Making a phone call from the top of the most formidable mountain in the world is no small feat. But, once Nepal Telecom (NT) sets up a permanent cell-tower near Mt. Everest, the hardest thing about making a cellphone call from the top will be the climb. The extension of NT’s cellular network to the top of the world’s most-recognized mountain will allow tech-savvy mountain climbers to use their GSM or CDMA handsets throughout the treacherous climb to the peak.
British climber Rod Baber recently made headlines for himself and Motorola by making a couple phone calls from the top of Mt. Everest. The publicity stunt was made possible by a far-off Chinese cell-tower that managed to get at least a little reception from the north side of the mountain’s 29,035 foot peak. Once NT goes live with their Mt. Everest wireless coverage plans, phones calls from The Peak may become as commonplace as the climbing-tours that take questionably-fit climbers to the top.
“We are planning to commence the service by mid-June this year,” Anoop Ranjan Bhattarai, chief of NT’s satellite division, told Republica. NT will make use of a satellite antenna installed in Gorak Shep, located at an altitude of 5,160 meters. The cell-site will be able to handle about 3,000 phone calls simultaneously.
The days of expensive satellite-phone calls from exotic locales may soon be coming to a close. With cellular service pervading nearly every corner of the globe, a world-roaming unlocked GSM handset may soon kill off much of the satellite phone market.