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How to stop advertising cold calls in Switzerland forever

Swiss telecommunications providers are now compelled to offer customers a spam filter for advertising calls and texts. Here’s how to set it up.

How to stop advertising cold calls in Switzerland forever
Photo by Jonas Leupe on Unsplash

As of July 1st, new regulations came into effect which required Swiss telecommunications providers to allow filters against advertising calls. 

Under the Federal Council’s Telecommunications Ordinance, providers must set up “a suitable means against unfair advertising calls”, reports Swiss news outlet 20 Minutes. 

While some providers including Swisscom and Sunrise had already set up filters, UPC and Salt are now compelled by the new regulation to do so. 

How do I set up an advertising filter on calls in Switzerland? 

The filter works similar to one for spam emails, in that suspected advertising calls are immediately blocked before they reach users. 

This means that it does not require users to put each number on a list, but instead that certain calls are blocked without users ever knowing about it. 

This is a big change from the previous system which would require people to contact call centres and put their phone number on a ‘do not call’ list. 

While this applied frequently to landlines, it meant that mobile phone users frequently bore the brunt of the advertising calls. 

To activate the filter, you will need to get in touch with your telephone provider and ask to have your call filter activated. 

Some such as Swisscom and UPC have a dedicated site at which you can do this, while with the others you will need to contact them by phone and ask them to set up the call blocking function. 

Once set up, advertisers can be liable for criminal consequences if they ignore the list. 


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For members


How to talk email, websites, social media and phone numbers in Swiss French

It's a very common experience to have to give out your phone number or email address in Switzerland, or take down the address of a website, so here's how to do this if you're in the French-speaking part of the country.

How to talk email, websites, social media and phone numbers in Swiss French

The correct names for punctuation marks used to be fairly low down on any French-learner’s list, but these days they are vital whenever you need to explain an email address, website or social media account.

Likewise if you want to talk about websites, or social media posts, there are some things that you need to know. 


Obviously punctuation points have their own names, and making sure you get the periods, dashes and underscores correct is vital to giving out account details. 

Full stop/period . point. Pronounced pwan, this is most commonly heard for Swiss websites or email addresses which end in. ch (pronounced pwan ce ash).

If you have a site that ends in .com you say ‘com’ as a word just as you would in English – pwan com.

At symbol @ Arobase – so for example the email address [email protected] would be jean pwan dupont arobas bluewin pwan ce ash.

Ampersand/and symbol & esperluette

Dash – tiret

Underscore _ tiret bas 

Forward slash / barre oblique

Upper case/capital lettersMajuscule (or lettre majuscule)

Lower caseminiscule

The following punctuation points are less common in email or web addresses, but worth knowing anyway:

Comma , virgule. In French a decimal point is indicated with a comma so two and a half would be 2,5 (deux virgule cinq)

Exclamation mark ! point d’exclamation – when you are writing in French you always leave a space between the final letter of the word and the exclamation mark – comme ça !

Question mark ? point d’interrogation – likewise, leave a space between the final character and a question mark 

Brackets/parentheses ( ) parenthèse

Quotation marks « » guillemets 


If you need to give your phone number out, the key thing to know is that Swiss-French people pair the numbers in a phone number when speaking.

So say your number is 079 345 6780, in French you would say zero septante-neuf, trois-cents quarante-cinq, soixante-sept, huitante (zero seventy-nine, three hundred forty-five, sixty-seven, eighty ).

Mobile numbers in Switzerland  begin with 079 or 078 (zero septante-neuf or zero septante-huit).

Social media

If you want to give out your Twitter or Instagram handle, the chances are you might need to know some punctuation terms as described above.

Otherwise the good news is that a lot of English-language social media terms are used in Switzerland too.

Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have the same names in Switzerland and have entered the language in other ways too, for example you might describe your dinner as très instagrammable – ie it’s photogenic and would look good on Instagram.

On Twitter you can suivre (follow), aimer (like) or retweet (take a wild guess). You’ll often hear the English words for these terms too, though pronounced with a French accent.

There is a French translation for hashtag – it’s dièse mot, but in reality hashtag is also very widely used.

Tech is one of those areas where new concepts come along so quickly that the English terms often get embedded into everyday use before the French-speakers can think up an alternative.

READ MORE: French-speaking Switzerland: Seven life hacks that will make you feel like a local