Here's good news for all who were planning to climb Mt Everest and then call home to let Aunt Martha and Uncle Harry know that they got up there ok. It's also good news for those who were planning to climb home and call Mt Everest to let them know:
Now 3G mobile phone service has reached the top of the peak. A Nepalese telecom group Ncell, a subsidiary of Swedish phone giant TeliaSonera, says people can make video calls and surf the Internet on their mobile phones, thanks to a high-speed phone base station at an altitude of 17,000 feet near Gorakshep village in the Everest region. (from the Washington Post)
I won't even belabor the fact that tourists will ascend the full 29,029 feet of Everest and then whip out their iPads, SmartguyPhones and I don't know what-all else so they can update their Facebook profile to say "ROB BANKS is standing atop Mount Everest, dude! You got to come and SEE this place!!!!"
I will bet you that calls to and from that high-up peak will sound better than local cell calls. There came a time several years ago that I had to call my sister about a matter of my mother's care. My sister was in France at that time, presumably drinking café au lait and wearing a beret. The sound from my cell here to hers over there was crystal clear. Then, I had to call Peggy to see if we had any baguettes or Crêpes Suzette, no? And she was maybe ten miles away and I could hardly hear her.
So, next time someone calls you and you can't hear anything but static, just say "Go to the top of Mt. Everest and call me back."
And I bet, a lot of them will.