You want a phone line - that Last Mile is open but hardly competitive (yet). So what are the choices?
- Swisscom. Either Basic at 25,25 a month before calls or ISDN at 43,- (is this still current?) http://www.swisscom-fixnet.ch
- Digital Phone via Cablecom. 20,- per month for the line (first line, second line costs 10,-). Needs a cable modem installed between TV sockets and your phone http://www.digitalphone.ch
- VoIP. You'll need Internet for this. ADSL means you must IIRC have a Swisscom Basic abo; Using Hispeed means you have internet through the cable network. YMMV with this right now - certainly if you have to pay Swisscom so that you can have ADSL, you might want to look at Carrier Preselect instead (eg. Sunrise, Tele2, etc)
What is the best way for me to make long distance phone calls?
"I’ve got it and use it mostly for calling the UK. Works einwandfrei!" "I also used this--right now (march 2006) I think it is the cheapest to the United States (5 rappen per call). It is good when you live with a roommate, since everything goes on your credit card, and you can avoid dividing up the swisscom phone bill. But I don't think it would work with cabelcom--for that, helvatel works. I used to use www.10787.ch, which is the same company. In fact, I think helvatel is, too."
"I use helvatel.ch. I has the advantage that you do not register, but simply add their country-specific number to the start of your call and then it is added to you normal provider's bill. So I can phone Australia for 3rp/min and have it on my Sunrise bill."
Interestingly, tieftarife, 10787, 10881, helvatel, raptel and teleswiss are all run by the same Dutch company, Solaris Systems B.V. Even though both 10881 & 10787 are from the same Company, advertised prices are different. 10881 has some prices which are less expensive (1Rp /min to UK compared to 2.5Rp) However 10881 has refused Registrations once in August '06, and once on 06 Nov '06. Both times they give the same reason: Quote: Aufgrund von Kapazitätsproblemen ist es in den nächsten 6 Wochen nicht möglich sich für unseren Service anzumelden. (Due to capacity problems can't provide the service for another 6 weeks) Unquote. But you don't get this info until AFTER having given them your Credit Card details. I would like to know what kind of deal this is - some kind of scam?
Solaris Systems changes prices on fuchstarife.ch, raptel.ch, tieftarife.ch, budgettarife.ch, teleswiss.ch, helvatel.ch quite often, here is a good way to compare prices from all these websites : price comprising table (updates once a day)
Firstly, working around geographical systems for registration
Many VoIP registration sites will only give a local geographical number if you *appear* to be accessing the web from that country. This complicates web-registration because you have to make their system believe you are really in the country
It might actually not work first-time - some public proxy servers stop being public (as they're likely misconfigured). Keep plugging away and you'll finally find one to help you register.
Using the above workaround, you can get a UK incoming number in the area of your choosing and then either use X-Lite or something like a Linksys PAP2 VoIP adaptor which connects to a broadband router and with ports opened on your router, can function as a "normal" phone.
Configuration tips for this box:
Start here, you'll have to register (free) but it really will build a configuration that you can easily delivery to your PAP2. After doing that, you will need to change the DNS settings to DHCP, Manual as it is left as Manual - and that's no good.
If you were worried before, be worried now - we have to forward ports on the router to the PAP2 - so you need to know the IP address it will have and then define the ports listed here in the x-lite documentation to the PAP2 IP address.
Nobody said it was totally easy - but feel free to read the manual for your router and for the PAP2 before embarking on this journey!
"If you have cable or ADSL broadband, you can get a US telephone number with a company like Vonage, DeltaTree, or Net2Phone. I recently signed up with Vonage, and for $15 per month I get 500 minutes anywhere in the US and Canada (unlimited for $25/month). Setup is easy - you plug an adapter into your modem/router, and you connect a normal phone to the adapter. Sound quality can be a bit spotty at times, but probably no worse than any other VoIP provider. Overall I'm satisfied, and I'm paying less than I was dialing direct with Swisscom. It also saves people money when they call me from the States. The only catch is that you have to be in the US to get an adapter (I got mine at Radio Shack and it cost about $50)."
Comment Vonage locks their SIP devices, so if you purchase a generic device for use with another service, such as iconnecthere or any others that allow you bring-your-own-device, you will not be able to switch over to Vonage. Vonage is a slick service, but they give the user very little control. "
Comment Keep in mind that if you want to have the US version of Vonage (there is a UK and Canada Vonage as well) that you will need a US credit card ;-)
Skype is an instant-messenger/VoIP program with which you can call other computers for free (like any instant messenger program) and also call (land)phones in the US, Canada, Europe, and maybe other places for 2.2 Euro cents. Regardless where you live, you can also get a phone number for many countries for 30EUR/year so people could call you from a regular phone. The advantages are that you don't have to invest in anything more expensive than a microphone, if someone was temporarily in Switzerland, for instance, or traveled frequently. (You can also buy special USB phones or special converters to use a landline phone with Skype.) If your computer is not on, there is free voicemail. For a charge calls can also be forwarded to up to three other phone numbers.
Technical note: Skype is a proprietary technology, now owned by eBay. From wikipedia.org: "Skype is a proprietary peer-to-peer Internet telephony (VoIP) network, competing against established open VoIP protocols like SIP, IAX, or H.323." 
Starting mid-2005, a number of Swiss VoIP providers have also started to emerge - e-fon is just one of a few, sipcall.ch is another that I've recently become aware of. See providerliste.ch for a fairly comprehensive list and feature/price comparisons.
Switzernet was a wholesale trader between VOIP and TDM carriers. Starting 2005, Switzernet attempts to use its wholesale contracts and interconnections for providing the end users an access to the wholesale market. Since it is possible to establish a direct communication between the end user and the target operator, the communication rates are very close to the interconnection fees (calls to landlines in Switzerland, Germany, France, UK, and USA are rounded to zero). Switzernet provides substantial research efforts for the development of a proprietary technology, called Capillary Routing. There are about 20 other VOIP providers operating in Switzerland. Comparis.ch provides an up to date comparison of rates for all registered VOIP providers operating in Switzerland.