Skip to main content

Switzerland’s topography hardly impacts mobile experience

Switzerland is moving fast into the 5G era. Despite the challenges posed by its geography, including two mountain ranges — the Alps and the Jura — which combined cover about 70% of the territory, two mobile operators are aiming for nationwide 5G population coverage by year’s end, and the third will likely launch 5G service soon.

With mobile operators reportedly looking to connect the countryside and mountains with 5G networks, Opensignal analyzed Switzerland users’ existing mobile experience in four different geographical areas. We found limited differences across the four regions, suggesting smartphone users enjoyed a similar experience regardless of the geographical landscape. Swiss operators will have to work hard to match this excellent 4G mobile experience with their new 5G services.

Mobile experience in Switzerland, by geographic area

Opensignal used the geographical regions’ definition from the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), which categorizes the Switzerland territory into three main geographical regions: the Alps, the Swiss Plateau, and the Jura.

Although the highest peak in the Jura Mountains reaches 1,679 m (Mont-Tendre), elevation in the Swiss Alpine Region ranges from 193 m (Lake Maggiore) to 4,634 m (Dufour Peak). Opensignal further classified the Alpine Region by elevation, defining two different areas: Valley and Mountain. 

  • All of the Alpine territory with an elevation below 1000 meters Above Mean Sea Level (AMSL) was classified as Valley, where incidentally most of the population residing in the Alpine Region lives.

  • The Alpine areas with an elevation equal or above 1000 meters AMSL were classified as Mountain. 

Opensignal analyzed the proportion of time our Swiss users could access mobile services on 4G networks and found that users on average could connect to 4G services more than 85% of the time across all four geographical regions. However, while our 4G users in the Swiss Plateau and Alpine Valley regions spent more than 90% of their time connected to 4G networks, our users in the Alpine Mountain region had a slightly lower 4G Availability score of 88%.

Our users in the Swiss Plateau, on average, enjoyed 41.5 Mbps in Download Speed Experience, faster than what our users saw in the other three regions, though they all enjoyed speeds greater than 35 Mbps. Opensignal’s users in the Alpine Mountain region on average experienced 35.2 Mbps in download speed, just 1.4, 1.7 and 6.3 Mbps slower than in the three lower-ground regions.

Opensignal users’ Upload Speed Experience in the four geographical Swiss regions ranged from 10.5 Mbps to 14.3 Mbps. Once again, our users in the Swiss Plateau on average enjoyed the fastest upload speeds, while our users in the Alpine Mountain region had a relatively slower experience.

While two-thirds of the population live in the Swiss Plateau, mobile operators aim to deploy 5G networks across the varied geographical landscapes, including remote mountain villages and ski resorts. Despite the additional challenges due to the mountain landscape, Opensignal data shows there is no large divide in mobile experience across the geographical regions, suggesting that most Swiss users — regardless of them being in the cities or in the mountains — will likely benefit from the ongoing 5G network deployments.