Sep 13 2009

Skype: now available on trains and your cellphone

by at 9:13 pm

Last year, before I left for Switzerland, I switched my T-mobile account from a regular monthly contract (post-paid—seriously, that’s what I’ve seen it called), to pre-paid, since I wanted to keep the number and have it work when I got back for the summer, but I didn’t want to pay in the interim.  Of course, I did have to pay a bit every so often so the account would stay open.

When we returned to the US in August I was careful not to make too  many calls, receiving them instead, just like Jackie does here in Switzerland, where her phone is prepaid and I have a monthly contract.  A week or so into August, I was shocked to discover only 70 cents remained on my account, down from ~$35.  As a tech support person patiently explained, you get charged for incoming minutes in the US.  Shoot.  I felt like a clueless European tourist.  The rest of August, I mostly stole Jackie’s phone.

Upon our return to Switzerland, we’ve considered and made various decisions regarding phones and the like.  Jackie really wanted a 3G internet everywhere USB-stick deal, so we check out the under-26 offers from Swisscom and Orange.  To save you some work, here is how they stack up:

Orange Swisscom
Price/month 39.- CHF 39.- CHF
Initial price for a 12 month contract 79.- CHF 129.- CHF
Data caps per month? After 5 gig you get throttled 5 gig. Period.
Hidden fees no. 40.- CHF for the SIM card

(1 CHF ≈ .96 US$) Ugh.  Swisscom is worse, or no better, on every count, right?  Also, the Orange salespeople were way nicer than the Swisscom guy we talked to, but this may be a Lausanne (where we went to Swisscom) vs. Zurich (where we went to Orange) thing.  This kind of makes me wonder if the rest of our Swisscom services are good, or laughably terrible deals.

We’ve hardly used our landline, so this morning I called Swisscom to find out about canceling it, ultimately hoping to replace it by a VOIP thing like Switzernet.  Sure, they informed me, we can cancel your landline, but then we have to transfer your DSL subscription to your mobile account.  Ok, I said, and if we do that, the price doubles.  What?  Yeah, the under-26 deal is only available for landline subscribers.  Here’s the breakdown:

What we have now What Swisscom cheerfully proposed
25.45 CHF for the landline no landline
24.50 CHF for DSL 49.- CHF for DSL
Total: 49.95 CHF Total: 49.- CHF

Right.  Thanks, but no thanks.  The customer representative was very jolly about all of this, but I got off the phone quickly, before I found out about any more terrible deals from Swisscom. Also, she said the under-26 deal only lasts a year, and it’s a little unclear when our year is up, so I didn’t want her taking a closer look at our account.

So: keeping the DSL and landline, but now, thanks to Orange, Jackie (or me if I steal her laptop or use my Google phone with its Swisscom data plan) can be on the Internet everywhere!  Including on Skype!  Yet another reason for you to get a Skype account and give us a call.  And, by the way, if you want to be able to call us straight from your cell phone, no data plan required (though iPhone has an app), Skype to Go seems to be quite magic: Michelle called us with it the other day and it showed up on Jackie’s cellphone as coming from Michelle’s cellphone in the US.  Crazy.  (Actually, it kind of scared me).

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3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Skype: now available on trains and your cellphone”

  1. HSFon 18 Sep 2009 at 1:52 am

    how did you two do all this investigating in French?! you must have really progressed!

    do you have high holiday plans?

  2. SwissWatching » Here from Expatica.ch?on 29 Oct 2009 at 6:25 pm

    […] A comparison of Swiss telephony options and news about Skype that your friends at home might want to… […]

  3. […] a backup plan for what you might do if focus just isn’t there, like investing in an internet everywhere USB stick for your computer or a data plan on your phone, carrying along an ipod with your favorite podcasts […]

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