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Swisscom Unveils 5G Smartphones, Price Plans and Aggressive 2019 Coverage Target

by Philip Kendall | Apr 10, 2019

Swisscom unveiled its 5G commercial service plans today with aggressive coverage plans that involve supplying “the whole of Switzerland with 5G by the end of the year”. This consists of launching in 50 cities and towns and then hitting 90% population coverage by year-end. All three mobile operators in Switzerland acquired frequencies in February’s spectrum auctions, with Swisscom taking the largest share, in particular in the 3.5GHz band being used for this 5G launch. However, all operators are waiting for the licenses to be issued by the regulator. As soon as this happens (imminently), Swisscom will switch on its Ericsson-supplied 5G network. 

Unlimited data plans are a basic feature of the Swiss mobile market, with price tiering linked to maximum speeds and value added services linked to roaming and additional device connections.  Swisscom’s updated inOne mobile plans are all 5G-ready, though are still tiered speed with a “Plus Speed” of 100Mbps and “Premium Speed” of 2Gbps: customers can upgrade from Plus to Premium for an additional CHF10 ($10) per month.
Swisscom mobile price plans with 5G

Swisscom is launching with an OPPO smartphone, though has product from LG, Samsung and Huawei lined up to follow soon after. Smartphone prices start at CHF999 ($998) and are available on 12 or 24 month instalment plans:
- OPPO Reno 5G – for CHF999, available from May
- LG V50 ThinQ – for CHF1,099, available from May
- Samsung Galaxy S10 5G – for CHF1,279, available from July
- Huawei Mate X – for CHF2,499, available in Q3
According to a separate release from Qualcomm, whose modems are powering most of these products, Swisscom also has in-home products lined up from Askey and WNC, with a "5G Booster" CPE scheduled for 2020.

The Swiss market will be a dynamic one in terms of 5G propositions in 2019. In addition to Swisscom’s broad consumer launch, Sunrise also has a network in place targeting both smartphones and a 5G based broadband/TV/phone triple play for rural markets, and Salt is also readying for launch. These are ambitious plans in a market perhaps more able than many in Europe to sustain a healthy niche for $1,000+ 5G smartphones.

Swisscom’s $10/month 5G premium fits in well with speed-based pricing in the market. Though we have seen the granularity of speed tiers decline over time in the Switzerland and it will be interesting to see whether Iliad-backed Salt uses 5G as an opportunity to build share or to increase ARPUs. As we noted in our report earlier this week “5G Launches in South Korea Target Improving High-Value Customer Mix”, there are many questions operators need to ask themselves in their quest for 5G success, perhaps the most pressing being what price points, service value adds, and marketing messages will most appeal to the early target segments for 5G.

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