For some of the people, trekking is one way to be out of that digital media and be with nature. No any annoying emails, messages, and notifications.
But for many, they want to be in contact with their friends and family and post pictures on their Instagram. #MountEverest #offthebucketlist
Many of the trekkers frequently ask before they start their trek, “Is there phone signal on Mount Everest?”.
The answer is…
Yes. There is network coverage to Everest Base Camp.
You might not get the services at all points of the trail, but you can get network at different stops.
The other remote trails like Dhaulagiri circuit, Kanchenjunga or Upper Dolpo doesn’t have a good network. You will need a satellite phone. It is not so in Everest region.
Well, you can get the satellite phone as well if you want to have the best network possible throughout the trail. If not, you will be better off by using the local sim card.
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Which Nepalese telecom to use?
In Nepal, there are two major operating telecommunication companies: Nepal Telecom (NTC) and Ncell.
Nepal Telecom (or Namaste) is a government-owned telecommunication company. It is one of the largest corporations in Nepal which rejoiced monopoly until 2003. It has widespread networks in almost every nook and crannies in Nepal.
Ncell has gained a huge customer base after entering the market. They have a good coverage of network and provide a fast 4G/3G and 2G services.
Both of the companies have telecommunication tower in Namche Bazaar. But there are times when one works and other doesn’t. Mobile phone coverage in Everest Base Camp might not be as great as in the city.
Below Lukla, Nepal Telecom works the best. Above Lukla, Ncell reception is better than that of Nepal telecom. Many of the trekkers prefer Ncell because you can get a good network at the higher altitude.
The network also depends upon the weather condition. When the weather becomes bad, expect the network to be bad as well.
If you want to be within the network for most of the times, try getting both sim cards. They’re pretty cheap!
You can also get landline phones in every teahouse in case you will need to make an emergency call.
If you feel that you might need more than all they provide, you can even get the satellite phone. It is going to be highly expensive though.
WiFi at the Everest Base Camp
Most of the tea houses and lodges along the trail will provide you WiFi from the company known as Everest Link. Everest Link provides the internet in all major areas of the Everest region.
You will have to pay for the WiFi, though. The charges can be $5 or more per hour depending on the location. Higher you go, higher it will cost you (see: Everest base camp trek cost).
You shouldn’t expect it to be super fast; it definitely won’t. But it will be enough for uploading your picture to Instagram, if not a video call with your family.
The strength of WiFi will also depend upon the weather condition. Also, it will depend upon the number of people using the facility. If there are many people using it, you might not get a good connection.
If you want to experience free and fast WiFi, we suggest you go to Starbucks in Lukla, Everest bakery in Namche, or Everest View Hotel in Syangboche. After you purchase from them, you can ask for the password and get fast WiFi for free!
But sadly enough, these are not available at every point of the trail.
Another alternative is to buy data pack from NTC or Ncell. If you have purchased the data pack from them, then you can use their 3G feature to access the internet.
Charging your phone
You can charge your phone at the tea houses or lodges. They also come with a price. You might have to pay from $1.5 to $3 per hour to charge your mobile phones. Your laptops will cost higher to charge.
Most of the lodges use solar power to charge, so at night, the charge will be slow. You might have to keep it in charge all night to fully charge your devices.
And remember, you will not have charger outlets in your room to sneakily charge a little longer. You have to give it to the front desk; they will charge it for you.
So, the best option for you would be to get a portable charger. You can charge your devices a multiple number of times with one full charge.
If possible, get a solar power charger. When there is enough sunlight, you can charge your devices pretty fast.
Another thing to remember is that your devices will discharge pretty quickly in the cold. So, keep your devices as close to your body as possible.
How to get the sim card in Nepal?
It is quite easy and cheap to get a sim card in Nepal. You can get the sim for as cheap as $1!
Go to any Ncell support center in Kathmandu or Pokhara. Do not expect to get in on your trail to EBC.
You will need to provide 4 things:
Filled up form provided at the Ncell center
One recently taken passport size photograph
Nepali 100 Rupees
You can get Rs. 50 as the main balance with additional features.
You can buy different data packs for your use. Expect to pay from $5 to $30 as per your need for the 14-day trek.
Go to the nearest Nepal Telecom service center in Kathmandu or Pokhara to get the Nepal telecom’s sim card.
You will need to provide:
Filled up form provided at NTC service center
Original Passport with photocopy (You can make the photocopy at the center for around 5 cents)
Recently taken passport size photograph
Nepali 100 Rupees.
You will get Rs. 90 balance after you buy the sim. The data pack will cost you from $3 to $30 depending on your need.
These days, they provide you the sim card that can be detached as per the size you want: Standard, Micro or Nano. If not, you can ask them to provide the size you like.
You can get mobile reception on Everest Base Camp. It might not be the best, but it will be helpful. You can better take both the sim cards of Nepal Telecom and Ncell for additional benefit. If you need the best network then you can use the satellite phones as well.
The main thing, don’t stress it. Pre-inform your family and friends that you might not be in regular contact. Enjoy the moment with nature while you can.