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IANS

Private sector telecommunication company of Nepal, Ncell is building the world's highest cell phone tower at an altitude of 5,200 metres on Mt. Everest, which will provide dedicated ultra fast 4G connectivity, The Kathmandu Post reported on Wednesday.

The Everest region receives nearly 60,000 trekkers and mountaineers annually. It is a high revenue generating segment of the tourism industry of Nepal because of the allure of the world's highest peak.

The company will erect base transceiver stations (BTS) in at least five locations in the Everest region, ranging in elevation from 3,830 to 5,204 metres above sea level, to serve mountain communities.

"If things go as per our plan, we will have our 4G live in the area by the fourth quarter this year," Ncell told the newspaper.

"Access to high-speed mobile broadband in the area will support multiple sectors, including tourism. With 4G access, the people from remote areas of the Everest region can take advantage of the opportunities that high-speed mobile connectivity brings. Tourists can share the excitement of their visit to the region and stay connected with their loved ones," according to the news report.

Once there is reliable connectivity, it contributes to creating innovative experiences for consumers, adding values for the tourism sector, the news added.

According to Ncell, an initial report has shown that 4G signal can be received on the Everest summit at 8,848.86 metres. It said the exact result would be known after the test is successful. The Everest base camp already has 4G service but there is no dedicated infrastructure. Improved Internet service will also help in disaster risk management and minimisation as the Sagarmatha or Everest region is located in a geographically remote area, the report said.

The Everest climbers need to spend $35,000 to $90,000 per person depending on the extent of support needed in terms of guides and supplies. This amount includes the cost of the climbing permit of $11,000.

"In the old days, climbers and trekkers used to carry satellite phones, which were expensive and required permits," said Ang Tshering Sherpa, former president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association. "It was a big hassle."

With 4G service, communication up to the summit will be enhanced. Foreign adventure seekers will not be the only ones benefiting from this scheme. It will also create a positive impact on locals in the remote mountainous region, particularly in search and rescue efforts.

"Indeed, it's welcome news," said Sherpa.

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