Saturday, May 31, 2008

Getting a Cell Phone in Switzerland

So a few weeks ago I wrote about how I finally canceled our cell phone contract in the States, well today we finally got around to getting Jace a cell phone.

Wait, scratch that.

We got around to it - but didn't get it. Let me explain.

When you arrive in Switzerland, you can't take out a cell phone plan unless you have a Swiss Ausweiss - or a Swiss residence permit. Once you register within your canton, they'll give you a temporary permit until you get your 'permanent' permit. You can use this piece of paper to get a cell phone plan. Just take it to any cell phone retailer... however, there is a catch. You can't take out a monthly payment plan until you have your permanent permit... or so we thought!

Today when we went to sign up for a monthly plan, the kind customer service person told us that you can only take out a contract if you're going to be within Switzerland for the next 12 to 24 months. Well, since we just got our permanent permit and since 3 months are already up (regardless of the fact that the permit is renewable so long as you're employed), our permit says we'll be here through March next year... and therefore, they wouldn't give us a monthly cell phone plan. It's prepaid or nothing.*

That's so strange because even the relocation agent we used said we could get a monthly plan once we had the permit. I wonder if this is just a hiccup for us or if anyone else has experienced this.

For those of you with a limited permit, do you have a monthly cell phone plan? or only prepaid!? or does this strangeness only occur if you sign up for a plan with a contract?

*Actually, the rep said we should try another store where they might not be as diligent... but technically, that retailer has rules against giving monthly plans (on a contract) to people that can't guarantee that they'll be in Switzerland for the duration of the plan. Interesting.


Stephersplatz said...

did you ever figure out a way to get a monthly plan?
I just got my L permit and went to the Orange store today...the guy told me to come back another day before 6pm and they would call the finance people. He said it would be possible, but there might be a large deposit that I may or not get back.
I'm going to try to go back and see what they say.
So frustrating....I really want an iPhone...I was hoping getting my ausweis would help, but alas...

Jessica said...

Hey - well I never pushed it actually. I asked again once at a mobilezone store and they confirmed that I could get a contract there but it had to be for 24 months or something and I did not want that. Check with mobilezone if Orange does not work out. I think mobilezone resell Orange anyway. Good luck! Those iphones are sooo cool. ;)


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