If you’re eagerly awaiting the broader rollout of 5G in your area, you might want to consider taking up mountain climbing. Vodacom and friends will have to come up with some excellent excuses why your dorpie doesn’t have access to superfast 5G when one of the most remote places on the planet has coverage already. Yup, you can Insta at high speed on the mountain if you really wanna, thanks to Huawei.
Yeah, seriously. The project is the result of Huawei and China Mobile, which have partnered up to build the Everest dual Gigabit network. The telecoms company has constructed 5G base stations in three locations on the mountain — at the Mount Everest Base Camp, the Transition Camp and then the Forward Camp. That last position, at 6,500 metres above sea level, is the highest place you can access a 5G signal (until they get coverage to Tommy Chong’s house, anyway).
You might be asking yourself “Why?!” And the answer to that, as with scaling the mountain itself is “Because.” The other question is: “What’s the signal like?” Huawei reckons you’ll get speeds of 1.66 Gbps at the Base Camp, which is 5,300 metres up. We’re not going to check because… well, it’s lockdown. Yeah, that’s the only reason we’re not going. Promise.
You know who is there? A dozen Huawei network specialists, who now basically live there (hopefully in shifts) above the clouds to keep Huawei’s 5G AAU and SPN tech running in one of the remotest bits of land on the planet. It’s not just about getting people online, though we reckon you can expect a few frozen influencers to hit news headlines before too long. No, Huawei’s set up its HoloSens surveillance system in order to “…display [the mountain] via 5G high-definition video and VR experience, [while providing] further insights for mountaineers, scientists and other specialists”, according to the company.