SBB FreeSurf FAQ.


What is SBB FreeSurf and what are my benefits?

SBB FreeSurf offers you as a rail passenger free Internet access with your existing mobile phone price plan (subscription or prepaid offer).

Is data protection for passengers safeguarded?

Yes. SBB AG complies with the data protection regulations.

SBB guarantees that they are not tracking your movements and that the location data is deleted straightaway.

This data is used solely to determine the duration of data use for billing.

Customers expressly agree to the use of data before they use the free Internet access (we use the same approach for Free-WLAN).

The telecommunications operators have no passenger location data, only data on the period of use.

Does the free offer give the same speed of data transmission as a normal subscription?

SBB FreeSurf grants you access to the Internet with the best possible speed of data transmission along train routes (depending on availability and the capacity of the mobile network).

Is this service available for me?

Yes, if:

  • You have a Salt or Sunrise subscription.
  • You have a mobile device with the operating system iOS (iPhone 5 minimum) or Android (Android 4.4 minimum).
  • You travel by train on of the following routes: IC 5 (Geneva Airport –Biel/Bienne –Zürich HB), IC 5 (Lausanne–Biel/Bienne–St. Gallen), IC 51 (Basel SBB–Biel/Bienne).

No, if:

  • You have no subscription with Salt nor with Sunrise.
  • You travel on other SBB routes than IC 5 and IC 51. (With the timetable change in December 2020, the service will be extended to all SBB long-distance lines.)
How much does SBB FreeSurf cost?

The usage of SBB FreeSurf is free of charge for you.

SBB takes on the mobile network provider connection costs during the train journey.

Get started.

The registration cannot be completed. Why is that?

Possible reasons are:

  • The registration server is currently offline.
  • There is currently no data connection available.
  • There is an unknown problem with the system.
How can I activate the service?

As a Salt or Sunrise customer, you will need a standard smartphone (Android or iOS).

You can download the SBB FreeSurf app from the App Store (Apple) or the Play Store (Google).

After a one-off registration, you will have unlimited access to SBB FreeSurf on lines IC5 and IC51.

At your first connection, you need to complete a one-off registration and accept the GTCs.

After registration/activation, you will get a confirmation from your provider that from this point
you can browse the web for free using your mobile network provider.

I’ve just bought a SIM card and I’m getting an error message. What does that mean?

Supplying an approval message for free Internet use requires a process of co-ordination with the providers.

The activation of a new SIM card is somewhat delayed, which can lead to discrepancies in the case of newly installed SIM cards.

However, you will have unlimited use of SBB FreeSurf 24 hours after purchase of the SIM card.

I didn't receive any SMS after registering. Why?

One of the following reasons is possible:

  • You entered the wrong number.
  • The text message registration service may be down temporarily.
    Registration requests will be processed as soon as the system is restored.


The performance of theSBB FreeSurf service is poor. What is the reason?

All customers have access to the fastest connection along the route with SBB FreeSurf.

However, this depends on the network coverage along the route and the number of people who are accessing the same antenna.

Therefore, the data transmission rate is better on an empty train than a fully occupied train.

How to use SBB FreeSurf?

Make sure you are correctly registered to service (ref. "What exactly do I need to use SBB FreeSurf?").

Then follow the steps listed hereafter:

  • Get on a SBB InterCity tilting train on IC5 and IC51.
  • Activate «Bluetooth».
    The bluetooth connection uses a relatively large amount of power (you might want to take your charging cable with you).
  • Open the test app SBB FreeSurf. The «Mobile data» feature has to remain active in order to connect to your operator's network. de pouvoir établir une connexion avec le réseau de votre opérateur.
  • Press «Connect».
  • You will get a confirmation message from the provider that from this point you can browse the web for free.
  • On leaving the train or if you switch off the connection, you will receive a message saying that the free service has been deactivated.
How can I ensure that SBB FreeSurf won’t use mobile data before I connect?
  • iOS: In settings, deactivate “background updates” for all apps so that no unwanted data volumes are used in the background.
  • Android: In settings, deactivate “data saving” for all apps so that no data volumes are used in the background.
  • Before getting off the train, turn off the data connection without waiting for the confirmation SMS from Salt (notification that from now on, data usage is payable again / is deduced from your mobile subscription's data allowance).
Can FreeSurf damage my health?

Bluetooth is one of the weakest electromagnetic sources with a high frequency.

The SBB tags also function in a low energy mode and therefore these devices have a maximum transmission power that corresponds to approximately one per cent of the conventional wireless network.

This means that the exposure in close range (right beside the source of radiation) is approximately 0.5 per cent of the maximum exposure from a mobile phone.

The fields can barely be measured more than 2 m distance from these devices.

A connection with SBB FreeSurf could not be established. What is the reason?

Possible reasons:

  • The SBB FreeSurf server is currently offline.
  • There is no mobile service available at the moment.
  • Bluetooth connection is not activated.
  • The customer’s device is no longer supported.
  • The mobile service provider has refused to activate the
  • There is a problem with the network provider.
  • There is an unknown problem with the system.
SBB FreeSurf is unavailable. What can I do?

SBB FreeSurf is undergoing technology testing with the help of customers and is being further developed.

Due to its test status, the SBB FreeSurf service cannot be guaranteed 24/7.

Technical support from SBB FreeSurf can be guaranteed at the following times: Monday – Friday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.