Huawei and China Unicom test 5.5G in Beijing

  • January 31, 2024
  • Steve Rogerson

China Unicom and Huawei have deployed a pilot large-scale 5.5G network in Beijing to provide continuous coverage.

The network has been deployed in three areas – Beijing Financial Street in the city centre, the landmark Beijing Long Distance Call Building, and multipurpose Workers’ Stadium. This network is expected to become a benchmark for future 5.5G networks and applications across China thanks to the performance achievements it represents.

Testing showed the network delivered a 10Gbit/s downlink peak rate and more than 5Gbit/s continuous experience. The network has also achieved high- and low-band coordination and flexible deployment of outdoor and indoor 5.5G equipment, and supports multiple new applications including glasses-free 3D, UHD real-time broadcast, and emerging applications in VR, AR and extended reality (XR).

During tests, the 5.5G network was ten times faster than 5G. Trials also highlighted how 5.5G implemented high- and low-band coordination under discontinuous coverage to enable seamless handovers and uninterrupted service.

Beijing has long aimed to be a global pacesetter for the digital economy. This requires leading 5G infrastructure and strong supporting industries. The city expects 5.5G to drive further development of its digital economy.

China Unicom has worked with Huawei on projects such as this since they first began 5G network construction in 2019. To date, this partnership has yielded many achievements, from gigabit hotspots and the world’s largest 200MHz 5G urban network, to the release of user-experience-based network evaluation standards and smart network operations definitions. Both parties have won GSMA Global Mobile (Glomo) Awards twice for high-quality 5G network construction and operations.

The maturing of the XR industry ecosystem, the convergence of AI-generated content (AIGC) and 5G devices, and the scaled adoption of 5G applications in enterprises and public institutions have propelled the live-streaming economy, IoT and digital transformation of industries into the fast lane, necessitating a greater number of user connections, faster rates and lower latency in the uplink and downlink of networks.

In January, Beijing’s 5.5G network underwent comprehensive evaluations during a 5.5G industry event organised by the Beijing Institute of Communications (BIC). BIC brought in a number of experts from GSMA, TD Industry Alliance (TDIA), Omida, China Media Group (CMG), China Global Television Network (CGTN), People’s Posts & Telecommunications News (PPTN), C114, and Naojiti to test the 5.5G network as well as a number of applications in the Beijing Financial Street demonstration area built by China Unicom ( and Huawei (

The demonstrations showed the indoor 5.5G network at the Beijing Long Distance Call Building supported 4Gbit/s uplink rates for glasses-free 3D, UHD shallow compression real-time production system, 8K high uplink live streaming, and XR separated rendering, showing the technology’s potential for digital transformation in media and many other industries.