Industry and Competitive Environment
In February 2015, following approval from the Federal Communications Commission, Apax Partners sold Orange Switzerland to NJJ Capital (Xavier Niel’s holding company). In April the company was rebranded to Salt.
The largest mobile network operator (MNO) in Switzerland is Swisscom (publicly traded and 51.0% owned by the Swiss Confederation as of December 2015) followed by challengers Sunrise and Salt. Each of the three MNOs has its own nationwide network infrastructure with a spectrum license granted until 2028. In addition to the MNOs, there are branded wholesale resellers on all three mobile networks. Other market participants, so-called mobile virtual network operators, use the infrastructure of MNOs for their services.
Mobile network quality in Switzerland is of a high standard, with the network of all three MNOs rated “very good” by independent network tester connect. In 2015 Sunrise achieved the strongest network improvement. The Sunrise network was ranked best in the subcategory “mobile voice telephony.”
Landline voice is based primarily on the analog and digital access lines of the telephone network and the access lines of cable network operators. Swisscom is the largest provider of landline voice telephony in Switzerland, followed by upc cablecom. Unbundling has made access lines available to providers including Sunrise.
In September 2015, the Swiss magazine Bilanz ranked Sunrise as the top landline telephony provider among the companies mentioned above.
In Switzerland, landline broadband internet connections can be established via various access technologies, including DSL (Digital Subscriber Line), cable modem and fiber. Swisscom leads the Swiss broadband internet market, followed by upc cablecom and Sunrise.
Sunrise is the largest LLU (Local Loop Unbundling) provider in Switzerland with approximately 85% household coverage through its own network of more than 600 points of presence. To meet increasing demand for higher bandwidth services and IPTV (Internet Protocol Television), Sunrise additionally renewed an agreement with Swisscom which allows Sunrise to have cost-effective access to all fiber- and copper-based access technologies, i.e., VDSL (Very High Speed Digital Subscriber Line). Sunrise also has partnerships with Swiss Fibre Net AG, the joint venture of local energy providers in Switzerland, and local utilities providing the company with access to their fiber networks. The Swiss magazine Bilanz ranked Sunrise ahead of Swisscom and upc cablecom in the Internet Service Provider category in September 2015.
Cable remains the most widely used multi-channel TV distribution platform in Switzerland, although its market share has declined in recent years. upc cablecom and Swisscom are the two leaders in the Swiss television market, serving slightly more than half the market. The rest of the market remains fragmented between local cable companies, satellite and DTT (Digital Terrestrial Television) providers. Having entered the TV market as recently as 2012, Sunrise successfully launched an improved IPTV offering in November 2015. The Swiss magazine Bilanz ranked Sunrise as the best TV product in Switzerland in September 2015.