New use of roadside assistance number 140

Biel/Bienne, 29.11.2012 - For the first time, the telephone number for roadside assistance will be available to a total of four companies from 1 January 2013: in addition to the Touring Club of Switzerland (TCS), Allianz Global Assistance (AGA), Medicall and Swiss DLC will also be able to offer breakdown services on the 140 number, as per a decision of the Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM).

Previously, the Touring Club of Switzerland (TCS) was the sole holder of the 140 short number for the provision of breakdown services. In the autumn of 2010, OFCOM decreed that Allianz Global Assistance (AGA) also fulfilled the conditions for use of the 140 number and that the number was to be used jointly by the companies. The decision was confirmed by the Federal Court at the end of 2011. In the spring of 2012, OFCOM approved two further applications for shared use of the 140 short number (Medicall and Swiss DLC).

The companies subsequently submitted a joint proposal on the use of the number which was approved by OFCOM. This provides for a transitional period until the end of 2013; persons requiring assistance, after their call to the 140 number is received, must clarify by pressing a key whether they wish to be connected to "Strassenhilfe Schweiz [Roadside Assistance Switzerland]" or the TCS. If the first option is selected, the calls are distributed alternately to the four companies. In the second case, the call is redirected to the TCS. The transitional solution reflects the fact that currently most calls to the 140 number are made by members of the TCS. From 1 January 2014, calls to the roadside assistance number will be divided equally between the companies. The latter are obliged to redirect callers if it becomes apparent at the start of the conversation that they have already taken out roadside assistance insurance with one of the other authorised companies.

The allocation of short number 140 for joint use will take place on 1 January 2013. It is up to the companies to define the time at which the new system will be implemented.

Allocation of short numbers
Short numbers consist of 3 to 5 digits and always start with the number 1. Only a few such numbers can be generated within the framework of the Swiss numbering plans. Therefore, the allocation of short numbers is restricted to services which benefit the general public. The Ordinance on Addressing Resources in the Telecommunications Sector contains a definitive list of services for which a number may be requested. For allocation by the Federal Office of Communications, it is required that a service must be available at any time throughout Switzerland and in the three official languages. Well-known short numbers include 112 (European emergency services number), 117 (police emergency number), 118 (fire brigade emergency number), 144 (ambulance emergency number) and 143 (Dargebotene Hand [Samaritans]). A list of all allocated short numbers can be found on a Federal Office of Communications web page (OFCOM online).

Address for enquiries

Federal Office of Communications OFCOM
Press service, +41 58 460 55 50,


Federal Office of Communications