UPC Sunrise merger: what this changes for digitec connect (spoiler: nothing)
In 2019, Sunrise wanted to take over UPC, but the venture failed. Then, in 2020, the opposite happened: Sunrise was taken over by UPC and its parent company, Liberty Global.
Why should you care? Well, if you have a mobile subscription, you might want to know whose network you’re surfing and making calls on. Mobile subscriptions are becoming more and more complex. Back in the day, most smartphone owners had a direct subscription with Salt, Swisscom or Sunrise. But there are many more options today.
Currently, the sub-brand, branded reseller and MVNO markets are growing most rapidly. MVNO stands for Mobile Virtual Network Operator. These are companies that don’t have their own mobile network. Instead, they enter into cooperative agreements with major operators and are allowed to use their infrastructure. There are three major operators in Switzerland: Swisscom, Sunrise and Salt. Sub-brands and branded resellers also use a specific operator’s mobile network. But in their case, the operator also takes over tasks such as offer design, customer contracts and customer service.
There are many sub-brands, branded resellers and MVNOs. And there are currently around 20 providers vying for the favour of potential customers who make calls and surf the Internet. There’s M-Budget Mobile, Coop Mobile, Wingo, Aldi Mobile, Yallo, Lebara, Lidl Connect – and digitec connect, which we launched in July 2019.
Since the beginning, our team has relied on Sunrise as a partner. But now, the Swiss company is becoming part of the global telecommunications group, Liberty Global. And the Community has questions. For example, «How will this change the digitec connect subscription?» As it turns out, we have in-house people who have the scoop – how convenient. I get in touch with Thomas Peter, co-project manager and product owner of digitec connect.
Now that UPC is taking over, what will happen to the contracts that digitec connect has with Sunrise regarding the use of its network?
Thomas Peter: I don’t know if binders full of contracts will be moved anywhere. Especially since the company remains headquartered in Opfikon, where Sunrise was previously located. In any case, the contracts continue to be valid and will be transferred to the new owner.
Along with all the subscriptions of digitec connect customers?
No, not at all. Since we’re an MVNO, we take care of all subscription contracts. We don’t share them with Sunrise, and don’t pass them on for advertising purposes, either. Speaking of which, here’s some advice: if you're getting annoying advertising calls or text messages, check if there are any services you may have given your phone number to. It can easily happen when using certain apps or participating in competitions, for example. You can also report any spam to us. We then get in touch with Sunrise to see if other customers are also affected, and if the sender managed to somehow bypass the spam filter.
Does Sunrise – or, in the future, UPC – know who I’m calling and when?
No. The network operator does provide us with so-called Call Data Records, which contain information we need to issue invoices. For example, it contains details such as the A number, B number and the country code, which tells you in which country a call has taken place. Apart from the country code, we don’t know where exactly a given phone call took place, either. And for its part, Sunrise can’t link the information it gives us to customer information.
Unlike in the case of a sub-brand or branded reseller, as an MVNO, everything is in our hands. This aspect is extremely important to us. It means we can design our offer ourselves and constantly improve it with the help of the Community. We’ve developed everything ourselves so far. And, of course, we also take care of customer service ourselves.
Let’s finish off with a final question from the Community: how good is UPC’s mobile network?
There is no UPC mobile network. Until now, UPC’s mobile subscriptions have run on Swisscom’s network. Whether and when these subscriptions will switch to the Sunrise network is up to the new partners to decide.