While most of us depend on major carriers for cell phone service, it is now possible to create small GSM networks for relatively little expense using parts that can be found at many hardware stores. Within these networks callers can communicate between handsets on a local level, and on an internet-enabled system calls can be made over VoIP.
Users savvy enough to attempt this feat can do so with the help of OpenBTS systems, who created the project as a means to provide cellphone service in areas without the proper infrastructure. So far it has been implemented on the South Pacific island of Niue and at the Burning Man Festival in Black Rock Desert, Nevada.
The system can operate with the aid of a basic PC setup running an open-source software called Asterisk, can be powered by batteries normally used in boating and requires a simple universal software radio peripheral for connection. And by recreating the technology used in the global GSM network, OpenBTS is compatible with most consumer handsets. However, how this kind of "DIY" network solution affects the security of the data being transmitted remains to be seen.