China Unicom and Huawei test 5G-Advanced pilot network in Beijing

China Unicom and Huawei test 5G-Advanced pilot network in Beijing

China Unicom and Huawei said that they have successfully deployed and tested a pilot large-scale 5.5G (a.k.a. 5G-Advanced) network in parts of Beijing with downlink speeds of at least 5 Gbps.

Huawei said that China Unicom’s pilot network is providing continuous coverage in three areas: Beijing Financial Street, the Beijing Long Distance Call Building and Workers' Stadium. Network tests so far have achieved a downlink peak rate of 10 Gbps, and a continuous experience of at least 5 Gbps.

The network also uses high- and low-band coordination under discontinuous coverage to enable seamless handovers and uninterrupted service, Huawei said.

Huawei also said Unicom demonstrated the 5.5G network’s ability is support uplink-intensive applications such as glasses-free 3D, ultra-high-definition (UHD) real-time broadcast, and VR, AR and extended reality (XR) applications.

The tests and app demos were part of a 5.5G industry event organized by the Beijing Institute of Communications (BIC) earlier this month.

Huawei has been working with China Unicom on 5G deployments since 2019. The vendor officially launched its 5.5G solutions portfolio in October 2023.

5.5G is Huawei’s own marketing term for 5G-Advanced, which is being standardised under the 3GPP as Release 18. Key features of Release 18 (apart from faster data speeds) include enhanced uplink coverage, intelligent network automation (including AI/ML RAN), flexible spectrum, improved energy efficiency, support for critical IoT use cases (including RedCap), and integration with non-terrestrial networks.

The 3GPP is scheduled to freeze work on Release 18 in March this year.

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