Now, climbers and tourists can stay connected when visiting Mount Everest.
In every book and documentary regarding Mount Everest is the story of a barren mountain. The so-called ‘top of the world’ is a place with very difficult access and, over the years, has claimed the lives of many adventurers. However, it is still a tourist attraction that draws around 30,000 visitors a year, and now it has become enough of a market for Nepal Ncell to take note and offer services there.
Last Thursday Ncell opened the first base of the new Mount Everest 3G network. It has 9 towers from the airport in the region (2,870 meters above sea level) to the base of Everest (5,200 meters above sea level). Of the 9 towers, 4 use solar energy as their energy source.
Although the new network is quite an accomplishment for Ncell (and probably a very good marketing tool), its capacity is very limited. It allows only 50 people connected at the same time. At least the speed of 3.6 Mbps per second is quite acceptable and, if the business does well, the company has already said that could double the bandwidth.
The big question is whether the service can be used at the top of Everest at 8,848 meters above the sea level. For now, the company has not been tested to see if you can twitter from the top of the world, but surely there is already a passionate mountaineer on the social networks that is thinking about it. Ncell does not guarantee anything, but warns that “it is theoretically possible.”
The truth is that even if the signal does cover the summit you will not be able to make the first cell phone call, because it was already done by Bob Baber, an English climber in May 2007, albeit with a temporary repeater station.
Furthermore those who want to stay connected on the Everest must do something else too: find a cellular phone that works at very low temperatures which range between -20 and -35 degrees Celsius.