You thought Tibet was remote? Not for much longer. Mobile phone
repeater stations are being installed along the entire Qinghai-Tibet
railway line, which only opened last year, and repeaters will also be
installed on key highways linking the Tibetan capital Lhasa to the
Mount Everest base camps.

That's good news for mountaineers, tourists and adventurous
businesspeople scouting for opportunities in China's far west. Thanks
to the marvels of global roaming, it also provides wonderful
opportunities for mobile phone oneupmanship. Colleague back home: “I'm
stuck in traffic outside Detroit, where are you?” Reply: “Watching the
sun set over Mount Everest”.

Mount-Everest.jpgNevertheless, EngagingChina
can't help feeling a little sad that not even trekking in the foothills
of Mount Everest will you escape from that plague of modern life:
overhearing the mobile phone chatter of others.

A Chinese company, HK-listed Comba Telecom Systems Holdings, got the contract to improve coverage in what China calls the Tibet Autonomous Region.

Comba was responsible for installed some mobile phone infrastructure
along the Qinghai-Tibet railway — the world's highest — in time for
the official opening last year — see this EngagingChina story.

That contract has now been extended to provide coverage along the
entire 2,000km railway line and also on the highways into Everest. The
highways are on the key route to the site where the Olympic flame will
be lit next year and as we know, no project is too ambitious when
China's Olympics are concerned.