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Swisscom AG
IndustryTelecommunications Edit this on Wikidata
FoundedOctober 1, 1997; 24 years ago (1997-10-01)
Key people
Urs Schaeppi
Michael Rechsteiner
(Chairman of the Board of directors)
RevenueCHF 11.100 billion (2020)[1]
CHF 1.947 billion (2020)
CHF 1.528 billion (2020)
Total assetsCHF 24.262 billion (2020)
Total equityCHF 9.491 billion (2020)
OwnerSwiss Government (51%)
Number of employees
19,062 (2020) [2]
Primary ASN3303
Traffic Levels1Tbps+[3]

Swisscom AG is a major telecommunications provider in Switzerland.[4] Its headquarters are located in Ittigen near Bern.[5] The Swiss government owns 51.0 percent of Swisscom AG.[6] According to its own published data, Swisscom holds a market share of 60% for mobile, 67% for broadband and 33% for TV telecommunication in Switzerland. Its Italian subsidiary Fastweb is attributed 16% of private clients and 29% of corporate clients share of Italian broadband and is also active in the mobile market.[7]

The Swiss telegraph network was first set up in 1852, followed by telephones in 1877. The two networks were combined with the postal service in 1920 to form Postal Telegraph and Telephone (PTT). The Swiss telecommunications market was deregulated in 1997. Telecom PTT was spun off and rebranded Swisscom ahead of a partial privatisation in 1997. The present-day Swisscom owns the protected brand NATEL, which is used and known only in Switzerland.[8]

In 2001, 25% of Swisscom Mobile was sold to Vodafone. Since then, Swisscom has bought a majority stake in Italy's second-biggest telecom company Fastweb.


Pioneers (1852–1911)[edit]

Switzerland's entry into the telecommunications era came in 1851, with the passage of legislation giving the Swiss government control over the development of a telegraph network throughout the country. The government's initial plans called for the creation of three primary telegraph lines, as well as a number of secondary networks. In order to build equipment for the system, the government established the Atelier Fédéral de Construction des Télégraphes (Federal Workshop for the Construction of Telegraphs).

In July 1852, the first leg of the country's telegraph system—between St. Gallen and Zurich—was operational. By the end of that year, most of the country's main cities had been connected to the telegraph system. In 1855, the network was extended with the first underwater cable, connecting Winkel-Stansstad and Bauen-Flüelen. Night service was also launched that year, starting in Basel, St. Gallen and Bellinzona.

Telegraph traffic continued to rise in the following decade, but was nevertheless overtaken by the telephone.

Switzerland's entry into the telephone age came in 1877, when the first experimental phone lines appeared, starting with a line linking the post office building with the Federal Palace and then with a link, using the existing telegraph line, between Bern and Thun. The following year, the government passed legislation establishing a monopoly on the country's telephone network. By 1880, Switzerland's first private network had been created in Zurich. This was a central system with the capacity for 200 lines.

Basel, Bern and Geneva all launched their own local networks between 1881 and 1882. One year later, the first intercity telephone line was established, linking Zurich's private exchange with Winterthur's public system. Telephone numbers were introduced in 1890, replacing the initial system whereby callers had been able to ask for their party by name.

Switzerland began testing its first public phone booths in 1904. Initially restricted to local calls, the public telephones allowed national calling for the first time in 1907.[9][10]


The first automatic telephone exchanges were installed by private networks in 1912. By 1917, a semi-automatic exchange had been installed in Zurich-Hottingen.

In 1920, the Swiss government created the Swiss PTT, combining the country's postal services and telegraph and telephone systems into a single, government-controlled entity.[11]

PTT began telex services in 1934, and by 1936 had linked up the cities of Zurich, Basel and Bern, which were then linked via Zurich to the international market.

Space-age communications (1966–1981)[edit]

The original Telstar, the first telecommunications satellite to be launched into space.

Telstar – the first telecommunications satellite – was launched into space in 1962.[12] In 1974, the Leuk satellite earth station went into operation in the canton of Wallis.

Moving towards mobile in the 1980s[edit]

Automation enabled PTT to introduce pulse-metering for local calls in 1963. In 1966, PTT introduced automated international dialing services, initially from Montreux and achieved full coverage in 1982.

In 1970, PTT led an inter-organisational work group of Swiss telecommunications players, in an effort to create an integrated digital telecommunications network (IFS).

In 1976, the company launched facsimile transmission services from its customer service centers. Two years later, PTT established its first mobile telephone network, called NATEL.

In 1980, PTT enabled facsimile transmission for the home and office market.

The telecommunications business became known as Swiss Telecom PTT.

Public company in the 21st Century[edit]

The company initially formed a Unisource partnership with the Netherlands' KPN and Sweden's Telia. Although the Unisource partnership attempted to enter a number of markets around the world, including Malaysia and India, it deintegrated after several years of losses.

Telecom PTT's set up the service provider Blue Window (later Bluewin), which became the country's leading Internet service provider (ISP).

In 1997, Swiss government passed new legislation fully deregulating the Swiss telecommunications market. As part of that process, Telecom PTT was transformed into a special public limited company, its name was changed to Swisscom on 1 October 1997, its shares were listed on the Swiss Stock Exchange, and it conducted a public offering of its shares in 1998.

In 1999, the company acquired Germany's publicly listed Debitel, then the third-largest mobile services provider on the German market.

The company formed six primary business units, and in 2001, it sold a 25% stake in Swisscom Mobile to England's Vodafone. Vodafone was a major investor in so-called 3G (third-generation) mobile telephone technology.

In 2000, Swisscom won a UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications Systems) license.

In the early 2000s, Swisscom also started rolling out DSL (digital subscriber line) broadband technology with 200,000 subscribers by the beginning of 2003.

In 2002, Swisscom Eurospot was founded (later Swisscom Hospitality Services (SHS)). The company originally specialised in providing High-Speed Internet Access (HSIA) services to hotel guests in European 4- and 5-star hotels.[13]

In May 2003, its newly formed subsidiary, Swisscom Eurospot, merged with the Netherlands' Aervik.[9][10]

Modern times[edit]

The former state-owned PTT was privatized in several stages from 1988 onward and became a public limited company with special legal status in October 1998.[14] The Swiss Confederation currently holds 51.0% of the share capital.[14] The Telecommunications Enterprise Act limits outside participation to 49.9% of the share capital.[15]

In its 5 April 2006 message, the Federal Council proposed Swisscom to be completely privatized. On 10 May 2006, the National Council declined the proposal. On 20 May 2006, the Advisory Committee of the Council of States advised the Council of States to endorse the proposal – but only so that it could be referred back to the Federal Council for revision.

In 2007, the 25% stake in Swisscom Mobile AG, which had been sold to Vodafone six years earlier, was repurchased and the mobile telephony, fixed network and solutions businesses were merged organisationally into the new company Swisscom (Switzerland) Ltd.[16] In the first half of 2007, Swisscom acquired a majority holding in the Italian telecommunications provider [Fastweb (telecommunications company)|Fastweb]], owner of the second largest broadband network in Italy. During the offer period, Swisscom acquired 80.7% of Fastweb's share capital, making it 82.4% of Fastweb shares by the cut-off date of 22 May. The total transaction amounted to 6.9 billion Swiss Francs.[17]

Swisscom announced its new visual identity on 14 December 2007.[18] The previous sub-brands of Swisscom Fixnet, Swisscom Mobile and Swisscom Solutions ceased to exist on 1 January 2008.[19] As part of the restructuring, Swisscom redesigned its logo and transformed it into a moving picture element, an innovation for Switzerland and the industry.[20]

On 23 July 2013, the CEO of Swisscom, Carsten Schloter was found dead from an apparent suicide and Urs Schaeppi was appointed interim CEO.[21] Since November 2013, Schaeppi has been the CEO of Swisscom.[22] As of June 2018, Swisscom ranks on Forbes "The World's Largest Public Companies" list, the Global 2000,[23] at number 561.[24]

In June 2015, Swisscom Hospitality Services became part of a new company, Hoist Group, following its acquisition by the Sweden-based HoistLocatel.[25]

In June 2018, Danish software firm Nordija partnered with Swisscom to develop TVaaS 2.0.[26][27][28]

In 2019, Swisscom paid CHF 240 million to TX Group for the acquisition of the outstanding 31% stake in Swisscom Directories AG.[29]

On 17 April 2019, Swisscom began to deploy its 5G network.[30] At present, the company delivers 5G service in 110 cities and villages including Zurich, Geneva and Bern as well as rural and touristic regions.[31]

In June 2019, Swisscom, SK Telecom and Elisa together launched the world's first 5G roaming service. From 17 July 2019, Swisscom customers with a 5G mobile phone were given access to the new 5G data network in Finland and by the end of July in South Korea.[30] At the same time, Swisscom customers database exceeded 6 million mobile subscriptions.[31]


Bluewin tower in Zürich

Swisscom AG is the parent company of the Swisscom Group and is responsible for the overall management. It builds, operates and maintains Swisscom's nationwide fixed-line and mobile communications infrastructure in Switzerland.[32]

Swisscom Telecommunication Centre Herdern in Zürich by architect Theo Hotz

Key numbers[edit]

The corporation's key numbers for the year 2019 are as follows:[33]

Category Values 2020
Net revenue 11,100 mio
EBITDA 4,382 mio
Net income 1,528 mio
Capital expenditure 2,229 mio
Dividend per share 22,00 CHF
Revenue generating units (RGU) Switzerland 11,344 thous.
Employees 19,062


Telecommunication Tower in St. Chrischona is the most important in north-west of Switzerland

International Carrier Services[edit]

On 26 June 2009, MTN Group and Belgacom, merged their International Carrier Services MTN ICS and Belgacom ICS (BICS).[34] These companies respectively hold 57.6%, 22.4% and 20.0% of the company's shares.[34]

Internet of Things (IoT)[edit]

In April 2015, the Company started testing a network for the Internet of Things, or Low-Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN), in the regions of Geneva and Zurich.[35] [36]

Business areas and services[edit]


In February 2006, Swisscom launched the Web 2.0 website coComment.[37]

Cloud and data centers[edit]

In 2012, Swisscom launched Storebox, its service for cloud storage and alternative to Dropbox for corporate clients wishing to store information in Switzerland. In June 2019, the company announced its plans for the termination of Storebox.[38]

In 2013, Swisscom started to build a cloud service based in and complying to the strict privacy laws of Switzerland.[39]

New business fields[edit]

Recent examples in these fields include the testing of driver-less cars,[40] exploring the opportunities in the healthcare market, and forming a partnership with Coop in the area of e-commerce.[41]

Swisscom StartUp Challenge[edit]

The Swisscom StartUp Challenge has been held for five successive years. The program provides ten selected tech startups (five early stage and five late stage) the opportunity to join a tailor-made week-long business acceleration program in Silicon Valley. The jury provides feedback and names the five winners. The Challenge is organized in collaboration with VentureLab.[42]

Corporate Responsibility[edit]

Swisscom was ranked 20th in the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World in 2015.[43] Swisscom has been granted the Sustainability Award 2020 by World Finance as the world's most sustainable organisation in the telecommunications industry.[44]


In the market segment for mobile telecommunication services, the main competitors for Swisscom are Salt and Sunrise Communications AG.[45]

Connect network test[edit]

In 2021, as in the previous year, Swisscom was named the Swiss mobile communications provider with the best network by the trade journal "Connect". The test results of all three Swiss providers are year after year very good compared to providers in Germany and Austria.[46]


In a survey[47] conducted by the Swiss newspaper Tagesanzeiger, some consumers criticized Swisscom's international roaming rates and its subscription rates for mobile phones. The main concern of the consumers in the survey was that they found the rates to be too high.


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External links[edit]