Staff members stand at a Xilinx Inc booth at the Mobile World Congress in Shanghai, China. (REUTERS)
Staff members stand at a Xilinx Inc booth at the Mobile World Congress in Shanghai, China. (REUTERS)

China operationalises 5G services at Tibet radar station

The PLA has been working with civilian enterprises to solve the difficulty of network access for border troops.
By Sutirtho Patranobis I Edited by Amit Chanda
PUBLISHED ON APR 12, 2021 07:30 PM IST

China has operationalised 5G services at the world’s highest manually operated radar station in Tibet near the border with Sikkim. Located at over 17,000 feet (5,182 metres), the Ganbala radar station was built in the 1960s and is strategically located in the Yadong county of Xigase prefecture in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR); it is located close to both Sikkim and Bhutan.

The purpose of the new 5G station is primarily to help the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers posted at the remote station to access the internet and keep in contact with family.

“Recently, a 5G signal base station was put into use at the Ganbala radar station in Tibet at the elevation of 5,182 metres, the world’s highest manually operated radar station,” the official defence portal, China Military Online reported on Monday.

The report added that “information blockade” was adding to the “exceptionally challenging” living conditions at the radar station including the lack of potable water, accommodation, and heating.

The PLA started to coordinate with civilian enterprises to launch 5G base station construction in Ganbala last year to solve the difficulty of network access for the border troops.

“The stable and high-speed 5G signal enables soldiers in the deep mountains to keep up with the information society, leaving the monotonous and boring life on the border behind forever,” the report added.

The operationalisation of 5G signal base station has “…shortened the distance between soldiers and their families and friends”.

Radar operator Lin Linghui told the website said that serving in the military on plateau areas means that he could not get together with family members often, but he could now have video chat with his family freely and witness the growth of his child.

Clearly, the launch of 5G signals at a height of over 17,000 feet in the mountains is part of China’s continuing efforts to improve living conditions and infrastructure in the strategic area for PLA troops.

In recent years, the Chinese military has continued to advance various projects to improve the conditions of its border troops, including green vegetables supply all year round, warm, and clean barracks, and ready-to-use oxygen inhalers.

“The implementation of these measures has supported the improvement of training and on-duty conditions for soldiers stationed in border areas,” the military website said.

Since last May, climbers to Mt Everest from the Chinese side have been able to use 5G coverage after the world’s highest-altitude base station started operating on the mountain.

Built at an altitude of 6,500 metres, the base station is located at the advance base camp of Mt Everest, the world’s highest peak

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