It’s one of the prime evidences of the ubiquity of technology when even a country’s highest peak can be given high-speed cellular data coverage, as Japanese mobile network carrier NTT DoCoMo has done. Japan’s largest mobile operator has just given Mount Fuji, the country’s highest and most famous peak, and the areas immediately around it 4G network coverage via its high-speed Long Term Evolution (LTE) infrastructure.
The 4G LTE network went live on Thursday, providing data download speeds of up to 75Mbps on the mountain and even on its peak via NTT DoCoMo’s “Xi” service. DoCoMo said in a statement that it will be providing the 4G service from July to the end of August to correspond with Japan’s mountain climbing season. Just recently, UNESCO has given the iconic mountain World Heritage status which has prompted authorities to expect a record turnout of climbers and tourists this season. Tourist tradition in climbing Mount Fuji has been to start the ascent to the peak at night to arrive at the top in time for a glorious view of the sun rising. In recent years – with the advent of social networking and internet-enabled mobile devices – people have added to this tradition posting and sending pictures of the view and of themselves directly from the peak. With DoCoMo’s 4G network coverage, that tradition will surely be done with ease. DoCoMo will provide LTE coverage through six cell towers at various locations on the mountain, plus two boosters near the peak.
Before this move, Mount Fuji has already had mobile network coverage all year round starting in 1999 and upgrading to 3G (HSDPA, H+) in 2005. The mountain is certainly tourist-friendly, with most of the restaurants, travel huts, and accommodations wired with electricity – but only in the official climbing season. Japanese mobile carriers, including DoCoMo, are in tight competition to provide the highest available download speeds and coverage, especially during tourist season at holiday and event locations like Mount Fuji. Mobile network bases on trucks are a common addition to DoCoMo’s infrastructure, especially when a very high number of people is expected, and they might be used for Mount Fuji this climbing season.
[via Tech World]
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