In its supplementary report, the Federal Council recognises the fundamentally sound provision of telecoms services in Switzerland. The report also finds price developments, e.g. for roaming, to be encouraging. Last year saw a considerable improvement in the protection of consumers and minors, with Swisscom discontinuing automatic contract extensions, introducing cost limits for roaming and launching courses on protecting minors in the media, for example.
In this year alone, Swisscom is investing in Switzerland CHF 1.7 billion in the expansion of its infrastructure, which is CHF 400 million more than in 2010, while other providers, electricity companies and cable network operators are competing with their own huge investments in new networks. The Federal Government recently auctioned mobile frequencies for a billion francs, while work will soon begin in the sector on the establishment of the fourth-generation (LTE) mobile phone networks. Switzerland already has a top ranking in terms of per-capita investment and the best telecoms infrastructures (IDATE, June 2011).
Prices in the telecoms sector have plummeted since liberalisation in 1998 and will continue to fall driven by competition. In 2011 alone, Swisscom reported price erosion of some CHF 500 million. An increasing number of international providers such as Google and Apple are offering global services in the market and are competing with the network operators with cheap alternative offerings. Switzerland's fixed-line telephony is one of the cheapest in the world and its mobile phone prices are in the lower-middle range (OECD, July 2011). Twenty mobile phone providers are already offering customers some 100 products based on three independent networks.
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