While Indian private operators are still one or two months away from commercial launch of 3G services in urban areas and no strict plan to offer rural 3G right now, Nepal creates a landmark when 3G reaches peak with Mount Everest 3G services.
Nepal’s 2nd largest mobile firm NCell, a 80% owned subsidiary of Scandinavian telecom major TeliaSonera has set up eight 3G base stations (four solar-operated base stations and four traditional towers ) in the Everest region including Mt Everest base camp at Gorakhshep at a height of 5180 metres to provide quality voice and 3G wireless broadband services for local residents and mountaineers from all around the world preparing to climb the world’s highest mountain.
NCell reports the system is capable of handling 3,000 calls simultaneously and the Everest station will have coverage till the summit at 8848 metres and allow climbers access to high speed internet and video calls using their mobile phones. It would also enable climbers to keep track of rapidly changing weather patterns in the region.
It’s the world’s highest 3G mobile phone base station. TeliaSonera also has the record for setting up the world’s lowest 3G base station at a height of 1400 metres below sea level in an European mine.
On the launch of all eight stations in the Mt. Everest project on October 19, Ncell CTO Aigars Benders congratulated the achievement saying: “You are on the peak of the world!With the launch of the 3G station, visitors to the south side of Mt. Everest can share what they see, what they feel, and what they think during their trip to Mt. Everest with their friends and relatives at any time.”
The complete equipment and network solutions comes from ZTE Corporation. To withstand the high altitude and extremely harsh natural environment of the Himalayas, ZTE provided a tailor-made solution for the Mt. Everest project with a strong “green” environmental-friendly focus. The micro base-station is based on the SDR platform with a low power-consumption, small footprint, and is easy to install. A one-piece ground tower and heat-insulating Diet shelter are used in the stations, which allow them to be installed quickly without the need for earthwork and foundation construction. Solar panels were also incorporated in the design to ensure that the station has power supply throughout the year and be environmentally friendly. These will allow the station to operate at optimal levels even with outdoor temperatures as low as minus 30 to 40 degrees Centigrade with minimal power usage.
In 1852 Radhanath Sikdar, an Indian mathematician and surveyor from Bengal, was the first to identify Everest as the world’s highest peak, Mt Everest was first climbed on 29 May 1953 by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. For years, satellite phones provided voice service to climbers and rescue workers, but the erratic weather in the region often rendered satellite service ineffective. In 2007 before the Beijing Olympics China Mobile established a cell tower on Mount Everest on Tuesday, making it possible for climbers and those on Olympic torch relay to make calls. The project from NCell and ZTE removes all these hurdles.