Q&A with Verizon: How 5G could revolutionize industries

July 13, 2021 | By Maggie Sieger

Behind all the talk about 5G is a reality that its potential is enormous. This next evolution of technology can provide speeds significantly faster than the 4G networks most cell phones operate on today, opening new possibilities in many aspects of our lives – from autonomous vehicles to health care.

5G is also expected to play a big role in commerce. Verizon and Mastercard today announced a strategic partnership to harness the power of 5G and drive innovation. The two companies will aim to turn certain smartphones or devices into portable payment terminals, unlocking touchless shopping experiences,, says Sampath Sowmyanarayan, chief revenue officer for Verizon Business.

The Mastercard Newsroom talked to Sampath to talk about the potential of 5G in commerce and beyond:

What’s the difference between 5G and 4G?

Sampath: Historically every “G” has been a faster version of the previous one. Yes, 5G is significantly faster than 4G, but it also offers more capabilities than ever before. It could be the start of a pretty large industrial revolution, not dissimilar from what steam power and the Internet did. Today, you have a lot of data — from artificial intelligence, machine learning, new technologies around smart cities, the Internet of Things and augmented reality. What will bring all of these disparate technologies together is going to be 5G. That comes from two things. One is speed and latency. The second is edge computing, which brings technology resources closer to the end use, further significantly reducing latency.

What industries could 5G change?

Sampath: Health care will be a big one. One can imagine the advances that can occur with the ability to send large files quickly or monitor activities remotely. Another industry is manufacturing. We’re going to see a lot more robotics and automation. A 5G network on the factory floor could allow you to control and synchronize those robots. Retail is another very significant use case that we're pretty excited about. It’s going to change fundamentally. Another is first responders. This is very close to Verizon. 5G may be able to give officials the ability to equip first responders with real-time information around conditions, temperature, water or diagrams of buildings to help them solve issues safely.


How is 5G important for payments?

Sampath: Consumers want a digital commerce experience at the speed of a cash transaction. You hand someone a $5 bill, and the transaction is complete. The speed and low latency that 5G and MEC can provide has the potential to give consumers that experience and enables companies like Mastercard to meet those consumer demands. The second piece is fraud. 5G allows for a lot of data management and data analytics at the edge with the ability to identify and prevent fraud.

Can 5G have an impact on sustainability?

Sampath: Yes. Sustainability is one of our core values at Verizon. 5G should enable many new green technologies. 5G could help smart cities reduce waste, lower water and power consumption, all while producing real-time insights. One of the biggest beneficiaries of this should be autonomous vehicles, which can result in fewer traffic jams and more coordination between vehicles.

One last question: When? 

Sampath: We are watching that happen every day. We will see it transform industries. And we’re all quite lucky that it’s happening during our lifetime.

Maggie Sieger, Contributor