Army smartphone plan creates telecom opportunities

Wednesday - 12/8/2010, 3:25pm EST

Federal News Radio told you about the Army's plans to bring smartphone technology to the battlefield within a year.

If the service wants to issue every soldier some kind of smartphone, the move could turn into a real windfall for the telecom and defense industries.

The Army Times says the Army is considering buying a device for every soldier and financing their talk time and network usage, Politico reports.

Devices like the iPhone or Android could put all kinds of information like maps and where the enemy is into the hands of warfighters. When troops deploy, they then could connect to a special Army network and use customized Army apps.

Army Times hasn't given any details about the total cost of the concept, but Politico reports that it could easily run into billions of dollars.

The Army has had problems in the past with these kinds of ambitious network programs. But Politico says service officials would probably argue that by using commercial smartphones and civilian networks, the Army could save a lot of money instead of trying to do it all itself.

This story is part of Federal News Radio's daily DoD Report. For more defense news, click here.