Huawei has helped China’s biggest mobile network operator to bring 5G connectivity to the summit of Mount Everest with a base station at an altitude of 6,500 meters.

Why it matters: Establishing 5G coverage on the summit of Mount Everest, the Earth’s tallest mountain above sea level, is a largely symbolic move that nonetheless signals China’s massive 5G buildout plan continues, undeterred by the Covid-19 outbreak.

  • At this stage most people can only enjoy the highest speeds of the next generation of mobile internet in metropolitan areas such as Beijing and Shanghai.
  • The country expects to provide 5G coverage to all prefecture-level cities by the end of the year.

Details: Huawei has teamed up with state-owned carrier China Mobile to build three base stations along the climbing route of Mount Everest’s north face, the side of the mountain facing China, according to a statement from Huawei on Thursday.

  • The highest tower was built in the Mount Everest Forward Camp at the height of 6,500 meters above sea level, which provides the carrier’s 5G coverage to the summit of the mountain.
  • Download speed exceeds 1.66 gigabits per second (Gbps) through the 5G network at the altitude of 5,300 meters while the upload speed is 215 megabits per second (Mbps), according to the statement.

Context: Huawei has helped China’s three major carriers, including China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom, to roll out 5G services on Mount Everest to provide coverage to camps along the north-side climbing route.

  • Huawei has nabbed the lion’s share of 5G contracts from the three carriers this year, including China Mobile’s nationwide network and a network jointly built by the other two carriers.
  • The company had previously worked with the three carriers on mobile network base stations on Mount Everest.
  • “We installed almost all the base stations on Mount Everest—even if no one lives there, having a base station out there could save a climber’s life,” Ren Zhengfei, Huawei founder and CEO, said in an interview with Business Insider in May 2019.

Writing about semiconductors and telecommunications.