If you haven’t yet decided where you’re going to take your summer holiday this year, I have some good news and some bad news. I’ll start with the bad: time is running out. Seriously; you’ve got about a month before the unofficial end of summer.
The good news? Time hasn’t run out yet. Technically, summer lasts until the latter part of September, giving you ample time to pick a place, book your accommodations and get there. And while I can’t tell you where to go, I can make a pretty rock solid suggestion. Consider going somewhere significant in terms of mobile. A market which either teaches you something about mobility or carries some sort of historic weight. If you’re reading this, I shouldn’t have to explain why this is a good idea. Heck, it might even be a tax deduction or something you could expense.
Still need some more direction? Okay, here you go with my picks for summer 2018, including a few reasons why the whole family (not just wireless fans) might be interested.
Australia/New Zealand: Why? Per the latest update to the GSMA Mobile Connectivity Index  (powered by GSMAi), Australia and New Zealand come out on top, separated by about a single point. With solid networks, mobile broadband penetration over 100 per cent and incomes which support mobile usage, they provide good snapshots of mature markets where mobile broadband and connectivity are a given. Bonus Points: Kangaroos and Platypuses; great wine; super poisonous snakes (Australia); and spring skiing (New Zealand).
Uganda: Why? Our latest update to the impact of the mobile industry on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) isn’t out yet, but I’ll give you a heads up on something: there’s some cool stuff going on in Uganda. Think Living Goods Uganda which uses a network of door-to-door health workers armed with mobile apps to drive improved health and well-being. Think mobile money-based humanitarian cash transfers  in the Bidi Bidi refugee settlement. Bonus Points: Primate tracking and safaris; Wakaliwood; and banana wine.
Sacramento, California (USA): Why? It’s one of the first markets where commercial 5G services are being rolled out – albeit based on Verizon’s 5GTF (technical forum) rather than the 3GPPs 5GNR specifications . You’ll need to actively seek out these deployments and they might not be commercial when you get there. However, a trip to this early 5G market provides some cool opportunities to see how NR might compare with TF and how a new network supplier like Samsung might find its place in 5G networking. Bonus Points: proximity to Silicon Valley, Napa Valley and Lake Tahoe, the largest alpine lake in North America (for when you need to escape the sweltering summer heat).
Oslo/Stockholm (Norway/Sweden): Why? This is a historic choice. If you’re afraid that a trip to see initial 5G network launches won’t really show you much, then how about a trip to see the first LTE markets launched almost a decade ago? In the same way we all know 5G capabilities will evolve, checking out the state of LTE today in the Nordic capitals (with some of the highest 4G penetration levels in Europe) should be a telling exercise. Bonus Points: late evening daylight plus archipelago or fjord cruising; Nordic strawberry season; Trolls; Oslo Jazz Fest; and chocolate covered bugles.
China: Why? Though I’m an American, even I understand China is a big country and recommending it as a single location for a visit is silly. Point taken. But if you’re looking to understand the breadth of what you can do with IoT , China is a good place to start. Want to see a connected yak? Check. Want to see a connected manhole cover? Check. Want to understand how e-sim fits in? Check (look for more from us on this last point). Bonus Points: the Great Wall; pandas; beaches; Terracotta Warriors; and soup dumplings. Again, it’s a big country with a lot going on. If you can’t find something to keep the whole family busy, you’re not trying.
India: Why? At a little over 22 per cent, LTE penetration in India isn’t particularly high. Two years ago, however, the number was less than 1 per cent. All of this in a country with more than 1.3 billion people. Let that sink in for a moment. Even by 2025 it’s completely unlikely 4G penetration in India will catch up with China. Still, an opportunity to witness first-hand what happens when robust mobile broadband capabilities ramp so quickly doesn’t come around often. Bonus Points: see the notes on China above (big country with lots to see); sub-in the Taj Mahal; snow leopards; Chaat; and different beaches.
Niue (South Pacific): Why? Have you ever found yourself lecturing the kids about what it was like to live before 4G or 3G? Want to show them? Niue is one of a few markets with no (or almost no) options beyond 2G. There is WiFi in places but that’s not likely to do anyone much good when they want to post to Facebook or Snapchat (or whatever the kids are doing nowadays) when out and about. Bonus Points: caves; coves; beaches; rainforest; diving; dolphins; a golf course where pay is by an “honesty box” (if you never read another blog with my name on it, you probably know where to find me)
Greenland: Why? So you want to go to an island with almost no 3G or 4G coverage, but the South Pacific is too far, or too warm? Wonderful. Greenland is the place for you. It’s not all 2G, but it’s pretty darn close. Bonus Points: you can tell people you’ve actually been to Greenland and explain (over and over) how Greenland got the name which should have been used for Iceland.
Glasgow (UK): Why? Special events – like big concerts and sporting events – are real tests of mobile network capabilities. They’re also opportunities to leverage a solid network (and service delivery assets) in the name of services which go beyond simple connectivity. You’ve already missed the Fifa World Cup and Tour de France, but that still leaves the 2018 European Championships (part of which will take place in Glasgow) with 250,000 attendees expected. Will the networks hold up? Will carriers manage to provide “experiences?” The best way to find out is to be there. Bonus Points: Haggis; whisky; plus, I’ll be there (as a spectator, not competitor).
Los Angeles, California (USA): Why? Technically, September 12th to 14th is still within the summer. It’s also when Mobile World Congress Americas  is taking place. Official messaging stating the event will “bring together the brightest minds in the industry today, to imagine what tomorrow could bring” might seem like hyperbole. It’s not. And taking place in LA, it’s going to be an incredible opportunity to see the intersection of the mobile and content/entertainment ecosystems. Bonus Points: the beaches; sun; Hollywood; Beverly Hills; plus, just like Glasgow, I’ll be there too!
– Peter Jarich, head of GSMA Intelligence
The editorial views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and will not necessarily reflect the views of the GSMA, its Members or Associate Members.