Radio and television play an important part in Switzerland in terms of freedom and diversity of opinion. The federal constitution requires that the electronic media satisfy a public service performance mandate: they must contribute to culture, the forming of opinion, education and entertainment, and they must take into consideration the particularities of Switzerland and the needs of the cantons.
The Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) has an all-embracing performance mandate, broadcasting programmes for all language regions of Switzerland. There are a total of 14 radio stations and 7 television channels. Furthermore, the SBC’s office for foreign broadcasting, swissinfo, provides text, image, video and audio information on current events in Switzerland one part via an online multimedia information platform.
In addition to the SBC, a number of private companies broadcast radio and television stations. They primarily serve local and regional areas. There are 51 private local and regional radio stations as well as 127 TV stations. There are also four regional language radio stations and seven TV channels.
Anyone who owns a radio or television in working order must register with the collecting agency Billag and pay a licence fee.
Billag - Radio and television licence fees
Concessions for radio and television programmes are granted by the Federal Council and the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC). The Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM) is the sectoral planning and supervisory authority and is also in charge of controlling frequencies.
The UBI, which is an independent appellate instance for radio and television, assesses complaints regarding broadcasting content.
OFCOM - Radio and television licence fees
UBI - Independent authority responsible for handling complaints relating to radio and television
At the moment, Switzerland has three mobile networks with several providers. The main three are Swisscom, Orange and Sunrise (d/f/i), providing a nationwide coverage with their networks. There are other operators that use the networks of the above mentioned providers, offering also mobile prepaid offers. Such operators include yallo, M-Budget Mobile (d/f/i), Coop Mobile (d/f/i), Aldi Mobile (d/f/i), Mobilezone (d/f/i), Tele 2 (d), Cablecom and others. Before you choose a mobile phone or a subscription, you should check a few offers to see which one is the right for you – it really depends on how often/in which way you plan to use the phone. A way to find out which kind of mobile "contract" is most suitable is www.comparis.ch.
Switzerland has a state-owned postal service, called "die Post" in German, "la Poste" in French or "la Posta" in Italian. The market is going to be opened in the near future; then, additional suppliers will offer their services besides the governmental company. There are many postal offices at central places. You also find many yellow mailboxes, where you can drop your letters. The market for parcels is already privatised; therefore, you can choose between different companies if you want to send a package.
The Swiss News Agency AG (SNA) is the national news agency of Switzerland. It broadcasts information around-the-clock in three national languages - German, French and Italian - on politics, economics, society and culture. The SNA supplies almost all Swiss media and a couple dozen foreign media services with its news.
SNA - Swiss News Agency (website only available in German, French or Italian)