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Wifi, Mobile Network and Electricity along the Everest Base Camp Trek

Everest as seen from Kala Pathhar

While some trekkers like to enjoy solitude, putting aside the gadgets and the internet, others need to connect to family and friends during their trek. The good news is, you will not miss the luxury of the internet and electricity in the high arid mountain trails to Everest Base Camp.

Internet/ Wifi in the Everest Base Camp Trek.

Cafe Danphe in Namche Bazaar
Cafe Danphe in Namche Bazaar

There are multiple options for the internet in Everest Region: the dedicated ISP for Everest Region, Everest Link, as well as the mobile network providers- NCell and NTC. We have made a comparison table below to help you choose what’s best for you. But no matter what, it is essential to understand that the weather can impact the internet situation. If the weather turns bad (snowy or windy), the internet is likely to be poor.

 

Everest Link

NCell and NTC

PROS

-Internet Connection works throughout the EBC route.

– Can buy Wifi cards anywhere in the trails.

– Works even while walking on the trails and even in Kathmandu.

-Data packages are comparatively cheaper

CONS

-As Everest Link uses a satellite network to connect, the internet is only available through Everest Link hotspots in the hotels.

– Comparatively expensive

– Doesn’t work in Kathmandu

-You have to buy sim cards before the trek in Kathmandu. Some shops in Namche Bazaar and Lukla also sell them at a higher rate.

– Internet doesn’t work throughout the trek

Cost of Internet in EBC

Not lodge specific, can use the data pack anywhere in the trail

10 GB= Nrs. 1999 ~ USD 18
Validity: 30 days

-20 GB= Nrs. 2999 ~ USD 25
Validity: 30 days

Note: There are Wifi cards of 600 MB costing NPR 600, but those work only in the range of the respective lodge so it’s best to avoid those.

Ncell:

15 GB= Nrs. 1020.24 ~ USD 10
25 GB= Nrs. 1275.62 ~ USD 12
Validity: 30 days

NTC:
14GB- Nrs. 700 ~USD 7
Validity: 28 days


30 GB= Nrs. 1600 ~USD 15
Validity: 90 days

Internet Connectivity in EBC Trail

Works in every lodge in all the nightstops from Lukla to Gorakshep.

NCell:
Works only up to Deboche/Pangboche.

Does Not work in: Dingboche, Pheriche, ThuklaLobuche, Gorakshep

NTC:

Works up to Tengboche. And, also in Gorakshep.

Does Not work in: Pangboche, Dingboche, Pheriche and Lobuche.

Internet in Gokyo Trek

Available throughout Gokyo Trek, including Gokyo, Dzongla, Dole, Machhermo, and Thangnak.

No internet at all.

Internet in Three Passes Trek

Except for Marlung, Everest Link hotspots are available in all the other villages, including Chhukung, Lungden, Thame and Thamo.

No internet at all.

Where to Buy Wifi/ Recharge Cards

Most stores and lodges sell them throughout the trail

Either in Kathmandu, or stores in Lukla and Namche Bazaar. 

Conclusion:

  1. If you need to get connected to your family, friends, or employers throughout the trek, Everest Link Wifi cards are the best options. It is a single internet option that works in all the villages, including Gorakshep, Gokyo, and most sections of Three Pass Trek.

  2. If you only want to check on your emails and don’t bother using the internet at higher altitudes, you can go for either NCell or NTC options.

Can I find Free Wifi in Guest Houses?

It wouldn’t be fair to say that you can’t. In the lower sections of the trail like Lukla, Phakding, Monjo, and Namche Bazaar, some hotels offer free Wifi, but most charge you some fee. 

However, Restaurants in Lukla and Namche Bazaar do offer free wifi to attract customers. But we cannot guarantee the speed of the internet in the hotels because of the number of users.

After Namche Bazaar, you don’t have the luxury of free wifi.

Mobile Network in Everest Base Camp Trek

Ev-K2-CNR or The Pyramid (research center) at Lobuche
Ev-K2-CNR or The Pyramid (research center) at Lobuche

Given the challenging geography and weather conditions, the cellular network has not reached all parts of the Everest Base Camp Trekking Trail. There are two leading network service providers in Nepal: Ncell and Nepal Telecom (NTC), and both networks are available only up to Tengboche/Pangboche, a day’s walk from Namche Bazaar. It is of course the same with the mobile internet from these telecom providers.

Higher up, phone networks are not available at all. So the locals rely on Everest Link Internet services for communication. Oddly, there’s an NTC tower in Gorakshep, so one can use NTC to make phone calls from there.

Where to Buy the Prepaid Sim cards:

Both NCell and NTC have counters outside the arrival terminal in Kathmandu Airport. Otherwise, stores in Thamel sell sim cards too.

If you forgot to buy one in Kathmandu, you could also buy them from shops in Lukla and Namche Bazaar, although the cost can be higher.

Cost: The actual cost of a prepaid sim is NPR 100 (~ USD 1). But if you buy from the stores in Thamel, it can cost you USD 3- 5. A balance of Nrs. 50 is included in the price.

Documents needed: 1 passport size photo, Photocopy Passport/ valid identity card.

Where can I recharge in the trails: Stores in Lukla, Phakding and Namche Bazaar sell the recharge cards but can be more expensive by a few cents than in Kathmandu. There are sign boards outside the stores, so it shouldn’t be that hard to find.

Buying a data pack:

  • For NTC: Dial *1415# and select the packages inside.
  • Ncell: Dial *17123# and select the packages inside.

Checking remaining Balance:

  • For NTC: Dial *400# and you will get the balance information
  • Ncell: Dial *101#

Mobile Network in Three Passes Trek

Except for the sections connecting the main Everest Base Camp Trail (mentioned above), there’s no network in the villages lying in Three Passes Trek.

Mobile Network in Gokyo Trek

After Khumjung, there is no Network in the villages during the Gokyo trail.

Electricity in the Everest Base Camp Trek

A lamp post in Khumjung, with Ama Dablam on the backdrop
A lamp post in Khumjung, with Ama Dablam on the backdrop

Electricity is available throughout the Everest Base Camp Trek. The lower sections are powered by hydroelectricity, while higher up electricity is solar-powered. You can charge your devices throughout the Everest Base Camp Trek, but it will cost you extra. And you might end up splurging a lot of money on these things if you’re not well aware and prepared.

There are no charging sockets in your rooms, except in rooms with attached toilets or high-end hotels in the Everest Region. The hotels have common charging areas in the dining hall or near the reception desk for charging devices. Since there are limited multi plugs, there can and will be competition for the sockets. Make sure you don’t lose your phone in a big mess and check from time to time if somebody else has unplugged your device. 

The hotels either charge you on an hourly basis or the percentage of battery. The rate of charging power bank, camera batteries and big gears are higher than charging a mobile phone.

Cost of charging a mobile phone: NPR. 150 – NPR 500 per hour (~USD 1.5- USD 5)

Some Useful Tips:

  1. Bring a C-type socket as lodges have circular pins. You can also buy them for less than $2 in Thamel stores.
  2. For your cameras, bring at least two extra batteries.
  3. A 5000-10000 mAh power bank and solar chargers are beneficial, but a big solar panel can be both, expensive and overkill to carry in your backpack for Everest Base Camp Trek. Check this thread for better insights if you wish to bring a solar panel with you. Also, read the best things to pack.
  4. Charging devices are either free or cost less up to Namche Bazaar. So make the best use of it and find hotels that have free charging options.
  5. Besides, several restaurants also offer free charging to attract customers. So take some time and enjoy good coffee or pizza as you charge your device.
  6. To save the batteries from dying fast, avoid looking in the screens, turn the brightness down, and make sure you switch GPS and wifi options off.
  7. Furthermore, there’s a high possibility that batteries will drain quickly or gadgets will damage due to cold. You can avoid this by wrapping up the unused devices warmly inside your backpack when not in use. For phones and spares batteries that you carry, you can keep them inside the pocket of your down jacket.

You might also find these blogs on Everest Base Camp Trek cost and The Cost of Permits in EBC useful.

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