A 5G partnership between Verizon and Walmart could include everything from the installation of 5G antennas in Walmart stores to streaming video of doctor visits.

Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies

March 2, 2020

2 Min Read
Walmart, Verizon in 5G partnership talks – report

Verizon and Walmart are in discussions about some kind of 5G partnership, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter.

According to the WSJ, the companies are looking at a number of ways to use the technology, including Walmart installing 5G antennas in its stores for Verizon's network. The companies are also looking at ways Verizon's 5G network could aid Walmart in its efforts to offer healthcare services to shoppers. Such services could include registering customers via their phone when they enter a store, or to stream video visits with doctors over a phone.

The WSJ didn't provide many other details on the potential partnership, and it's unclear whether the companies will reach any kind of agreement.

Why this matters
That Verizon may be in discussions with Walmart about 5G isn't a surprise. The operator has hailed 5G as opening new opportunities in the enterprise sector, and 5G equipment vendors like Ericsson and Nokia have laid out a number of 5G use cases involving the retail sector. And Verizon has already inked 5G partnerships with the likes of the NFL and The New York Times.

Moreover, Walmart has been investing in a variety of new technologies. For example, it is reportedly entertaining a major investment into edge computing in part to blunt the rise of online retailing giant Amazon. Indeed, Verizon has already announced an edge computing partnership with Amazon.

And Amazon, for its part, just opened its first full-size, cashier-less grocery store in Seattle, after acquiring retailer Whole Foods, in a clear attack at Walmart's core business.

While initial applications of 5G in the retail space could fall into vague areas like healthcare and edge computing, it's reasonable to assume that wireless technology will increasingly make its way into the shopping experience on a widespread basis.

Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

About the Author(s)

Mike Dano

Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading

Mike Dano is Light Reading's Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies. Mike can be reached at [email protected], @mikeddano or on LinkedIn.

Based in Denver, Mike has covered the wireless industry as a journalist for almost two decades, first at RCR Wireless News and then at FierceWireless and recalls once writing a story about the transition from black and white to color screens on cell phones.

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