Mount Everest is the world’s highest peak.Climbers at the top of it will now be able to make video calls and surf the internet on their cell phones, a Nepalese telecom group claimed Thursday.Previously, climbers had to use satellite phones to stay in touch with the rest of the world.
Nepali telecom company Ncell said its new facility is the first 3G setup at the base camp of Mount Everest, the world’s tallest mountain at 8,850 meters (29,035 feet).
“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,” Ncell Nepal chief Pasi Koistinen said in Kathmandu.
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 29,029-foot 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.
The facility provides fast surfing on the web, sending video clips and e-mails, as well as calls to friends and family back home at far cheaper rates than the average satellite phone, the company said in a statement.
Despite the installation in Everest, telecom services cover less than one-third of the 28 million people of Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the world.
Ncell said TeliaSonera would spend over $100 million to expand its facilities in Nepal next year and ensure mobile coverage to more than 90 percent of the Himalayan nation’s population.