In a new report, Comparis says it compared the costs of ten popular smartphones with the major mobile operators in Switzerland, including Swisscom, Sunrise, Salt and UPC Cablecom.
Using the prices for phones that can be obtained from low-cost online vendors, the rating company made calculations for infrequent, average and frequent mobile users over a two-year period.
Taking into account the average price of the smartphones, Comparis said it came to an “astonishing result”, that showed an “M-Budget Mobile One” subscription with phone purchased separately was the cheapest option.
In most cases the phone subscription bundled with the “free” phone was substantially more expensive, according to the report.
It showed, for example, that an M-Budget subscription with a separately purchased iPhone 6 (16GB) would cost 1,346 francs compared with 2,199 francs for a subscription including the phone.
Swisscom, the dominant mobile operator in the Swiss market, only sells phones with subscriptions under its own brand name, the report noted.
In the case of Sunrise, Comparis said it was cheaper for customers to buy smartphones separately, except for the Samsung Galaxy A5 phone, which was cheaper through the package deal (1,477 francs versus 1,517 francs over two years).
The picture for Salt (known until recently as Orange) was more mixed, depending on the phone model, and the subscription plan.
With a 24-month subscription, Salt, the third-ranked operator, was cheaper than second-ranked Sunrise, but without one it was slightly more expensive.
UPC Cablecom challenges the “big three” mobile operators with prices that were either lower, or just slightly above the cheapest option, although it offered only five of the 10 smartphones tested, Comparis said.
The phone models reviewed included the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, Samsung Galaxy S5, Samsung Galaxy S6, Samsung Galaxy A5, Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, HTC One M9 and Nokia Lumia 930.
For more on the report (in German) check here.