Walmart is reportedly in talks with Verizon to offer 5G service in their stores. Verizon would supply the antennas and equipment needed for Walmart to create a high-band 5G network. The current plan would test the service in two Walmart stores, with plans to bring them to even more if it goes well.
Walmart is looking to expand the footprint of their roughly 4,700 stores across the country to include medical treatment and other services. A next-generation wireless network could help improve those services, and revolutionize other aspects of the Walmart business.
One of the primary limiting factors for high speed 5G-networks is the small geographical area that their signal is able to reach. While that area is too small to cover something like an entire city, it can certainly cover a Walmart store. That presents a great opportunity for Walmart, and for the carriers like Verizon who can use those stores are showrooms for their 5G services.
A high-speed 5G connection could completely transform many aspects of Walmart’s business. The commerce giants security system would be better able to track and identify shoplifters. Walmart could use new technology to identify empty shelves and automatically order the appropriate goods to restock items faster than ever before.
Walmart has already begun testing offering medical services in their stores. A 5G network would allow the company to offer virtual doctor consultations and other medical services through streaming video. The low-latency that 5G delivers would even allow doctors to remotely monitor things like a patient’s vitals and more.
5G is the future of wireless communication and is going to transform more industries than just smartphones. Walmart has enough money to be an early adopter of 5G and become a true leader in the space. A partnership with Verizon makes sense for both companies. It will be interesting to see how consumers respond to the first few 5G tests in Walmart stores.