Standing atop the mighty Everest can be an exhilarating experience, but imagine being able to make video calls from the base station of Mount Everest. Reports confirm that a Chinese company has installed its station at a base camp that is at a height of 5200 metres. Reports quoted Zhuo Feng, General Manager with the branch as saying that the signal from the station at the base camp can reach as high as 6,500 metres. He went on to add that several tourists complain of being unable to make phone calls while at the base camp. “Now they can call their friends here and show them the picturesque landscape of Mount Qomolangma, the local name for Mt Everest,” he added.

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A statement issued by the mobile operator’s Tibetan branch read, “A just-finished week-long trial of the No 2 China Mobile 3G base station at the camp has found to be working well, providing a stable network service”. 

As per Zhou, there are no plans yet to move the base station to a higher altitude, because of pressure from environmentalists. Interestingly, he went on to add that the mobile network has been spread across 90 percent of the areas, along the route linking Lhasa, capital of southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, and the base camp. The base camp is known to be often used as a place to rest for climbers preparing for ascent or descent of the 8,848-meter-high Mountain.

An attempt to study the effects of climatic change on Mt. Everest gained popularity recently. A webcam, developed by a Germany-based surveillance firm, Mobotix had been set up at Kalapathhar, a base camp close to Mt Everest, which stands at an altitude of 5,675 meters. The webcam is powered by solar energy, and operates during the day. The camera began operations last year, and can withstand temperatures as harsh as minus 30 degrees. The live images sent in by the webcam will be wirelessly transmitted to Ev-K2-CNR Pyramid Laboratory, which will then be studied by scientists from Italy, who are running the entire project. 

Just this morning, we reported about state-run operator, BSNL together with SIS Infosystems launching telephones with video calling capabilities, in what is a much wider attempt to replace several of the existing Public Call Offices with public Video Call Offices. 

In his statement to reporters, BSNL Chairman and MD, R K Upadhyay affirmed that using the telephones with video calling capabilities, BSNL will set up public Video Calling Offices (VCOs), where users will be able to make voice calls to any phone and video calls to any other IP (Internet-based) phone. 

A 45-second video calling session at a VCO will cost a user Rs 3, which is inclusive of the 30 percent commission for the franchise owner. Upadhyay was further quoted as saying, “There will be no need to use computers for making video calls for user of these video phones.”

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