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A Natel B device, released in 1980

Natel is a generic trademark used in Switzerland and in Liechtenstein for 'mobile phone'.

The word was coined in 1975, when the Swiss Postal Telegraph and Telephone introduced a mobile phone service for vehicles in Switzerland: Nationales Auto-TELefonnetz, or "National Car Telephone Network". When the PTT was dismantled in 1998, it split into two public service companies.

The telecom corporation, Swisscom, continued to develop the Swiss mobile network, and registered the word Natel as a trademark. It remained in use as a brand for the company's mobile telephony services until 2017.[1]

In Switzerland, "Natel" is still used as a synonym for mobile (or cell) phone across the country.[2] Like many words with origins in a specific culture, this word is unknown to French, German, and Italian speakers outside of Switzerland.


Analog Networks:

  • NATEL A (first subnet, 1978)[3]
  • NATEL B (1983), another 12kg portable suitcase radiotelephone
  • NATEL C (1987), NMT-based system with analog voice transmission and digital switching and control information

Digital Networks:

  • NATEL D (1993), a GSM network
    • Since the mid 1990s, (SMS)
    • Since 2001 GPRS
    • Since 2004 UMTS
    • Since 2012 LTE

Since the liberalization of the market in 1997, two other mobile operators have appeared in Switzerland.


  1. ^ "Swisscom gibt Bezeichnung Natel nach fast 40 Jahren auf |". (in German). 22 February 2017. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  2. ^ "L'italiano elvetico". La clé des langues (in Italian). ENS de Lyon. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
  3. ^ So sah das erste Natel aus Archived 2013-10-14 at the Wayback Machine Radio abgerufen am 16. Oktober 2010