Let’s be honest, mobile phones have become a necessity, even in the armed forces. Nowadays with just about everyone carrying a camera phone, and the armed forces still in their archaic ages trying to ban camera phones… what to do when you go NS or ICT?
Ok, phones without cameras aren’t so rare yet. But let’s move along a bit. 3G is getting more prevalent. People like me want to web surf (with a proper HTML web browser), download emails, etc. No camera is fine, but can we still have all that?
Nowadays, you’d be hard pressed to find a mobile phone with 3G yet without camera. For most phone manufacturers, moving to 3G is almost synonymous with camera function. For my recent ICT, I managed to get my hands on a Sony Ericsson M600i. It had 3G, it had a reasonable web browser (not as good as those Nokia’s though), and it is actually quite sturdy and hardy enough to withstand rough use.
The armed forces should consider to make the M600i a standard issue. Com’on, the army needs mobile phones. I cannot imagine how we could get things moving without mobile phones. For example, just simply trying to get 100+ reservists to fall in would have been a monumental task had there not been mobile phones. I don’t think you want to scream your lungs out shouting, or run around from bunk, to canteen, then to e-mart to search for people?
Out in the field… do you want to setup Tele-J, carry around signal sets, or just use a compact and handy mobile phone? Ya ya, mobile phone signals can be jammed and intercepted. But the same applies with signal sets eh?
The 3G army can perhaps think about how they can capitalize on modern technology that is easily and readily available. The modern mobile phone has high resolution cameras that can be used to send back real-time images and video of the battle ground to HQ for intelligence analysis. GPS can be used to help track troop locations in real-time, and help troops to navigate unfamiliar terrain (yah, no more topo needed). SMS/MMS can be used to broadcast instructions more quickly and efficiently. The 3G can also be used to carry IP data services to connect computers and other data communications equipment.
I think intelligence and communications are of quite strategic value in fighting any battle. Perhaps in addition to SingTel, M1 and StarHub… there could be a MINDEF network to serve the armed forces users. They could operate a combination of fixed base stations as well as mobile roving base stations that can be deployed flexibly wherever needed.
Think about it.