KATHMANDU, April 20: Mobile phone services will soon be available on top of Mt Everest, the world’s tallest peak. The service, which will operate on both GSM and CDMA handsets, will be introduced by Nepal Telecom (NT), Nepal’s largest telecom company.
“We are planning to commence the service by mid-June this year,” Anoop Ranjan Bhattarai, chief of NT’s satellite division, told Republica. “We hope it will provide an alternative to those currently relying on satellite phone services such as the one provided by Thuraya.”
NT is extending its cell phone network to the top of the world with the help of a satellite antenna, which will soon be installed in Gorak Shep, located at an altitude of 5,160 meters. NT has installed satellite antennas in around seven locations in the Mt Everest region, including Lukla and Namche Bazar, located at 2,800 meters and 3,440 meters above sea level, respectively.
“All these antennas can smoothly handle around 3,000 calls at once,” Bhattarai said. “But we will increase the number of terminals depending on the traffic in the region.”
NT has a cell phone subscriber base of around 2.8 million. That clientele group makes up around 60 percent of the total mobile phone users in the country.