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Press release

Telecoms companies set up sponsorship body for independent arbitration board

27 February 2004

Cablecom, Orange, sunrise, Swisscom (Fixnet, Mobile, Enterprise Solutions) and Tele 2 are setting up an independent body to mediate between customers and telecommunications providers in the event of disputes. By setting up an arbitration board, the telecoms companies are offering their customers the option of resolving disputes outside court. The arbitration board is to begin its work before the end of the year.

Customers who are dissatisfied with the billing or services of their telecoms provider and are unable to reach an agreement with the company?s customer care department presently have no other option than to take legal action. In an effort to change this situation, the telecoms providers have decided to set up an arbitration board. An ombudsperson will mediate between the telecoms providers and consumers. Customers will still be able to resort to legal action if no agreement can be reached. Cablecom, Orange, sunrise, Swisscom (Fixnet, Mobile, Enterprise Solutions) and Tele 2 have decided to set up the arbitration board during the course of this year.

The board will be based on the following principles:

A neutral body with no party-political affiliations will act as the sponsor for the arbitration board. The goal of the sponsorship body will be to operate an independent and neutral arbitration board. The management of the body will nominate an ombudsperson to head the arbitration board. The ombudsperson will have no interest ties and will not be bound to any directives concerning arbitration.

The arbitration board will become active in the event that the customer is unable to reach agreement with the telecoms provider, and will put forward a mediation proposal to the parties involved. Companies that are not members of the sponsorship body will also be able to call on the services of the arbitration board (e.g. in the case of value-added services).

In order to prevent abuses, the customer will be charged a small administration fee. However, the bulk of the arbitration costs will be paid for by the telecommunications provider concerned.

The specific modalities and setting up of the sponsorship body will be determined in the next few weeks in consultation with all those involved and other interested parties, thus ensuring that the arbitration board for the telecommunications sector can begin its work before the end of the year.

Berne, 27 February 2004


Swisscom AG
Media Relations
3050 Bern