On May 27, Chinese Mountaineering Association (CMA) summited Mount Everest to re-measure its height. This is the third time when CMA started the measurement operation after the first times in 1975 and 2005. In order to accurately measure the height of Mount Everest, the team also had to use satellite GPS, meteorological detection and other technologies to repeatedly verify the data and release the final number in 2-3 months.
First ever 5G call
In addition to summiting the mountain again for height mesuring, CMA also accomplished another task: the first 5G call in human history on the summit of Mount Everest.
To make it possible for 5G calls on Everest requires signal coverage, that is, to build base stations on Everest, where people are rarely seen. In mid April, Huawei partnered with three major telecom operators – China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom – to open signal on Mount Everest. In order to demonstrate 5G capabilities, the operators have also launched 5G live-streamings that showcase Everest views 24 hours a day.
Huawei‘s engineers were faced with the challenge of building a 5G base station in a harsh natural environment, with transport, low temperatures, wind and altitude reactions. For this 5G call, Huawei had nearly 20 employees on Everest for 46 days, with a total preparation time of nearly half a year. For this investment with almost invisible commercial return, Huawei’s founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei’s response was: there are no people on Mount Everest, how could this even be related with money? It is possibility to save climber’s life that makes it reason to build 5G network on Mount Everest.
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In order to cover the entire Mount Everest with signals, Huawei has been working with China Mobile since 2007 on a GSM (commonly known as 2G) network coverage project, and finished building 3G base stations in 2012, 4G base station in 2013. Until 2019, the 5G base stations were also moved up on the mountain as well.
The natual training ground
Huawei built its 5G base station at 6,500 meters above Everest’s elevation, which is still a long way from the highest peak of 8,400 meters. A straight line distance of 5.6 kilometers means that the 5-kilometers-away base station will have to aim its signal at the summit. If it’s slightly off because of winds, for example, the signal won’t be able to cover the highest part of Everest. “You just interpret the signal as a bullet and we have to aim it towards the summit,” an engineer of Huawei said so.
The influence that the Everest project brings, along with the accumulation of 5G technology, will help Huawei in gaining 5G orders from overseas markets and take an advantageous position in the global competition.