Discover the history of the telephone and telecommunications. A journey from the first telegraph service to Switzerland's most modern mobile phone network.
On 5 October 1998, Swisscom Ltd was floated on the stock exchange. In 2007, Swisscom entered the TV industry and, by the end of 2012, it led the digital TV market with 791,000 subscribers. From 2009, Swisscom pushed ahead with the expansion of the fibre-optic network in Switzerland.
1993 – 1997
In 1988, Telecom PTT introduced Switzerland’s first digital telecommunications network (ISDN). The mobile phone network was digitised in 1992 under the name NATEL D. Telecom PTT’s "Blue Window" Internet portal, launched in 1996, soon became the market leader. On 1 October 1997, Telecom PTT became Swisscom.
1982 – 1992
In 1975, PTT-Betriebe (Switzerland’s postal and telecommunications services) decided to introduce a mobile telephone network for vehicles (NATEL = Nationales Autotelefonnetz or national car phone network). Three years later, the first NATEL A network was launched, followed by NATEL B in 1983 and NATEL C in 1987. In 1985, the first fibre-optic cable was laid between Berne and Neuchâtel.
1966 – 1981
Telstar – the first telecommunications satellite – was launched into space in 1962. At Expo 1964 in Lausanne, the first exchange to permit international direct dialling was unveiled. In 1974, the Leuk satellite earth station went into operation in the canton of Wallis.
1912 – 1965
In 1917, the first semi-automatic telephone switchboard went into operation in Zurich-Hottingen. By 1948, Switzerland had 500,000 telephone subscribers. There were 1 million subscribers by 1959, the year in which the Swiss telephone network became the first fully automated network in the world.
1852 – 1911
The launch of the first telegraph service between St. Gallen and Zurich in 1852 marked the birth of telecommunications in Switzerland. The invention of the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876 gave new impetus to the field. By 1896, the telephone had been introduced in all Swiss cantons.