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Mount Qomolangma Mobile Phone Base Station Tests Successfully

The world's highest mobile phone base station tested successfully on Tuesday on Mount Qomolangma, also known as Mount Everest, at an altitude of 6,500 meters.

The station, run by China Mobile, the largest mobile phone service provider in China, will provide services for mountaineers on the world's highest peak and the torch relay for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

At 1 PM on Tuesday, a worker called the mobile phone of Wang Jianzhou, general manager of China Mobile, via the station and the conversation was clear, said a company spokesman.

He said the station's construction was "incredibly difficult" as the oxygen level at the site was only 38 percent of that at ground level.

Immediately after the call, workers packed away the equipment for the winter, during which time temperatures on Mount Qomolangma can fall to as low as minus 50 degrees Celsius.

The components will be assembled again before the Olympic torch relay scheduled for next May, the spokesman said.

The company began hiring porters and yaks to transport equipment and material to the station on October 25 and the process lasted more than 20 days.

Five engineers, with the help of three professional mountaineers, arrived at the site on Thursday and installed equipment over the following two days.

An official with Tibet Mobile, the Tibetan subsidiary of China Mobile, said they would base the station's operation period on the needs of mountaineers and scientific surveys.

China Mobile has already built two other stations on Mount Qomolangma at 5,200 meters and 5,820 meters. The new station means that the mobile phone service covers the entire climbing route of Mount Qomolangma.

(Xinhua News Agency November 14, 2007)

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