Walmart Inc. (NYSE:WMT) is in talks with Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) to equip its retail locations with 5G wireless service using antennas and other equipment.
Walmart to bring 5G network to its stores
The company plans to bring the 5G network to some of its locations later this year to help in powering its new Walmart digital health services that the company is planning to launch for its customers and employees. The installation of 5G will also offer a faster wireless connection to the retailer’s other operations as well as the neighboring community.
Once Walmart signs the deal, it will be part of the retailer’s efforts to turn over 4,700 of its stores in the US into hubs that attract customers for medical treatment besides groceries and clothes. The company will also use the 5G network in enhancing the functioning of its cameras to alert staff on shoplifters and scanning of the shelves of out of stock products.
People familiar with the issue indicated that Walmart will use the 5G network in its locations where it is opening health clinics to provide more medical service. The clinics will be using the technology in providing enhanced interaction between healthcare providers and doctors by streaming videos over the phone.
Carriers to put more antennas to enhance 5G coverage
Verizon has put the deployment of faster 5G services and establishing ways of using the new tech at the center of its corporate strategy. The company executives have been pitching the network’s faster speeds and lower latency to hospitals and manufacturers in a bid to spur automation and thus placing computing power near to industrial applications.
So far, 5G is still in the infancy stages, and carriers who are developing the network will have to put more antennas because its signals travel very short distances. So far, Verizon and its competitors have built the service in select sports arenas and cities, which implies that coverage is still limited. Consumers will also have to acquire new 5G compatible devices to tap into the new networks.