November 5, 2010:
The U.S. Army is spending $68 million to build its own cell phone network in Afghanistan. The system will use the GSM protocol (used in most of the world, while CDMA is used only in the United States, Japan, Canada and South Korea). Called ECCS (Expeditionary Cellular Communications Service) it uses permanent and portable cell towers. The portable towers can quickly be set up in new, or temporary, bases. One reason for setting up their own cell system is because the Taliban force cell phone service providers to shut down service at night, in the belief that the U.S. uses cell phone transmissions to track Taliban operations, and because local civilians often call in reports of Taliban activity at night. A private system is also more secure from spying.