3G networking reaches the top of the world
Cream brought the country blues classic Sittin' on top of the world to an international audience in the late 1960s... and now you can watch it on YouTube while you're sitting there. Through its subsidiary Ncell, the Swedish telecommunications group TeliaSonera has launched 3G services in the Mount Everest area of Nepal – which makes the company the providers of the world's highest mobile data service.
The new 3G base station is located at an altitude of 5,200 meters (around 17,000 feet) and "will bring faster, more affordable telecommunication services to the people living in the Khumbu Valley, trekkers, and climbers alike," according to Lars Nyberg, President and CEO of TeliaSonera. The company has confirmed that those at the summit will be able to update their Facebook profile with a photo from the top of the world (although in such a deadly environment, you could be forgiven for having your mind on other things).
The first video call made over the network was to the highest base station on October 28, with speeds of up to 4-5Mbps being available. TeliaSonera also told Gizmag that there are now seven 3G base stations in the Everest region, all of which are either solar or solar hybrid powered. The company says that 14 cities in the area are also 3G-enabled, including Katmandu, Itahari, Bharatpur and Nepalgunj.
Although the company reports that mobile device use by locals is still relatively low, it is increasing and Ncell says that it will provide coverage for 90 per cent of the people of Nepal by the end of 2011.