PRESS RELEASE: China Unicom Beijing and Huawei have commercialized MetaAAU at over 1,000 sites, forming the world’s largest commercial MetaAAU network. This unlocks users’ demand for 5G traffic in rural areas, bringing a 38% increase in the total traffic of a single site. Compared with previous-generation AAUs, MetaAAUs reduce site energy consumption by 5% under the same network load, bolstering network energy efficiency. Their deployment represents an important step towards the green and digital village goals of the 5G Capital project.

MetaAAU is the third-generation AAU developed by Huawei. It adopts a new architecture — extreme-large antenna array (ELAA) — which doubles the array scale compared with the previous-generation AAU. This innovation results in extended coverage because channel beams are narrower and energy is more focused. The new architecture, combined with innovative algorithms, improves network performance while slashing energy consumption. These benefits help meet China Unicom Beijing’s requirements for 5G construction in towns and rural areas for 2022, which include large inter-site distances, gigabit user experience, and green networks. In July this year, China Unicom Beijing deployed MetaAAUs at over 1,000 sites in towns and rural areas such as Shunyi, Huairou, and Pinggu districts and successfully put them into commercial use. Since deployment, MetaAAUs increase the user traffic by 38% in these areas, covering 37% more users. They bring 40% wider coverage area, 10% higher uplink and downlink user-perceived rates, and 5% lower network energy consumption over previous-generation AAUs, achieving optimal network performance and energy efficiency.

In the three years since the commercialization of 5G, 5G coverage has been gradually improved, and as such, consumers are now enjoying better Internet experience. Now, 5G networks extend from solely urban cities to scenic spots, towns, and rural areas. For example, in Foyukou, a village in Beijing, 5G facilitates HD live broadcast and direct photo posting on WeChat, which helps villagers broaden their online sales channels and boost sales. This promotes the construction of digital villages. In the near future, 5G will also be widely used in scenarios such as smart agriculture, remote education, and telemedicine. These scenarios require gigabit networks similar to those for urban areas, but at a lower carbon footprint.

“Quality first, experience foremost,” said Fan Liqun, head of China Unicom Beijing’s 5G co-construction and sharing work team. “For years we have been committed to building a world-leading, experience-centric 5G network. We are amazed how well MetaAAU is performing at the more than 1,000 sites on the commercial network, cementing its place in our digital village strategy. This achievement marks a key milestone in our 5G Capital project, and is a testament to our constant efforts for a ubiquitous high-quality 5G network. Specifically, we explore various scenarios based on high bandwidth and iteratively adopt innovative Massive MIMO technologies to ensure the best possible 5G and digital experience to our customers.”

Ritchie Peng, President of Huawei 5G Product Line, said, “MetaAAU is one of our major innovative products in 2021. With MetaAAU, we achieve great breakthroughs in network performance and energy efficiency, and this is attributed to our strong investment and continuous innovation in Massive MIMO. We are glad to cooperate with China Unicom Beijing on the thousand-site MetaAAU project, and proud to see that MetaAAU achieves the desired performance across the entire network. We believe this can provide a useful reference for global operators in selecting Massive MIMO technologies for different scenarios.”