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Huawei is calling its next innovation “5.5G”, a term no other company uses. The Chinese tech giant wants to leverage its 5G muscle in defining the next release of the high speed broadband standard.

This week Huawei announced it will launch a complete set of commercial “5.5G” network equipment in 2024. Speaking at the 5G Advanced Forum during MWC Shanghai 2023, Huawei’s Director and President of ICT Products & Solutions Yang Chaobin announced that the company intends for this launch to “mark the beginning of the 5.5G era for the ICT industry”.

In an official announcement, Huawei explained that the 5.5G Era would feature 10 gigabit peak downlink speeds and gigabit peak uplink speeds t”o meet increasingly diverse service requirements”.

What is in a name?

“The industry has widely agreed that 5.5G will be a key milestone in 5G evolution and that it is fast approaching”, Huawei stated in their announcement.

Nonetheless, the designation “5.5G” seems to be a purely Huawei-specific nomenclature. As The Register points out, the 3GPP, which oversees the development of 5G and other standards, “is yet to formally declare 5.5G is a thing”. In fact, 3GPP is overseeing work on Release 18 of the 5G standard, which it dubbed “5G-Advanced.”

Huawei appears to be referring to Release 18 as 5.5G, “for reasons that aren’t entirely clear”, according to The Register.

5.5G verification is on the horizon

None of that potential controversy bothers Huawei. Yang told the MWC crowd that work on the company’s new network offering was already proceeding nicely. “With a clearly defined standardization schedule, the 5.5G Era is already poised for technological and commercial verification”, he boasted.

“In 2024, Huawei will launch a complete set of commercial 5.5G network equipment to be prepared for the commercial deployment of 5.5G. We look forward to working with all industry players to embark on the new journey towards the 5.5G era”, he said.

Yang added that Huawei has “been working on applying AI-native technologies to 5.5G core networks to continuously enhance network capabilities and availability.”

Many Western markets have banned Huawei because of perceived security threats. Adding artificial intelligence to the mix is likely to make governments even more suspicious of the Chinese tech supplier.