Swiss Post is a company limited by shares subject to a special statutory regime that is wholly owned by the Swiss Confederation. The Confederation has mandated that it fulfil its universal service obligation to provide postal services, which is governed by the Postal Services Act and the Postal Services Ordinance.
The public service in relation to postal services is often understood to mean the entire range of Swiss Post services. Effectively, however, the universal service includes only some of those services. Swiss Post’s universal service obligation includes the country-wide delivery of addressed letters and parcels on at least five days a week, the country-wide delivery of subscription newspapers and magazines six days a week, payment transaction services, and the operation of a nationwide network of post offices and postal agencies.
The legal requirements to which Swiss Post is subject in the area of the universal service are set out in the postal legislation. They are among the strictest in the world. These requirements are reviewed each year by the competent supervisory authorities and are regularly met or even exceeded by Swiss Post. These figures are a clear indicator of the top quality of the public service in relation to postal services in Switzerland, including by international standards. Nowhere in Europe are A Mail letters delivered more punctually than in Switzerland. Furthermore, no other European country features as many branches and branches with partner per ten thousand inhabitants as Switzerland.
The universal service obligation
Swiss Post does not receive any compensatory payments from the Confederation for the services rendered as part of the universal postal obligation. While the Confederation does grant Swiss Post a monopoly on letters weighing less than 50 grams, Swiss Post finances the universal service itself. In some cases, unprofitable services within the universal service are co-financed through profitable services, for example the delivery of letters in mountain regions through the delivery of letters between cities. This solidarity is a part of Swiss public service and of Swiss Post’s basic understanding of itself.
To ensure the public postal service does not become mired in the status quo, Swiss Post believes a broad discussion on the future form and financing of the universal service is important.
Amendments to the Postal Services Ordinance
The changes in the Postal Services Ordinance lay the foundation for a modern universal service. Despite the more stringent requirements, Swiss Post will support the new provisions.
The residual letter monopoly
The residual monopoly for domestic letters up to 50 grams makes a contribution to financing the universal postal service. If it were ended, this contribution would have to be replaced by alternative sources of funding, or a review would be required for an amendment to the universal service.