Berne, 28 January 2008
NATEL® is a protected brand owned by the present-day Swisscom, and is used and known only in Switzerland. On 1 April 1978, the former PTT commissioned the first mobile telephone network: NATEL® A. The first digital mobile communications network, the GSM network, was built in 1993. It started in Switzerland under the name NATEL® D. The globally-implemented GSM standard marked the beginning of the huge success story of mobile phones; not only did it allow them to be made much smaller and more cheaply, but they could also be used in many different countries. 1996 saw Swisscom's market launch of NATEL® easy, a world premiere: the rechargeable SIM card without a subscription was a huge success around the globe as a type of prepaid card.
In 1998 Swisscom connected its millionth NATEL® customer to the network. In the years that followed, the number of subscribers grew rapidly and SMS services quickly advanced to become a big hit. UMTS technology was added to the NATEL® network beginning in 2004, enabling extremely high transmission speeds for mobile Internet usage. Together with Migros, Swisscom introduced the cheapest priced prepaid offer, M-Budget Mobile, in 2005, an offering which has won over 400,000 customers so far.
The number of Swisscom customers recently crossed the five million mark. And with its mobile broadband network, Swisscom currently reaches over 99% of the Swiss population. Switzerland has one of the most powerful mobile communications networks in the world as well as the highest coverage rate in terms of population. All in all, Swisscom has invested around CHF 10 billion in its NATEL® network and around 10 million calls and seven million SMS messages pass through this network on a daily basis.
Not only are mobile communications technologies undergoing constant development, but customers' usage is changing as well as the products themselves. New needs such as having a mobile each for personal and business use or products such as Mobile Unlimited for mobile Internet and Ogo for mobile messaging mean that customers will use multiple devices. That, in turn, means a constant increase in the number of SIM cards in use; customers of the future will have multiple SIM cards for these devices. Plus, surfing the Internet while on the move will increasingly become a matter of course.
Competition is raging on the Swiss mobile communications market and customers are reaping the rewards. That can be seen in the price trend: In 1995, a call made on the Swisscom network using the NATEL® swiss subscription cost CHF 0.79 a minute. By contrast, NATEL® swiss liberty customers of today pay just CHF 0.50 - for a whole hour! At the same time, customers benefit from extremely economical mobile phones. Over 50% of all new customers sign a contract with Swisscom, thus opting for the best network and first-quality customer care. Swisscom's customer care service is available free of charge 24 hours a day. The hotline is manned by around 600 employees who address Swisscom customers' concerns. Every year, eight million customers visit one of the 110 Swisscom Shops, where around 800 employees provide expert advice.