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China Mobile connects top of the world

GSM cell tower to mount Everest

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China Mobile has asked Huawei, wannabe owners of 3Com, to install a GSM base station 6,500 metres up Mount Everest. This will create a cell which will cover the main route to the summit.

It won't be the first time a call has been made from the summit - back in May a base station was established with line of sight to the peak, allowing Rob Baber to call his family from the top (largely to tell them how cold it was up there, something they surely could have guessed).

The new solar-powered base station will cover the whole route up and down, which is generally more dangerous than hanging around at the top. The idea is to provide connectivity for climbers, and (most importantly) for the 2008 Olympic Torch Relay Team, to make the ascent safer.

Quite how being able to tell someone you're dying or stranded (or, realistically, both) isn't clear; Everest is too high for helicopters, so unless the weather is good you're only going to be saying goodbye, and one would hope that in good weather your problems wouldn't be so serious. ®

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