China Unicom and Huawei have deployed a pilot “5.5G” network in Beijing. Three places in the Chinese capital will benefit from a multi-gigabit evolution beyond 5G connectivity: the Beijing financial street in the city centre, the landmark Beijing Long Distance Call Building, and Workers’ Stadium, a top tier football venue situated in Chaoyang district.

A pre-launch testing regime showed the 5.5G network is capable of 10 Gbps downlink at peak and more than 5 Gbps in “continuous” data traffic. 5.5G outdoor and indoor fixtures are in position and Huawei and China Unicom have sought to tighten up network synchronising of high and low-bandwidth frequencies.

China Unicom’s Beijing affiliate will operate the 5.5G network, which was tested at a 5.5G industry event hosted by Beijing Institute of Communications. Multiple China-based organisations observed the trial but international experts from GSM Association and Omdia were there also. Aside from the infrastructure backbone, several enterprise and consumer-led 5.5G use cases were trialled in the Beijing financial street demo area.

Huawei has worked with China Unicom Beijing for many years now. They joined forces in 2019 to begin construction of a 5G network, and Huawei says the partnership has led to “remarkable achievements.” It said China Unicom Beijing has launched gigabit-speed public hotspots and the world’s “largest” 200 MHz 5G urban network. Now the partners are again seeking a competitive edge, looking to convert Chinese foresight on standalone 5G networks into leadership in the next-generation 5G stakes.

In November, Huawei and China Unicom were revealed to be working on a 5G-Advanced deployment for a Hebei-based automotive parts maker. China Unicom’s affiliate in Jilin province also partnered Huawei recently, announcing earlier this month it had deployed a 2.1 GHz 5G network at the Harbin-Dalian high-speed railway.

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