Make sure to read my new Swiss Internet hacking post about what subscription I have nowadays, as well as a new recommendation about the 4G modem to use for such a setup.
Five years ago, we were coming back from half a year in Canada where we got shocked by the Internet and carrier fees. Originated from France, we were used to all-in-one subscriptions (Internet + TV + free landline calls) for 30€ and about the same for our carrier plans.
So when we arrived in Switzerland, telecom prices were less of a surprise as we got used to how they could be expensive.
That's when we realized that France was the exception and not the rule...
Follow the sheep
Mobile - Initially, we got to choose mobile subscriptions based on our international calling needs due to family being abroad so we went for Orange Switzerland. My wife and I were having each a CHF 75 carrier plan (although she was often above her plan limits, often reaching CHF 150 per month).
Home package - Regarding Internet + TV + Landline package, we chose the one that everyone was having: Swisscom. The overall price was about CHF 100.
That was when we arrived. Before we got to know more about the other options. And mostly before I got into mustachianism!
Household total telecommunication subscriptions = CHF 325/month
Four years fast forward when I was trying to optimize every single contract I had.
Mobile - I started realizing that I didn't need a 4h international talk plan. 1h in Switzerland was way enough, combined with some Skype credit in case I wanted to reach some family/friends not having VoIP softwares. All in all, my new contract was CHF 35/month.
My wife on her side found an Orange unlimited international plan for CHF 100 in order to still be able to call her friends (this one doesn't exist anywore and his counterpart is way more expensive nowadays).
Home package - After accepting the Swiss expensiveness status quo for too long, I found a nice alternative: Migros M-Budget. For CHF 59.80/month, I could have the exact same package (including the customer care and physical telecommunication cables of Swisscom) except maybe less TV channels (that we don't watch anyway) and a less fancy box design...
I was really glad to be able to reduce my home package expenses by CHF 40/month! Meaning CHF 480/year more going straight into the investment account :)
Household total telecommunication subscriptions = CHF 195/month
After we had some more discussions and previous bills analysis, we realized that most of my wife's calls could be done from home over the Wifi network (thanks to VoIP softwares such as FaceTime, Skype or Viber).
She then switched her plan to a new monthly one for about CHF 50.
Household total telecommunication subscriptions = CHF 145/month
Hacking the system!
Mobile and home package - The brighter future (that could be better, but still) lies in Orange CH new mobile pricing plans. You can now have real unlimited data subscription with no bandwidth limit after a certain usage, neither some other hidden limitations. Nothing! Unlimited for real! All that for CHF 35/month compared to the current CHF 15/month for 1Go/month plan I have.
You might be wondering how that's gonna decrease my spendings.
The answer is: I found the Graal!!! And its name is as cool as "D-Link DWR-921 4G LTE Router"!
Basically, I'm using my mobile 4G data plan as my smartphone and my home Internet. All that for "only" CHF 50/month!!!
Step 1: Get an Orange Me carrier plan
In order to prepare your hack, you need to subscribe to an "Orange Me" plan.
- TALK AND TEXT
Get the "Unlimited Orange" for CHF 15/month - that's sad one can't take a CHF 0/month for this part...
Get the "Unlimited surf" that includes unlimited 4G connection at CHF 35/month.
I called three times the customer care and got three times the same answer (unbelievable at Orange CH, I know): it is really unlimited, no bandwidth reduction after a certain consumption or other limitations of the kind.
Ditch this marketing bullshit and be careful by yourself!!! "Service" for CHF 0/month please!
- DUO PACK
Key step of this hack: subscribe to this CHF 10/month option to get a second SIM card. The data consumed by this second SIM card gets billed on the same "Unlimited Surf" option. They created this kind of option for people willing to have one single subscription for their mobile and tablet.
The good news is that with the "Unlimited Surf" plan comes Zattoo HD, so in case you really want to watch TV, you can! More infos here: Zattoo HD with Orange.
Personally, I think we are going to subscribe soon to Netflix which finally made it to Switzerland. But that's another topic for a future blogpost!
Step 2: Order a D-Link DWR-921 4G LTE Router on digitec.ch
Consider that as the investment part of this Swiss telecommunication hack. CHF 212 in order to reduce your monthly expenses on the long run. You can order it here: D-Link DWR-921 4G LTE Router.
Step 3: Plug the second SIM card in the router, and enjoy!
The magic of this piece of technology is that you can plug a SIM card into it. Then it uses the Orange 4G cellular network and makes the Internet available via a regular Wifi connection to your home laptops. As simple as that!!! Browse the web, download files, play online games, watch streaming series, etc., as if you were on a usual (and expensive) Swiss telecom ADSL plan!
Step 4: BONUS - Enjoy a faster Internet at home
In case you have a slow ADSL connection such as we experience it in Yverdon-les-Bains, then this hack will be a life changing!
The 4G network technology has a bandwidth between standard ADSL and optical fiber. Taking my home as an example: we moved from a download bandwidth of 6Mo/sec to 36Mo/sec. And the upload changed from 0.5Mo/sec to 16Mo/sec!!! Great, isn't it? And we now pay even less for that!!!
Household total telecommunication subscriptions = CHF 100/month
The situation is still not ideal when compared to close countries such as France. But I keep optimizing it! I think that's the main lesson I learnt during this past year. I like to review all my contracts at least once a year in order to discover what's new on the market.
So far, only for our household telecommunication subscriptions, we reduced our monthly expenses from CHF 325 to CHF 100.
That's CHF 2'700/year more in the investment account!!!
And you? Tell me about your Swiss hacks! Can't wait to read them in the comments section below.
I've been so late to get back on track with all my todo regarding the blog these last days... Sorry about this!
I had this update to do since beginning of December and only today I find time to keep you posted about how things went after this blogpost!
When I published it initially, I was in touch with Orange Switzerland in order to get my second SIM card and my subscription upgrade to an unlimited plan. The "was in touch" period got extended from end of October to end of November 2014. I didn't check accurately but I remind to have waited and get pissed off against Orange employees during about 7h of phone calls in total.
To make the story short, they basically can't upgrade an existing subscription with the "Duo Pack" also called "Multisurf". The option must be subscribed to while you renew or register for a new contract. This is due to a bug in their (damn) IT system...
The last option they gave me was: "Just be patient sir, you should be able to subscribe to it in some weeks or months...". Me: "WTF?!?!".
Having tried many negotiations with them, they couldn't offer me a proposal close enough to the deal I had explained you so I gave up and try another option.
As I told you in this post, my contract with Migros M-budget was ending by the end of November 2014. Few days before the deadline, seeing that Orange couldn't make anything for my case, I called them to renew my contract for another deal. I explained them that I found a cheaper alternative than theirs so I wanted to check with them if they could do a commercial gesture... Of course they always can when you are ready to cancel!
Here is what I negotiated:
- Lower my plan to the minimum amount CHF 54.80 instead of my previous CHF 59.80 - as we never use the landline phone feature which costs CHF 5 per month.
- Get the "7 days Replay" feature for free as they offered it before Christmas. This helps watching what we want and not undergo the dumb stuff usually planned during evenings...
- Get two months of subscription for free as a commercial gesture because of the Orange's cheaper option. Hence this reduces our monthly Internet plan to CHF 45 per month. Better than nothing...
We end up with CHF 30 (wife's Orange plan) + CHF 30 (my Orange plan) + CHF 45 (Migros M-budget plan) = total household telecom budget of CHF 105 per month.
This isn't too bad, even though our Internet connection is still a bit too slow for my taste. But well, luckily, we also got a new M-budget router which seems to have improved this point!
I feel confused to have posted this hack before having fully tested it. I mean it works as I checked with my dual-sim modem. But I couldn't test for you whether Orange Unlimited promise was still kept, even after hundreds of Go downloaded...
On the other hand, this reminded me to always negotiate any contract one can subscribe too - even more when the contract period is ending!
Last but not least, I really hope that this blogpost will soon become obsolete with the recent Orange Switzerland acquisition by Xavier Niel, the father of Free in France.
If he doesn't manage to bring the monthly costs to CHF 29 for an all-inclusive package by next year, I will make sure to update this post with some more experiment on the telecom side - be it with a dual-sim router or some other fancy piece of technology.
In case you tried out the initial hack, please keep us posted via the comments below! I'm very interested to know whether Orange keeps its promise or not!