Adieu 162: Switzerland to retire telephone weather service from Monday

A rotary phone in a red telephone box
Calling 162 will no longer get you the weather report, from November 1st onwards. Photo by Antoine Barrès on Unsplash
If you're still dialling 162 to get the weather forecast, there are some clouds on the horizon.

Dialing 162 on the phone to hear the latest weather forecast — the service that has been in use for 30 years —  will no longer be possible from November 1st.

Due to lack of interest, Switzerland’s official weather service, MeteoSchweiz, has decided to discontinue its telephone service.

In an update on the MeteoSchweiz website, the agency confirmed the number would be given a “well-deserved retirement”. 

“With the increasing popularity of alternative information channels such as the MeteoSwiss website and the MeteoSwiss app, the use of 162 has been declining for a long time. The current usage figures and comparatively high operating costs led to the decision to discontinue the number 162 at the end of this month.”

To be maintained, three-digit phone numbers must be used by a large audience, at least several million per year.

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But in 2020, barely 350,000 calls were received on the automated service — down from about 7 million in the early 2000s.

One of the main reasons for the drop in callers is the ease of getting weather forecasts on smartphones or online.

Those who want to make sure they continue to get their info directly from MeteoSchweiz can still do so relatively easily however, as the website and app provide up to date coverage of the latest weather in cities towns and villages all across Switzerland. 

The weather is available in English, as well as in each of Switzerland’s national languages. 

Short numbers themselves are set to be phased out over the coming 14 months, with the Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM) ruling that all (except emergency numbers) will be phased out by the 1st of January 2023. 


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