GB (CHF 519) and 16 GB (CHF 619), although it is not so clear how that one will work out besides that it will be simlocked...



    Orange will also have a non-Package deal with iPhones at CHF 759 / 899. Not sure if this is a contract just the same, but you pay per unit used, or as a PAYG, or as an unlocked phone.



    I'm currently on a Swisscom business contract, so will only have to pay CHF 12.- + CHF 10.- for data but the telephone hotline said I must go to a shop, but the shop said they know nothing about it. Looks like the shops will be open at 6.30am though not sure if I want to go down that early!



    Swisscom also said the iPhone will be available from shops like Manor, Media Markt, InterDiscount XXL and so on, but I'm not sure when. MediaMarkt said probably "in a few weeks..." but they really had no clue.
  • Reply 10 of 11
    isb74isb74 Posts: 2member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SwissMac2 View Post


    Swisscom also said the iPhone will be available from shops like Manor, Media Markt, InterDiscount XXL and so on, but I'm not sure when. MediaMarkt said probably "in a few weeks..." but they really had no clue.



    Sounds like fun (digitec.ch actually removed the iPhone from the online shop - maybe there have been so many reservations that they're afraid they might not get enoug phones...)



    In Zurich one of the swisscom shops will open 00:01 - 03:00 to sell the iphone first... no idea if there will be a similar event in other bigger cities...
  • Reply 11 of 11
    swissmac2swissmac2 Posts: 216member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by isb74 View Post


    In Zurich one of the swisscom shops will open 00:01 - 03:00 to sell the iphone first... no idea if there will be a similar event in other bigger cities...



    Sounds good. So far, only 6.30am here. And the Telephone Hotline still doesn't know how much they will be charging for upgrading an existing contract! With 65% of all mobile phone users in Switzerland being Swisscom users, you could expect all enquiries for iPhones with Swisscom to be 2:1 in favour of people extending contracts, not people asking for new ones!



    It's appalling they don't know their own prices just hours before launch. Very un-Swiss - it's just so disorganised!
Sign In or Register to comment.