Bell Canada backs Open RAN hopeful Cohere Technologies
As part of the continuing Open RAN trials, Bell Canada is preparing to test the technology of a spectrum multiplier developed through Cohere Technologies and, for the sake of fairness, has taken part within Cohere Technologies, a San Jose, California-based vendor.
The announcement comes almost an entire year since Cohere announced the previous round of funding, which was $46 million in funding from Koch Strategic Platforms (part of Koch Industries), VMware, Telstra Ventures, Juniper Networks, Intel Capital, New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and Lightspeed Venture Partners.
Presently Bell Ventures, which is Bell Canada’s corporate venture capital arm that has invested an unknown amount in Cohere as it is preparing to test Cohere’s Universal Spectrum Multiplier (USM) software within Bell’s Open RAN and 5G networks. Cohere says its USM technology will increase the capacity of mobile cell networks by a whopping 100%..
“Bell Ventures is thrilled to partner together with Cohere Technologies to further differentiate Bell’s world-class networks as well as improve the maturation of the Open RAN ecosystem and support the development of global Open RAN standards,” said Mark McDonald, Bell Canada’s vice-president of wireless access.
Financial details were not made public however, previous investors have invested between $5m and $10 million into the technology developer.
Cohere did not provide a figure of what the company’s value is because of this latest deal, however Bloomberg has previously given a valuation of $500 million for the company (though it was one year back). Cohere also refused to discuss the number of employees it has now as it stated in an email reply to queries that it was “growing by hiring”.
Although USM is a viable option for the existing networks for mobile, Cohere is primarily pitching the software as an xApp which can be run on third-party near real time intelligent controller for RAN (RIC) platform.
Cohere has been engaged in testing in the labs of Deutsche Telekom with RIC partner (and investor) VMware, and has been in constant dialogue in talks with Vodafone Group, though the company isn’t thought to be involved in testing Cohere’s technology.
Vodafone director and co-founder of network architecture Yago Tenorio, mentioned Cohere in a discussion about the potential and potential of RIC platforms and their related applications in an interview on Telecom TV that was made available for download in the last week. Check out Vodafone’s Yago Tenorio’s interview discussing Open RAN progress.
Bell Canada backs Open RAN hopeful Cohere Technologies https://t.co/M1llRRJj7L
— Sophie Egan (@Telco_Sophie) January 30, 2023
Cohere’s chief marketing officer as well as vice president of business development Ronny Haraldsvik, has confirmed that Cohere is working with an RIC partner in Bell Canada. Bell Canada trials, but did not provide the name of the firm.
Alongside VMware, Juniper Networks (another of its investors) is recognized as one of the RIC Platform Partner.
Development of RIC platforms as well as their xApps and rApps which will run on them is in the early stages and is believed to be crucial for the future if Open RAN architectures are to provide the latest innovations and best-of-breed multi-vendor environments that their advocates claim can give Open RAN an edge over traditional single-vendor radio accessibility network (RAN) technologies stacks.
Cohere is confident that it will see some significant development this year, but the company’s CEO Haraldsvik said Haraldsvik said that Cohere’s goal is to generate revenue by 2023.
RIC advancements will form the subject on the upcoming installment of Open RAN Show, Telecom TV’s new monthly show that was launched last week . Watch Episode 1″Accelerating Open RAN Developments.
In addition to the trial using Cohere’s USM software, Bell Canada also plans to “evaluate” Cohere’s orthogonal Time Frequency Space (OTFS) technology, which is a possibility which could be a factor in its plans for 6G.
“We are extremely pleased to be able to welcome Bell Ventures as an investor and are looking for our collaboration in the field. The investment aligns with our goals and will allow us to grow more quickly towards making commercially viable our solutions for 5G and 4G using the help of our Universal Spectrum Multiplier,” Cohere’s CEO and chairman, Ray Dolan.
“Bell’s involvement, collaboration and support are also designed to speed up the development of OTFS as a potential candidate for 6G, which has distinct advantages for the defense industry, as well as connections to satellite networks,” he added.