I sketched a map for where to go after arriving at Zurich

Finding a SIM Card in Basel, a Guide for Arriving Travellers

Updated by Chris. Chris was going to move to Basel, it didn't end up happening

A map and guide to help travellers to Basel figure out where to buy a SIM card, and which one to buy. I put this guide together after finding it confusing to find a SIM card when arriving in Basel. Hopefully I can alleviate some of the confusion for travellers arriving in Basel.

There are no shops in Basel airport selling prepaid SIM cards, buses are available to Basel SBB train station. When arriving at Basel SBB train station, SIM cards can be found at these shops:

Shop Location SIM Cards Available
9am - 6:30pm (shorter hours on Saturday, closed Sundays)
Markplatz: Marktpl. 32, 4001 Basel
  • Salt PrePay, starting from 20 CHF
9am - 6:30pm (shorter hours on Saturday, closed Sundays)
Markplatz: Freie Str. 34, 4001 Basel
  • Sunrise Prepaid, starting from 20 CHF
9am - 6:30pm (shorter hours on Saturday, closed Sundays)
Across the road from the south exit of the train station: Güterstrasse 126, 4053 Basel. Also in Markplatz.
  • Swisscom inOne, starting from 20 CHF
SIM card shops when arriving in Basel

Smaller SIM card providers, such as Lycamobile, can be found at convenience stores around Basel SBB station and Markplatz.

Out of the big three providers, I found the best options for visitors to Basel to be:

  • Salt - if staying 1-2 weeks (20 CHF spend for 1GB data and some calls1)
  • Sunrise - if staying 4+ weeks (50 CHF spend for unlimited data and calls2)

Using an EU SIM card in Switzerland

If arriving in Basel from France, a French SIM card (such as Orange) likely includes Switzerland within its Europe roaming zone.

If arriving in Basel from Germany, German SIM cards (such as Vodafone) likely do not include Switzerland within their Europe roaming zones and therefore charge extra.

Many European country SIM card providers offer poor rates for roaming in Switzerland. As Switzerland is not part of the EU (or EEA) it is not obliged to allow roaming for EU SIM cards. Some examples:

  • Irish Eir, treats Switzerland separately and charges €29.99 for roaming
  • German Vodafone, Switzerland is a Zone 2 country and applicable roaming charges apply

Some providers include Switzerland with their European roaming (meaning no additional costs), such as:

  • UK Vodafone and EE: Switzerland included with Europe roaming (i.e. no extra charges)
  • French Orange, for example, includes Switzerland with their Europe zone roaming (also no extra charge)

Swiss SIM cards often charge extra for roaming in European countries, I’ve included details of European roaming with a Swiss SIM card at the bottom of this guide.

Comparing the SIM cards available in Basel

I compare SIM cards based on their data, local and international calls, and coverage. Out of the big three SIM card providers available in Basel, I found:

  • For data: Salt offers the better option for staying 1-2 weeks, Sunrise for longer stays
  • For calls: Salt, particularly for international calls
  • For coverage: Swisscom, wider range and frequencies3

Lycamobile offers a good alternative to the big three providers. Its bundles are cheaper for visitors staying in Switzerland less than one month, and they include a small allocation of EU roaming allowance. Some people may find it more difficult to get Lycamobile activated and set up on their phones however.

Data Comparison

Salt and Sunrise offer the better value for data (of the SIM cards available at the airport):

  • Salt: For 15 CHF, add a 1GB data bundle that lasts for 30 days. Buying a new SIM includes 20 CHF of credit, the remaining 5 CHF can be used for calls and SMS.
  • Sunrise: For 50 CHF, includes unlimited data and calls for 30 days; for 120 CHF unlimited calls and data apply for 90 days.

For comparison, Swisscom only offers 500MB for 14.90 CHF.

Lycamobile offers a comparative data bundle. The smallest top-up is 10 CHF and that can be spent on 1GB of data for 5.90 CHF (9.90 CHF after the first top-up)4.

If visiting less than a month, I find Salt to offer the better value (I can usually live with a small amount of data, and would likely only spend 15-30 CHF with Salt).

If visiting more than a month, or using a lot of data, I find Sunrise to offer the better value.

International and Local calls

For calling outside Switzerland Salt seems to offer the best deal out of the big three SIM card providers.

Salt seems to have the cheapest international call rates:

  • France, Italy, Germany: from 0.03/min
  • United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia: from 0.03/min (0.25/min for mobile numbers)
  • United States, Canada: from 0.03/min

Swisscom charges start at 1.10/min for similar countries, and Sunrise has a bundle option of 5 CHF per month to reduce their charge only to 0.30/min (still more than Salt).

International calls with Lycamobile, apart from those to the EU, are slightly more expensive than Salt. Lyca charges, for example:

  • United states: from 0.06/min
  • Canada, Australia: from 0.05/min

I typically don’t use a SIM card to make international calls (unless it’s included in a prepaid amount that I’m going to lose anyway). If you’re interested in my favourite ways to save money on calls while travelling in other countries, check out the guide I wrote here: https://landinglastminute.com/calling-while-travelling-guide/

For local calls within Switzerland:

  • Sunrise offers unlimited calls on its 50 CHF bundle
  • Salt appears to offer the best value overall: 0.49 CHF for the first hour
  • Swisscom appears to be cheapest for calls less than 1 minute (0.29 CHF per minute)


Best coverage seems to be offered by Swisscom. This is closely followed by Sunrise. Lyca uses the Swisscom network.

Salt coverage isn’t as extensive, it appears to have gaps in coverage throughout the mountains. Coverage is available in towns and on major roads however.

I’ve never had the chance to experience coverage in the Swiss countryside, let me know if the carrier’s claims about mountain coverage are true.

Getting to Basel city centre to buy a SIM card

All major SIM card providers can be found in the Marktplatz area.

If arriving at the airport, buses travel to Basel SBB, from which it’s a short train or tram ride to Marktplatz (walking is also an option). Taxi and Uber are also available

If arriving at the Basel SBB station from elsewhere, it’s the same short train ride, tram ride, or walk to Marktplatz.

SIM card shops near Basel SBB station include Swisscom (on the south side, across the road) and many convenience stores and re-sellers. A greater variety of brands is typically available from these shops, such as Lycamobile.

Uber and ride-share

Uber is available in Basel, however it doesn’t seem popular. I’ve heard recommendations to get taxis, trams, or buses instead, even with luggage.

It may be a little awkward to find an Uber at Basel Airport, I can’t find any reliable information about where the pick up zone is and I’ve never tried it myself (even with luggage, I prefer the tram).


Taxis are available at Zurich Airport, but do not include Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi for Travellers Arriving in Basel

Free Wi-Fi is available at Basel Airport. Connect to Free_EuroAirport_WiFi, open up a browser, and accept the terms & conditions to get started. The Wi-Fi can be used for 24 hours.

Free Wi-Fi is available at Basel SBB train station (and many other SBB stations throughout Switzerland).

Do I need ID to buy a SIM card in Basel

Identification is required to purchase a SIM card in Basel, and anywhere else in Switzerland5. It is likely an address will be required as well, the address of a hotel or temporary accommodation should suffice.

Roaming to another country with a Swiss SIM card

Swiss SIM card providers often include bundles for roaming. For short visits to EU countries, these bundles can be a good trade-off of convenience and price compared to buying a local SIM. Outside the EU, a short-term visitor to Switzerland (who then travels on) would struggle to justify spending on Swiss roaming.


Crossing into France or Germany from Basel triggers EU roaming on a Swiss SIM card.

Some examples of EU roaming bundles:

  • Swisscom offers 200MB for 4.90 CHF or 1GB for 14.90 CHF
  • Sunrise offers 100MB for 9.90 CHF or 2GB for 29.90 CHF
  • Salt offers 1GB for 19.90 CHF or 5GB for 69.95 CHF

Lycamobile offers bundles that include EU roaming along with Swiss use, for example L bundle:

  • 29.50 CHF if bought with new SIM, 59 CHF for every top-up after
  • Unlimited local and EU calls, data, and SMS in Switzerland
  • Roaming EU allocation of 1GB of data and 1000 mins of calls or SMS

Making calls while roaming can cost more, except with Lyca. I usually focus on getting good data plans when I’m travelling, as I use the data to make calls. To find out why this is a good approach, check out the guide I wrote recently for making calls while travelling abroad: https://landinglastminute.com/calling-while-travelling-guide/

For extended stays in EU/EEA countries, it’s often better to buy a SIM card locally. I’ve written guides on where to find SIM cards when arriving in other cities in Europe, such as:

United States

If purchasing roaming data with Sunrise or Salt, the data can be used in the US as well.

Swisscom charges slightly more (add 5 CHF approximately) for roaming in the US, the bundles are similar.

Lyca doesn’t appear to offer any bundle for roaming in the US.

Other countries

Roaming with Swiss SIM cards is typically expensive in other countries (e.g. 100MB of data for 50 CHF). I prefer to buy a local SIM card when travelling, at least for the data.



Written by Chris who travels frequently for work and understands what it can be like to arrive somewhere new and unfamiliar.

I wrote Landing Last Minute to help the hurried traveler get necessary information about any destination.