Industry Voices—Byrne: Wi-Fi continues heavy lifting for cellular carriers, but will it play nice in 5G?
Wireless carriers have had a long and complicated relationship with Wi-Fi. In the early days, many carriers regarded Wi-Fi as a competitive threat to their then-rising data ARPUs. However, with the advent of 3G, Blackberries, and ultimately the iPhone, carriers realized that “hotspot” Wi-Fi coverage provided an effective, if imperfect, offload solution. Since that time, growth in “carrier Wi-Fi” has been nothing short of spectacular.