This past 1st of August was truly an Independence Day here in Switzerland - Independence from oppressively high phone costs! After deliberalisation of the national telephone companies roughly 18 months ago, companies like Diax and Sunrise moved into the market offering rates substantially lower than that of Swisscom, but still well above those in the US for instance.
Mobile phone licenses were only given to two other companies besides Swisscom Diax and the UK company Orange headquartered in the Swiss Romande.
Recently, over the past few months, several phone companies and other Internet Service Providers (ISP's) have begun to provide free basic Internet service (while still charging for premium internet service including such things as free storage space for a homepage etc.). But, even with free Internet service, the Internet is hardly "free", as local phone service, both from Swisscom and a few others, is still quite expensive. When will we finally be free from the clutches of the phone companies in order to conduct our everyday local business - how about a fixed monthly fee for unlimited local calls?
Currently we're faced with abundant new choices for both Internet and Phone services. Many customers like to have all services consolidated with one company and will not take the time nor make the effort to research different offerings that might be better suited to their needs. Others will jump from provider to provider to save a few Centimes. Most people lie somewhere between these two extremes. Swisscom obviously hopes you're in the first group, remaining with them for your regular phone service while adding a Mobile phone and using Bluewindow for Internet. (OK I've heard good things about Bluewindow, and the Mobile network does provide the widest coverage for now, but please, who needs those high phone costs?)
The market for communications services (phone, natel, internet) will be evolving quickly in the months to come, but presently the main focuses are reduced costs for phone calls, increased coverage of the mobile phone network, and the move to gratis internet access amongst the various connection types.
Sunrise seems to be a leader in reducing phonecall costs while having a substantial backbone to ensure quality. They also took a lead in providing free web access. If they had mobile phone service, they would be the clear leader on all counts. (Perhaps that's why they didn't receive the mobile phone license?)
I must admit, I am so far...