Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Wireless Networking Idle Technology

Mount Everest Gets 3G Service 150

Posted by samzenpus
from the yeti-bell dept.
bossanovalithium writes "It's what every mountaineer wants when they reach the summit of Mount Everest: a 3G high-speed communication. Those who have trekked to the top will soon able to call their mates, go on Facebook or Twitter, and boast that they got there thanks to TeliaSonera and its subsidiary in Nepal, Ncell, which have brought 3G to the Mount Everest area. Climbers who reached Everest's 8,848-meter-high 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."

*

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Mount Everest Gets 3G Service

Comments Filter:
  • I'm posting from there right now. So... very...cold...
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by boristdog (133725)

      Let your loved ones hear you freeze to death!

      • Re:It's true! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Gizzmonic (412910) on Friday October 29, 2010 @11:55AM (#34063478) Homepage Journal

        You joke, but I remember when I watched an IMAX documentary on Mt. Everest. One of the guys had climbed it several times, but he messed up and got stuck somewhere halfway up where he would definitely freeze or starve to death. He left behind his pregnant wife, and they played some of their last conversation. After the final conversation, the narrator called the guy a hero. I remember that pissing me off even as a kid. How can someone who pointlessly risks his life when he has responsibilities to a wife and child be called a hero? People who climb Mt. Everest aren't heroes, they're thrillseekers who border on suicidal. Which is fine, but let's be honest about it.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Shakrai (717556) *

          He left behind his pregnant wife, and they played some of their last conversation. After the final conversation, the narrator called the guy a hero. I remember that pissing me off even as a kid. How can someone who pointlessly risks his life when he has responsibilities to a wife and child be called a hero?

          Am a I heartless bastard if the first thought that crossed my mind was "Damn, he successfully passed on his genes before dying of gross stupidity"? I'd suggest a Darwin award but the idiot managed to reproduce before he kicked the bucket.

          • Re:It's true! (Score:5, Insightful)

            by dtml-try MyNick (453562) <{litheran} {at} {gmail.com}> on Friday October 29, 2010 @12:35PM (#34064062)

            Am a I heartless bastard if the first thought that crossed my mind was "Damn, he successfully passed on his genes before dying of gross stupidity"? I'd suggest a Darwin award but the idiot managed to reproduce before he kicked the bucket.

            Let's see, the physical strength and stamina to climb one of the toughest mountains on earth several times, not to mention the mental fitness, flexibility and willpower one needs in large quantities in order to do something like that.

            I'd say his genes were top of the bill really

            Funny you mention Darwin though.. .
            The guy traveled around the world, visiting remote deserted places for years at a time in a era where such voyages were still the equivalent of playing Russian roulette. Also gross stupidity?

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              I don't think strength and stamina can be considered 'fit' traits anymore. The caveman days are over.

              The best definition of Darwinian 'fitness' I have ever come across is the expected value of the total fitness in one's offspring. This is defined recursively, until the heat death, Armageddon, Resurrection, or however else life as we know it will end, you take your pick, much like a search tree for a game of checkers. As a consequence, in any Western society, where death is increasingly rare before sexu

            • Physical attributes. The most important!

              • Physical attributes. The most important!

                No, it is *a* important attribute. Even in this day and age.

                Generally speaking, the fittest person (mentally and/or physically) is the person who has the biggest advantages, no matter where, when, why or how.

                Which of the two is the most important depends entirely on your current situation.

                Since any given situation can change completely in a split second it's foolish to dismiss any trait as less important.

            • by iamhassi (659463)
              "the physical strength and stamina to climb one of the toughest mountains on earth several times, not to mention the mental fitness, flexibility and willpower one needs in large quantities in order to do something like that."

              And the corporate sponsors!

              Think I'm joking? Children climb Mt. Everest [go.com], but not without a long list of corporate sponsers like Energizer and Mary Kay (have to look nice in the photos!) [jordanromero.com]. The elderly also climb Mt Everest. [wikipedia.org]

              Climbing Mount Everest isn't impressive anymore, As of [wikipedia.org]
            • by iamhassi (659463)
              "Funny you mention Darwin though.. . The guy traveled around the world, visiting remote deserted places for years at a time in a era where such voyages were still the equivalent of playing Russian roulette. Also gross stupidity?"

              Um.... what? Don't you know why it's called the Darwin award?? [darwinawards.com] HAND IN YOUR GEEK CARD IMMEDIATELY!
          • by kenj0418 (230916) on Friday October 29, 2010 @12:47PM (#34064264)

            I read "He left behind his pregnant wife" and my first thoughts were - "Damn that's heartless of him" and "WTF was she doing climbing Everest if she was pregnant anyway?"

          • by Bobtree (105901)

            Parenthood does not reduce his eligibility for a Darwin Award! Read the rules.

        • Re:It's true! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29, 2010 @12:09PM (#34063674)

          We do that all the time. We call slain police officers and soldiers "heroes", when really they aren't. They have dangerous jobs and working a dangerous job means that you run a higher than normal risk of injury or death. They get extra pay and extra benefits (police pension, G.I. bill education, etc) to help compensate for the additional risk. Sure, their deaths are tragic and sad and usually unnecessary, but that doesn't make them heroes.

          I only consider someone to be a hero when they go above and beyond. For example, a guy off the street who runs into a burning building to save someone is showing heroism in my book.

          I find the overuse of the word "hero" just as annoying as every time there's a natural disaster and thousands of people die, but one child survives, everyone starts calling it a "miracle". A miracle would be if we never had natural disasters. Or if we had a giant earthquake and *not one person* died.

          • Re:It's true! (Score:4, Insightful)

            by harrkev (623093) <kfmsd@harrelsonf ... g minus language> on Friday October 29, 2010 @12:22PM (#34063860) Homepage

            They ARE heroes. They know that they could die in the line of duty, and they do what has to be done anyways (extra pay does not matter). We need policemen and firemen (anybody who suggests otherwise just needs to look no further than Somalia). We do NOT have to have mountain climbers to function as a society. I admire their bravery, but mountain climbers are doing it for themselves and as such are not heroes.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              No, they're not "heroes." They're doing their job. A "hero," is a person who willingly throws themselves into mortal danger for the benefit of another. I think, for example, about Lenny Skutnik, the bystander who, in January 1982 leapt into an ice-choked Potomac River to help save the life of a passenger from the wreckage of Air Florida Flight 90. Actually there were at least three other heroes in the Flight 90 saga: Helicopter pilot Donald Usher, bystander Roger Olian and of course Arland Williams Jr., w
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Wiarumas (919682)
                A hero is someone who throws themselves into mortal danger for the benefit of another. PERIOD. It doesn't say compensation is a dis-qualifier. I agree that not all cops, firemen, etc are heroes by default, but their profession does allow them to go above and beyond for another human being. A patrol cop handing out parking tickets is not a hero, but the fireman who saves a little girl from a burning building who would have otherwise died is. He put himself at risk and saved another. Sure, it might be h
                • by Peeteriz (821290)

                  Ergo, the mountain climber is no hero, as he throws himself into mortal danger only for the benefit of his ego.

                • by sznupi (719324)

                  Cops, firemen, etc. are not even in the top10 of most dangerous jobs by mortality rates.

                  By your standard, the level of heroism of loggers (doing the job for other people, so they can have all the wood they need - in the past warmth saving from disease and death, now construction material (which must be safe) or paper (for education or functioning of public services - think how many deaths were saved by information kept on those pieces of paper)), fishermen (so other people will have food, won't starve) or c

            • There is a lot of thrill-seeking involved in those jobs too. Not to say there isn't the chance of heroism like the rescuers at the WTC...but there is also the chance that they do more harm than good in pursuing glory.
            • Police officers and firefighters are not even in the top 10 of most dangerous jobs, by fatality rates; soldiers probably likewise.

              Conventional wisdom is often wrong; logger, fisherman, construction worker, drivers, etc. are much more dangerous.

            • by hipp5 (1635263)

              They ARE heroes. They know that they could die in the line of duty, and they do what has to be done anyway.

              Then I would have to say the REAL heroes are construction workers. According to this [fbi.gov] site, the US had 673,146 officers in 2005. The number of line-of-duty deaths? 165 [odmp.org]. That's a rate of 0.245 deaths per 1000 officers.

              Compare that to this news [go.com] that the rate of US construction worker workplace deaths is between 6 and 7 per 1000 workers, around 25 times the workplace death rate of police officers, and the construction workers don't necessarily get paid well for the risk.

              Yes, the police do an important job, an

          • by slapout (93640)

            I would call anyone who is willing to risk their life for me a hero. And that is exactly what police, fireman and soldiers do every day.

            • Eh. I'd call a non-corrupt cop who works in a legitimately high violent crime area a hero. Your random suburban cop, or cop that abuses their authority? Not so much.

              Like any job that provides power, you're going to get both good people who legitimately want to use that power to make the lives of those around them better and douchebags who just wanted the power. I don't think being able to regard the former as a hero necessitates that I should have to do the same for the latter.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by pckl300 (1525891)

            A miracle would be if we never had natural disasters. Or if we had a giant earthquake and *not one person* died.

            Isn't that what happened with the Chilean miners? I don't think there were any deaths... that's pretty miraculous.

            • by sznupi (719324)

              If only during the time the Chilean miners were trapped, an order of magnitude more miners wouldn't die worldwide...

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            > "They get extra pay and benefits..."
            I can't speak to the Police pay and benefits, but as a retired USAF E-6 I can speak to military pay & benefits. Military pay is just above the poverty level. As a 15 year NCO in California, I qualified for subsidized housing. Living was paycheck to paycheck and any unanticipated expense (and some of the anticipated ones) were a financial disaster.
            Yes, I "retired" after 20 years (while remaining part of the reserve forces for the privilege), but not with anywhere

        • Re:It's true! (Score:4, Insightful)

          by dtml-try MyNick (453562) <{litheran} {at} {gmail.com}> on Friday October 29, 2010 @12:25PM (#34063908)

          No, these are people that want to probe the boundaries and limits of their world, want to explore, excel and stretch their own limitations. These are most likely the types that actually will become true heroes if the situation would call for it.

          If the guy climbed mt Everest several times than he and his wife were fully aware of the risks involved. About 1 in 10 climbers die on that mountain I think. So if she got pregnant she was fully aware that her husband had a decent chance of never returning.

          They made choice, who are you to judge them about that?

          • by sznupi (719324)

            It's very easy to find situations / areas that would call for true heroism...

            And while people can easily say they are conscious of certain risk, there's always the effect of hoping how I will cheat it.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Gizzmonic (412910)

            These are most likely the types that actually will become true heroes if the situation would call for it.

            And you know this how? 'Probing the boundaries of reality'? Please. His single motivating factor was pride, plain and simple. He wasn't probing the boundaries of reality any more than the woman who died from water poisoning in an attempt to win a Wii game console.

            They made choice, who are you to judge them about that?

            Wait, I'm confused. You just got done telling me that this guy is a hero because he

        • by barzok (26681)

          You're talking about Rob Hall. May 1996 was a very bad month on Everest. I'm not sure how to feel about Hall - he was a very accomplished climber and guide, and was very conscious of safety concerns.

          However, on that expedition, he had a client with him who had previously attempted Everest with him, and they were unable to make the summit. Hall pressed forward in 1996, hell-bent on getting that client to the summit to make up the previous failure, completely ignoring his 2 PM "point of no return" deadline -

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Bob-taro (996889)

          How can someone who pointlessly risks his life when he has responsibilities to a wife and child be called a hero?

          I'm not comfortable deciding what is "pointless" for someone else. I wonder what his wife and child thought of it? Some would say that sending men to the moon was a pointless risk.

        • You joke, but I remember when I watched an IMAX documentary on Mt. Everest.

          Wow, I didn't know they'd built an IMAX all the way up there!

        • The man you refer to is Rob Hall [wikipedia.org] who at the time had climbed Everest more times than any other non-Sherpa. He was leading a group of paying climbers that he wouldn't abandon to save his own life. I recommend reading the Jon Krakenauer book Into Thin Air [amazon.com] which covers the biggest tradgey on Everest that occured whilst the IMAX team were filming. Ed Shears and David Breshers part of the IMAX team were part of the rescue effort. From the outside the world of high altitude climbing does appear to be about thrill
    • I've got a message from your boss: the [complicated work thing] is down and you need to be back at the office right away. The stern lecture about being slow to respond to the [truthfully trivial] emergency that would have been weathered fine without you should heat you up good and plenty.

      And you thought mountaineering was a "safe" hobby.

      Wireless internet in the wilderness: now making sure work can follow you "home" even when you aren't there.

  • by PatPending (953482)
    First Summit!
  • If you give me voice you've just given me digital.

    Sure, it may be sub-300 bps digital but is more likely at least 4800 bps and the latency may be terrible, but you've given me digital.

    • by Xoder (664531)
      A lot of the audio compression done on cell signals can, and will, completely ruin a data connection. And even if the compression doesn't get you, the occasional dropped packet with silence fill enabled will cause the modem to give up entirely.
    • by sznupi (719324)

      Considering the network on the Chinese side can almost certainly carry SMS - transferring data via this channel, in a way similar to how WAP could use it, would be probably more straightforward, reliable and faster (considering voice-optimised compression)

    • by gravis777 (123605)

      You obviously have not driven around Rural Texas. Still lots of old analogue towers out there, with no data - that's right, no text messaging, no internet, no visual voice mail until you change repeaters. Considering this is setup on a mountain, is it really that hard to imagine that its an old antenna, with a microwave dish pointed to some distant reaches of the outskirts of China that may not have internet access?

      • by JesseL (107722) *

        It's a sad day when we have slashdotters who are completely unaware of the concept of an acoustic coupler.

  • NOOoooowwwww.....?

  • Now if only they would add 3G service to my aunt's neighborhood...

    (Just saying... it would be a lot more practical.)
  • First person to climb to the top, take a picture of their junk, and post it on Facebook using the 3G access wins!

  • Now all is left is to build McDonalds on the top.
  • Peak Hours (Score:3, Insightful)

    by digitaldc (879047) * on Friday October 29, 2010 @11:46AM (#34063328)
    Now Verizon can do a 'Can you hear me now?' commercial from the top of Mt. Everest and the answer will be 'YES! NOW LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE!'
    • by sznupi (719324)

      I suspect that might still be a problem - with a Verizon phone, in a network of GSM family...

  • Thats all that it is, sounds cool but utterly worthless to almost every-one.
    • by sznupi (719324)

      Or a side effect of expanding their network in Nepal (which they apparently do, also in rural areas), a very useful thing - at some point allowing close enough line-of-sight view of the mountain from some cellular base stations primarily serving local population; or maybe at most via trivial expansion of nearby infrastructure.

      In a place where there's a rotating group of people with lots of money (a rarity there), valuing ability to stay in contact and of decently fast internet access.

  • Still, I expect there'll be a Starbucks there soon enough.
  • Not at all unusual (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AntEater (16627) on Friday October 29, 2010 @11:52AM (#34063426) Homepage

    Last year I led a group of college age students on a hike up a small local mountain (2700'). First thing that nearly every one of them did at the top was to whip out their cell phones and call someone to let them know where they were. I guess this falls under the "why not" category. Maybe it'll even help with rescue efforts for those who get lost or injured when on the mountain.

    • by b0bby (201198)

      Maybe it'll even help with rescue efforts for those who get lost or injured when on the mountain.

      The downside, of course, is the people who go places they shouldn't, without the equipment they should have, confident that if something goes wrong they can just call for help. It's not a reason for not carrying a phone, but few things are an unmitigated good.

      • by hitmark (640295)

        Yep, i recently read about someone being told to basically stay the night when calling rescue from some hillside. I think they had issue with fog on the way down, tho the weather was warm enough to sleep outdoors.

    • There's an app for that.
  • Now I will be able to e-mail Mountain Rescue when I get into difficulties. How do you operate an Android keyboard with frost-bitten fingers?

    • by mysidia (191772)

      Now I will be able to e-mail Mountain Rescue when I get into difficulties. How do you operate an Android keyboard with frost-bitten fingers?

      There are a number of vendors that sell capacitive stylus for the HTC and other Android devices. As long as you can still grasp with your palms, you should be okay.

      • by kellyb9 (954229)

        There are a number of vendors that sell capacitive stylus for the HTC and other Android devices. As long as you can still grasp with your palms, you should be okay.

        It's actually all a moot point since there's little to no chance of rescue on Everest.

        • by sznupi (719324)

          Some Eurocopter landed on the summit few years ago - so just wait a while? A matter of setting up the service to assure safety of those willing to pay for it...

    • by rokstar (865523)
      No, more like you can still get a call right before you die from your boss informing you that his internet is down
  • by macwhizkid (864124) on Friday October 29, 2010 @11:53AM (#34063450)

    Now we're going to have to endure stupid TV ads that incorporate Everest:

    Verizon: The largest and TALLEST 3G network!

    ATT: The fastest and HIGHEST 3G network!

    Then the lawyers will file suit, and we'll have interviews on CNN with a bunch of middle-American jury candidate idiots trying to decide whether highest == tallest ("well, ya see, ah looked it up een mah dictionary, and ah guess who eyver wrote English decided the two words ahr diff-rent, so they must nawt be the same!")

    Meanwhile, T-Mobile will remind everyone that "Stick Together" is good advice for mountaineering, especially since they don't have coverage there. Verizon will eventually phase out "Rule the Air" to "Rule the Entire Atmosphere!"

    Eventually, Apple will release a new iPhone or something and people will move on to talk about that instead and still not be able to find Everest on a map.

    • by cbhacking (979169)

      I realize you're joking but...

      If you want coverage there using a US phone, T-Mobile is the one to go with. Ncell is GSM, so Verizon is right out, and AT&T uses a different band for 3G so you'd get crappy speed even if you could unlock your phone. T-Mobile will unlock your phone for free after 3 months, at which point you could pop in a Ncell SIM card and get 3G. Mind you, Nepal in general doesn't have particularly fast Internet.

      Why yes, I was just there (with an unlocked T-Mobile phone, even). This is a

  • by geekmux (1040042) on Friday October 29, 2010 @11:58AM (#34063522)

    "So, what caused the Avalanche?"

    "Dunno. All I heard was some guy yelling 'Can you hear me NOW?!?' and then all hell broke loose."

  • Not what it was (Score:4, Informative)

    by nloop (665733) on Friday October 29, 2010 @11:58AM (#34063530)

    K2 is the real challenge these days. With enough money you can have your lazy ass dragged to the summit of Everest. Fitting.

  • Kind of a shame (Score:3, Insightful)

    by timeOday (582209) on Friday October 29, 2010 @12:01PM (#34063568)
    Some of us, and many of our parents, were born into a world where no man had ever set foot on Everest. It was only climbed in 1953! The first without oxygen not until 1978.

    Now, everybody and their dog is doing it. Helicopters land on it. Discovery Channel had a reality show about it. The mountain is heavily littered with garbage. And now you can surf the web from your iPhone up there. I realize this is all inevitable eventually with better technology. But I am a little jealous of our forebearers, for whom there existed unknown frontiers. And solitude is extinct.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rossdee (243626)

      I am sure that the late Sir Edmund Hillery would prefer they gave better connectivity to the poor villages in the surrounding area.
      (and Tenzing Norgay too)

      • by cbhacking (979169)

        Considering that Nepal in general and the Khumbu (Everest region) in particular is incredibly mountainous, and that cell phones use line-of-sight frequencies, putting a cell tower up where it can see the summit of Everest also means extending the coverage over the entire region by a huge amount. The people of that region - mostly Sherpas (it's an ethnic group, not a job description, BTW) - are lucky if they have electricity for 4 horus after the sun sets, except in the largest villages. Satellite phones are

    • But I am a little jealous of our forebearers, for whom there existed unknown frontiers. And solitude is extinct.

      Excuse me? I see those frontiers every time I look up at the night sky. You are just looking in the wrong direction.

    • by sznupi (719324)

      But I am a little jealous of our forebearers, for whom there existed unknown frontiers. And solitude is extinct.

      Only if one chooses it to be so... (both not willing to give up our modern toys and acting disgusted about them)

    • by Shakrai (717556) *

      And solitude is extinct.

      WTF are you talking about? Even if you live in a concrete jungle like Manhattan, solitude is but a few hours away. If you live in a less densely populated area it's probably only a few minutes away. They don't have state and national forests/parks/preserves where you live?

    • by fermion (181285)
      I don't think that the situation is this dire. Sure, the high profile places with heavy promotion and profit opportunities are fully exploited. On the other hand highest does not mean most difficult to pursue, especially when every trail has been mapped.

      I believe that their are a few high peaks that remain unclimbed. This might make them more important that tall peak. I mean any deity can hide in high peak. It takes a cleaver deity to live in a lower, but well protected, peak.

      Also there are a few p

    • by wumpus188 (657540)

      Don't worry, there's always K2 [wikipedia.org] and Denali [wikipedia.org].

  • To be the first person to tweet: "On Mt. #Everest #mountain #climbing just reached the #Summit pwn3d. ph3ar m3 n0w n3wbs, for I am l337. Next stop, #Olympus Mons"

  • This absolutely needs to be a Foursquare check-in point.
  • Joe just checked in to Mount Everest - Summit.
  • I live in KTM and have NCELL on a smartphone. While they are better then the state-sponsored service, NTC, my advice to tourists going up the Nepali side is to keep their sat phones handy. I'd hate to be trouble up there and get a "Sorry, Network Busy" - as we do all the time down here in the valley.
  • Won't last a Season (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dogma2fun4u (1931390)
    Between vandalism and weather the equipment won't last more then a season. On the north side (Chinese side) the only intact equipment is the main terminal at base camp and one additional repeater part way up the mountain (between BC and IBC). All the remaining equipment above IBC and ABC is non-functional, no use to any climbers. It's going to be the same on the Nepal side. http://7tops.com/media/max/1/5059.jpg [7tops.com] http://www.everestnews.com/everest2010/7summitseverest201005272010.htm [everestnews.com]
  • So I thought commodity hardware had problems at high altitudes and extreme temperatures? Hell, they have special LCD TVs for high altitude livable locations.

  • They probably had 3G on Everest back in the 1920s...
  • Now imagine the LOS from a tower at the top of Everest!

Saliva causes cancer, but only if swallowed in small amounts over a long period of time. -- George Carlin

Working...