Telecom operators in India are planning on approaching the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) in order to request relaxations in the rollout obligations for the 26 GHz band. This is due to lack of a device ecosystem that could support these ‘milimetre’ (mmWave) airwaves.

The 26 GHz band was auctioned in 2022 and was bought by Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea Limited (Vi) and Adani Data Networks. The rollout obligations for 26 GHz bands are similar to the 3300-3600 MHz band. So, by the end of the time period, the company has to launch services commercially anywhere in the three metros and at least in one of the 22 India’s telecom circles. Non-compliance will be dealt with a financial penalty. Upon any delay of more than 52 weeks in the launch of the service, the assigned spectrum will be taken back.

DoT is expected to provide relief for rollout norms. Currently, Jio is using the mid-band 3300-3600 MHz and 700 MHz band whereas Airtel is using 1800 MHz in combination with the mid-band. Vi and Adani Data Networks are yet to announce their 5G rollout plans.