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Battle in Swiss telecom market continues unabated

Switzerland’s largest telecommunications operator, Swisscom, announced a new service for its mobile phone customers Thursday. But market rival Diax continued to angrily point the finger at the former state-owned company.

This content was published on September 30, 1999 - 14:23

Switzerland’s largest telecommunications operator, Swisscom, announced a new service for its mobile phone customers Thursday. But market rival Diax continued to angrily point the finger at the former state-owned company.

Swisscom said customers of the Natel Easy category will now be able to make international phone calls with their prepaid cards.

The new service will be available in 90 countries and takes effect on October 1. It also allows customers to recharge their telephone cards by paying their subscription fees abroad by credit card.

The costs for 1 minute of Natel Easy talk range from SFr1 ($0.6) to SFr5 ($3.3).

Swisscom also announced Friday that its mobile phone customers would now be able to send short messages to subscribers of its rival company Diax.

Diax had already opened the SMS link to the Swisscom network in August.

The fight for market shares has been heating up considerably in Switzerland in recent months, particularly when Swisscom and the third key player in the mobile phone market, Orange, reached a roaming agreement – which means that Orange customers have access to the Swisscom network.

Diax says the Swisscom-Orange roaming agreement is illegal and has filed a formal complaint with the federal authorities.

All three companies have launched major advertising campaigns to lure customers in the booming communications market, which has literally exploded since the telephone market was deregulated.

Diax and Orange have sought relatively close business accords with Swisscom since the company is the follow up to the state-owned body, and therefore has the most technically up to date and broad-based telecommunications infrastructure.

Swisscom, which is traded on the Swiss stockmarket, still has the state as the majority share holder with 65.5 percent.

From staff and wire reports.

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