Climbers would now be able to make video calls and surf the Internet on their mobile phones while at the top of Mount Everest, thanks to a Nepalese telecom group.
Ncell, a subsidiary of Swedish phone giant TeliaSonera, said that it had set up a high-speed third-generation (3G) phone base station at an altitude of 5200 metres near Gorakshep village in the Everest region.
“Today we made the (world’s) highest video call from Mount Everest base camp successfully. The coverage of the network will reach up to the peak of the Everest,” News.com.au quoted Ncell Nepal chief Pasi Koistinen as telling reporters.
The installation will also help tens of thousands of tourists and trekkers who visit the world’s highest mountain every year.
Climbers who reached its 8848-metre peak previously depended on expensive and erratic satellite phone coverage and a voice-only network set up by China Mobile in 2007 on the Chinese side of the mountain.
“This is a great milestone for mobile communications as the 3G high speed internet will bring faster, more affordable telecommunication services from the world’s tallest mountain,” said Lars Nyberg, of TeliaSonera, which owns 80 per cent of Ncell.
The 3G services will be fast enough to make video calls and use the Internet, said the company.