China Unicom is to invest approximately US$2.8 billion in upgrading its GSM network, according to a report carried by Beijing Times. The report cites Chairman Chang Xiaobing as committing to the investment this year.

China Unicom is the country’s second largest operator with 160 million subscribers. The company is believed to be at the centre of a major planned telecoms reshuffle within China. Analysts have long speculated the restructuring could involve China Telecom buying China Unicom’s CDMA business, with China Unicom’s GSM business merging with China Netcom. According to the Beijing Times report, Chang said China Unicom has no plans to raise funds ahead of the telecom industry reshuffle and the issue of 3G licences.